The Aqueduct Essay

805 words - 4 pages

The Roman Aqueduct is an example of brilliant Roman engineering. The aqueduct was an advanced aboveground and belowground waterway made mostly of stone, brick and a type of volcanic cement called pozzuolana. The majority of it was below ground, which often forced the aqueduct to go through rock to transport the water. Of the 260 miles of aqueduct that were built, 230 are underground. The other 30 miles are the most visible and the most grand looking. In order to keep the water moving, the Roman had to use gravity to keep constant downhill motion.
When the water reached Rome, it was kept in large reservoirs called castella (cisterns). From these enormous reservoirs, the rest of the water was distributed throughout the city through lead pipes. The water was used for public fountains and baths as well as for private use (if a fee was paid). At its height, the aqueducts could deliver an incredible one cubic meter of what per person when the population of Rome was at one million. In order to make sure the entire aqueduct system worked properly, a Curator Aquarum was assigned to make sure the system worked. He was in charge of the 11 aqueducts that supplied Rome that were built over 500 years. The first of these was the Aqua Appia built alongside the famous Via Appia in 312 BC. The one that carried water the furthest was the Aqua Novus with a 59 mile reach. The final one built was the Aqua Alexandrina in 226 AD. Other curators were responsible for the aqueducts in the provinces. If the Curator Aquarum could find a way to bring more water into Rome, he could gain more political power.
It is difficult to move water over long distances without modern technology, so ancient Romans had to be crafty in the design of the aqueduct. In order to move the water, gravity had to be taken advantage of. The aqueduct had to keep and constant slight downward slope both when it was above and below ground. Below ground, underground pipes and siphons had to be built. Networks of winding pipes were dug by workers. These pipes were most often made of concrete, but could also be made of lead. Lead was only used when the government could afford it, because lead was very expensive. Siphons were used when they water had to span a valley. A siphon is a pipe built in an arc that allowed the water the flow downward and then forced...

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