Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Ancient Society and by Gregory S. Aldrete

By Gregory S. Aldrete

While the is still of its huge aqueducts function tangible reminders of Rome’s efforts to manage its offer of consuming water, there are scant actual reminders that different waters occasionally raged uncontrolled. in reality, floods have been easily part of lifestyles in historic Rome, the place proximity to the Tiber left a considerable a part of town susceptible to the river's occasional transgressions.

Here, within the first book-length remedy of the impression of floods on an historic urban, Gregory S. Aldrete attracts upon a various diversity of clinical and cultural information to boost a wealthy and distinctive account of flooding in Rome in the course of the classical period.

Aldrete explores intimately the overflowing river’s harmful results, drawing from old and sleek written documents and literary debts, analyses of the topography and hydrology of the Tiber drainage basin, seen proof on surviving constructions, and the recognized engineering equipment devised to restrict the achieve of emerging water. He discusses the concepts the Romans hired to relieve or hinder flooding, their social and non secular attitudes towards floods, and the way the specter of inundation motivated the improvement of the city's actual and monetary landscapes.

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Sample text

3) to Pliny the Younger’s alternately poetic and chatty 180-word letter recounting a flood that he witnessed during the reign of Trajan (Epist. 17). While 33 floods over an 800-year period may not seem to constitute a major threat to the city, this list can by no means be taken as comprehensive, and in all likelihood many ancient floods have left no trace in written accounts. 7 Usually floods are mentioned by ancient authors only when they can be associated with significant events and are represented as portents or signs that either foretell or accompany those events.

156 BC Pontificis maximi tectum cum columnis in Tiberim deiectum. (Iul. Obseq. 16) The covering with supports of the great bridge [the Pons Aemilius] was thrown down into the Tiber. This passage does not explicitly mention a flood, but damage to bridges is most likely to have been caused by high waters. The text surrounding this passage describes a violent storm that struck the city, and it is possible that high winds alone may have been responsible for the damage to the bridge. The issue is clouded by the ambiguity of the term tectum.

As such, it could have taken place anytime between AD 117 and 138. AD 147 . . fuit et inundatio Tiberis . . (SHA Ant. 3) . . and there was a flood of the Tiber. [—] X. K. April. aqua magna fuit. ) Ten days before the kalends of April, there was a great flood. AD 162 . . sed interpellavit istam felicitatem securitatemque imperatoris prima Tiberis inundatio, quae sub illis gravissima fuit. quae res et multa urbis aedificia vexavit et plurimum animalium interemit et famem gravissimam peperit. (SHA M.

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