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  • Writer's pictureJP Kenwood

Aqueduct of the Day: The Aqua Marcia

One of my favorite subjects — Roman aqueducts! We featured gladiators a while back when I was writing the amphitheater scene in Games of Rome. Now let’s explore a few aqueducts in the city of Rome, cause aqueducts are cool. 😀

Remains of Aqua Marcia with modern graffiti (image source: Wikimedia Commons)

We’re starting with the Aqua Marcia because it’s featured in a scene with Gaius and Allerix from Chapter 4 of Book 3. 😀

The Aqua Marcia was one of the oldest, most notable water channels in ancient Rome. The 55+ mile long system (the longest!) was constructed by the praetor, Quintus Marcius Rex, in 144 BCE with some of the wealth brought to Rome after the sacks of Carthage and Corinth. Good old Quintus was a member of the Marcii clan, and the project was named after him and his family.

The Aqua Marcia carried water from the natural springs in the hills of the Appenine Mountains east of Rome down the slopes of the rolling landscape and into the city. From there, it fed several different regions of Rome with reliable and good quality drinking water. Frontinus, an interesting character who served as the supervisor of aqueducts (curator aquarum) under Trajan’s predecessor, the emperor Nerva, estimated that the Aqua Marcia brought roughly 50 million gallons (US) of potable water to the city every single day.

Map of the aqueducts of Rome (image courtesy of the LA Times:

This map illustrates the routes of all eleven aqueducts of Rome. By AD 107 (our Dominus starting year), the Aqua Marcia’s channel carried water to the eastern side of the Quirinal Hill and close to the Camp of the Praetorians.  With over ten thousand Praetorians (more or less depending on what was going on at the time) housed inside the camps, a steady supply of drinking water kept the fickle, thirsty lads hydrated. 😉

Want to read a gorgeous article about Roman aqueducts? Here the link to a National Geographic piece. Nicely illustrated!

More “Aqueduct of the Day” posts coming… and draft Chapter 4. <3


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