1902 Encyclopedia > Aqueduct > Other Aqueducts in Ancient Rome. Aqueduct Reservoirs and Basins.

(Part 5)

Other Aqueducts in Ancient Rome. Aqueduct Reservoirs and Basins.

Besides the two principal aqueducts at Rome already described, there remain to be noticed twelve more which assisted in the supply of water for the city. These are:

(1.) AQUA APPIA, which took its rise at the foot of the Alban mountains on the Oaeneste road, between the 7th and 8th milestones, and measured from its source to the Porta trigemina 11, 180 paces, of which 11,130 were below ground. It appears to have been the first important enterprise of the kind at Rome, and was the work of the old Censor Appius Claudius, from whom it derived its name. The date of its construction was the year of Rome 442, according to Frontinus, an overseer of aqueducts (curator aquarum) under the empire, whose work De Aquoeduct. Urb. Romoe we still posses.

(2.) ANIO VETUS, constructed forty years after the last-mentioned aqueduct, by the Censor Manlius Curius Dentatus, with the help L. Papirius Censor, who finished it. From its source near Tivoli, on the left side of the Anio, it flowed 43,000 paces, of which 42,779 were below ground, and 221 above. At the distance of 2 miles from Rome (Frontinus, i. 21) it parted into two courses, one of which led to the horti asiniani, and was thence distributed; while the other (rectus ductus) led by the temple of Spes to the esquiline gate, the site of which was near the modern Villa Negroni, where, in 1861, was found a subterranean conduit and an inscribed stone, which left no doubt as to its having been one of the stones set up to mark the distances of the Anio Vetus.

(3.) AQUA MARITA, rising on the left side of the Via Valeria, traversed 61,710 paces, of which 54,247 were underground, and the remaining distance carried partly on solid wall and partly on arches. It was the work of Quintus Martius Rex, not of Ancus Martius the fourth king of Rome, as Pliny (N.H., xxxi. 3) fancies, and took its name from its constructor. Its waters were celebrated for their coolness and excellent quality.

(4.) AQUA TEPULA. From its source in the district of Tusculum, flowed 10,000 paces, mostly above ground, and on the same series of arches as carried the Aqua martia, but at a higher level. It was the work of the Censors Cn. Servillius Caepio and L. Crassus Longinus, and was completed in the year 126 B.C.. Again, partly on the same structure of arches, and with a still higher channel, flowed --

(5.) AQUA JULIA, from a source near that of the last-mentioned aqueduct to within 7000 paces of the walls of Rome, where the joint waters were received in a reservoir, and thence distributed in various channels to the city. Its entire length was 15,426 paces. It was constructed in the year 34 B.C. by Marcus Agripa, to whose zeal to meet public wants in this direction were due the two other aqueducts --

(6.) AQUA VIRGO, and (7.) AQUA CRABRA or DAMNATA, the former as well known for the goodness of its water as was the latter for the inferiority which procured it the designation of Damnata. The Aqua Virgo, from its origin at acopious spring in a marsh on the Collatine way, not far from the ancient Gabii, measured 14,105 paces, along which it was conveyed in pipes, partly under and partly above ground, on a solid substructure or on arches. It was completed in the year 48 B.C.

(8.) AQUA ALSIETINA or AUGUSTA rose in Etruria, on the Via Claudia and traveled 22,172 paces, of which 358 were on arches. It was the work of Augustus, whose object was to furnish by it water for gardens and other than drinking purposes.

(9.) AQUA TRAJANA, rising in Lake Sabatinus (Bracciano), was constructed by Trajan.

(10.) AQUA ALEXANDRINA, rising in the district of Tusculum, was the work of Alexander Severus.

(11.) AQUA SEPTIMIANA seems to have been only a branch led from the Aqua Julia to supply the baths of the emperor from whom it takes its name, Septimius Severus.

(12.) AQUA ALGENTINA rose on Mount Algidus; at whose instance it was made is unknown.
Of the fourteen aqueducts which supplied ancient Rome, three remain in use at the present time, furnishing the modern city with abundance of water. The first of the three is the Aqua Virgo, now known as Fonata di Trevi, supplying the best water in Rome. It was restored by Pope Pius IV. The next is the Aqua Claudia, known as the Aqua Felice or di Termini, which was restored by Sixtus V. The third is the Aqua Trajna, called, from the Pope who restored it, viz., Paul V., Aqua Paole.

At regular intervals along the course of an aqueduct were built reservoirs (castella), to enable repairs to be made at any point, and also to let off water for the population of the district through which it passed. It was the law that material necessary for repairs should be supplied from the private property nearest to where the damage was, and should be conveyed at the cost of the owner of such property.

Castella of smaller dimensions were also required in many parts of the city. Of these, it was said, there were 247 in Rome.

To allow the water to purify itself before being distributed in the city, large basins (piscine limariae) were built outside the walls. For the process of purification salt was used (Vitruvius, viii.) These piscinae were covered in with a vaulted roof, and were usually on a colossal scale, as in the example still preserved at Fermo, which consists of two stories, each having three oblong basins communicating with each other; or the Piscina Mirabile at Baiae, which is covered in by a vaulted roof, supported on forty-eight pillars, and perforated to permit the escape of four air. Two stairs lead by forty steps to the bottom of the reservoir. In the middle of the basin is a sinking to collect the deposit of the water. The walls and pillars are coated with a stucco so hard as to resist a tool.

The oversight of aqueducts was placed, in the times of the republic, under the aediles and censors, though the latter a appear to have taken part in work of this kind rather from their financial interest in the matter. Under the empire this task devolved on special officials styled Curatores Aquarum.

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