Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome
While the remains of its massive aqueducts serve as tangible reminders of Rome’s efforts to control its supply of drinking water, there are scant physical reminders that other waters sometimes raged out of control. In fact, floods were simply a part of life in ancient Rome, where proximity to the Tiber left a substantial part of the city vulnerable to the river's occasional transgressions.
Here, in the first book-length treatment of the impact of floods on an ancient city, Gregory S. Aldrete draws upon a diverse range of scientific and cultural data to develop a rich and detailed account of flooding in Rome throughout the classical period.
Aldrete explores in detail the overflowing river’s destructive effects, drawing from ancient and modern written records and literary accounts, analyses of the topography and hydrology of the Tiber drainage basin, visible evidence on surviving structures, and the known engineering methods devised to limit the reach of rising water. He discusses the strategies the Romans employed to alleviate or prevent flooding, their social and religious attitudes toward floods, and how the threat of inundation influenced the development of the city's physical and economic landscapes.
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Sources and Topography
Geographic Extent of Floods Based on Primary Sources
Seasonality of Floods at Rome
Magnitude of Floods at Rome
Injuries and Drowning
Food Spoilage and Famine
Canals and Channel Modification Schemes
Administrative Oversight of the Tiber
Costs and Benefits
List of Major Floods
A Note on Hydrological Sources
The Roman Sewers