Aquaduct of Claudius
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 41° 53.233 E 012° 29.382
33T E 291728 N 4640301
Quick Description: Aqua Claudia was an aqueduct which was begun by Caligula in 38 A.D. and completed by Claudius in 52. Domitian added a branch to supply water to the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill.
Location: Lazio, Italy
Date Posted: 7/31/2007 10:20:12 AM
Waymark Code: WM1Y36
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 118

Long Description:
Its main springs, the Caeruleus and Curtius, were situated 300 paces to the left of the thirty-eighth milestone of the Via Sublacensis. After being in use for ten years, the supply failed, and was interrupted for nine years, until Vespasian restored it in 71 and ten years later Titus once more. The channel length was 45-46 miles (ca. 69 km, most of which was underground) in different times and volume at the springs was 191,190 cubic metres in 24 hours. After building the Arcus Neroniani by Nero, one of the branches of the Aqua Claudia, the aqueduct could provide all 14 Roman districts with water. Directly after its filtering tank, near the seventh mile of the Via Latina, it finally emerged on to arches, which increase in height as the ground falls towards the city.

Ancient Rome had eleven major aqueducts, built between 312 B.C. (AquaAppia) and 226 A.D. (Aqua Alexandrina); the longest (Anio Novus) was 59 miles long. It has been calculated that in imperial times, when the city's population was well over a million, the distribution system was able to provide over one cubic meter of water per day for each inhabitant: more than we are accustomed to use nowadays.

For most of their length the early aqueducts were simply channels bored through the rock, from the water intake in the hills almost to the distribution cistern in Rome. The depth of the channel below ground varied so as to maintain a constant, very shallow gradient (less than 1/200) throughout the length of the aqueduct; vertical shafts were bored at intervals to provide ventilation and access. Only in the final stretches was theconduit raised on arches, to give a sufficient head for distribution of the water within the city.

In order to keep the gradient constant, the aqueducts took a roundabout route, following the contours of the land and heading along spurs which led towards Rome. As time went on, Roman engineers became more daring in the construction of high arches to support the conduits across valleys and plains and some of the later aqueducts were as much as 27 meters (about 100 feet) above ground level in places. Closed pipes were occasionally used to cross valleys by the "inverted syphon" method: the pressure forced the water down and up again on the other side, to a level slightly lower than before. But this system was costly, as it required lead pipes (lead had to be imported from Spain or Great Britain) and it was difficult to make joints strong enough to withstand the pressure; so arches were far more common.

Except where closed pipes were used, the channel in which the water flowed was just over three feet wide and about six feet high, to allow workers to walk throughout its length - when the water supply had been cut off - for inspection and maintenance. Where the aqueduct went through impermeable rock it was not lined, but where the rock was porous, and where the conduit ran on arches, a layer of impermeable concrete was applied to form a waterproof lining (opus signinum).

Every now and then there was a sedimentation tank, where the flow of water slowed down and impurities were deposited. Where two or more conduits ran near one another, as was common in later times, there were places in which water could be exchanged between them, either to increase the flow of an aqueduct carrying little water or so that one of the conduits could be emptied for maintenance and repair.

When the water reached Rome, it flowed into huge cisterns (castella), situated on high ground, from which it was distributed through lead pipes to the different areas of the city. Part of the water was for the emperor's use, part of it was sold to rich citizens, who - for a price - could have it piped to their private villas, but much of it was available to the populace through a network of public fountains, which were located at crossroads throughout the city, never more than 100 meters apart. Enormous amounts of water went to supply the numerous baths complexes, such as the Baths of Caracalla.

For centuries, an army of laborers was constantly at work, under the supervision of the curator aquarum, extending and repairing the water system. But in the 6th century A.D., as the power of the Empire began to decline, the Goths besieged Rome and cut almost all the aqueducts leading into the city. (The only one that continued to function was that of the Aqua Virgo, which ran entirely underground.)
Most Relevant Historical Period: Roman Empire > 27 B.C.

Admission Fee: Free

Opening days/times:
24 x 7

Condition: Partly intact or reconstructed

Web Site: Not listed

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