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Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Roman Feat of Engineering -Aqueducts

Guest Bloggerr:Dan Rahim
They stare at you straight in the face. It is hard to ignore them if you ever travel to Rome. They tower over the towns, big stone monoliths. They look like huge bridges. In fact they were perhaps the greatest feat of Roman engineering and one of the greatest feats of engineering in the ancient world. The water flowed around simply with the power of gravity. No pumps or other devices were used to get the flow moving.
The aqueducts were one of the first grand scale construction projects to move water through the ancient Roman Empire. Essentially they were just large channels along which water would flow. This facilitated getting water to large sites usually mines but sometimes into the cities.
Though the most visible parts are those above the ground most of the aqueducts ran underground. This was done mainly because it was easier to build underground and they would be less vulnerable to both attack and contamination. These aqueducts were not isolated in Rome; in fact anywhere the Empire spread the aqueducts spread as well. The largest system of this pre-medieval plumbing is found in Constantinople.
The aqueducts eventually stopped being used and went out of service. Some were destroyed by the invaders who wished to starve out the Romans. However, most were destroyed through time and corrosion, because of the large volume of water going through the aqueducts they needed constant maintenance without which they collapsed with the fall of the empire.

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