Annotated Web Resources on Roman Aqueducts

Ordered by subject

Aqua Webportal: only the links

Best aqueduct websites per country

Ordered by language

General, the European portal of Roman engineering (1999 - present) (mainly Spanish)
Famous website of mainly Spanish civil engineers with great interest in and knowledge of Roman infrastructure on the Iberian peninsula: roads, aqueducts, bridges, dams, harbours and mines. Unfortunately the articles - over 30 on Roman aqueducts - are mainly in Spanish, some in French, and all related to Iberica.
Anyway: make a login, it is worth! The last update is from the year 2010.

One of the mant aqueduct bridges of
the Roman aqueduct of Nicopolis
(NW Greece). © Maike Merten
R.D. Hansen:
The objective of this website is " ... to explore prehistoric and historic water projects worldwide", with many interesting articles on water use in very diverse periods, in Latin America, USA, Europe, and Asia. Informative contributions on qanats, some Roman aqueducts and water wheels. Last update some years ago (?) on ancient Roman water supply
An anonymous and undated presentation in 65 slides and too many adverts, with short texts and many illustrations, the most of which stem from our site

G. Temporelli and F. de Novellis on siphons (2009)
Aspects of Hydraulic Engineering concerning inverted siphons used in the Roman age, a IWA-WW congress presentation, focusing on the Yzeron (Lyon), Aspendos, and Barratina siphons.

R. Covington: The art and science of water (2006)
An elaborate and balanced article (in Aramco bulleting vol 57-3 (2006) pag 14 - 23) on ancient Muslim water technology and the meaning and use of water in arid zones including noria's, shadufs, and other water lifting devices.

K.D. Matthews: Roman aqueduct, technical aspects of their construction (1970)
Although over 40 years old (Expedition (Fall 1970) pag 2 - 16), it is a pleasure to read this interesting article on the technical aspects of the construction of Roman aqueducts. It is a short introduction into the world of Roman surveying and survey instruments like the groma, chorobates, and the dioptra., discover the wealth of the Mediterranean water management heritage (2009)
A website with a series of interesting articles of different authors on collection, storage, and distribution of water in antiquity around the Mediterranean Sea. Contributions about water management in the oasis of Gheris and Figuig (Morocco), Carthage (Tunisia), on the island of Ventotene (Italy), Qatraneh (Jordan, prehistoric Crete, Athens and Naxos (Greece) and Larnaca (Cyprus).

Bernd Liermann / Antikfan: Antike Wasserversorgung (in German)
A sub site of a much larger website including interesting articles on aqueducts in general (from the sources to fountains, sewer systems, and water power), in Rome (separate substie), in Segovia, and in Mainz. The subject 'Water in the povinces' is still 'under construction'. Undated.

Theoria Romana: Wasserversorgung (2010?) (in German)
A not too elaborate introduction on Roman water supply, almost without any illustration. With special attention to hydrology, hydraulics, hydrotechnology, and technical details. No reference to author nor date.

Steve NN / Weburbanist: pictures of 15 Roman aqueducts
Mainly pictures based on a partly obvious choice of aqueducts, apart from those of the aqueducts in Pont d'Ael, Plovdiv, on Lesbos, Tyre and Split. Official title: "Bridges that babble on: 15 amazing Roman aqueducts" No date nor author.

M. Anselmi: Signa Romanorum (2005?) (bilingual: Italian and English)
"The signs of the Romans", a website devoted to many Roman monuments amoung which the aqueducts of which about 100 photo's, inside and outside Rome.

Ancient literature on Rome

C. Herschel: Frontinus and the water supply of Rome (1899/1913)
First 'authoritative' and often cited Latin text and translation of the two books on the water supply of Rome by Frontinus plus an elaborate explanation plus many illustrations.

Frontinus: De Aquaeductu Urbis Romae (Latin)
The original text written by the cura aquarum (water manager) of Rome, Sextus Iulius Frontinus (about 100 AD) as published by Loeb in 1925; it is almost the same text as presented by Clemens Herschel. Includes details about the - at that time - nine aqueducts op Rome, data on lead pipes and some water legislation. One of the basic texts for aqueduct studies, although mainly applicable on the aqueducts of the city of Rome.
The Latin version of Frontinus' work is also available in The Latin Library.

Frontinus: On the water-management of the city of Rome
Authoritive translation by R.H. Rodgers, University of Vermont (2003), of Frontinus 's text, with some footnotes. Based on an elaborate and critical edition of the same author, published in 2004 with the same title.

Vitruvius: De architectura libri decem (Latin)
The original text written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio.
Vitruvius (1st century BC) was a Roman architect who worked for both Caesar and Augustus. Vitruvius does not seem to have had any connection to the major works of his time, and his fame is derived entirely from his treatise De Architectura in ten books which was probably written between 27 and 23 BC.
The Latin version of Vitruvius' book(s) is also available in The Latin Library.

Vitruvius: De Architectura, the ten books on architecture
Translation from M.H. Morgan (1904) of this famous book. Chapter 8 deals with the water supply, especially 8.6 is of special interest. From the Perseus website of the Tufts University.

R. Fabretti: De aquis et aquaeductibus veteris Romae (1680) (Latin)
Three dissertations of Rafaele Fabretti, published in Rome, report on the research of the aqueducts of Rome known at that time. The original version can be found at the website of the IATH of the University of Virginia.
H.B. Evans made a translation and elaborate annotations which were published by the University of Michigan Press in 2002 and put on their website. Also available as a book: Aqueduct hunting in the 17th century.

J.H. Parker: Archaeology of Rome part VIII: The Aqueducts (1876)
Elaborate study, some 140 years ago, into the aqueducts of Rome with much interpretation and speculation. I should love to do research in Parker's view on the aqueducts. With interesting maps and sometimes difficult interpretable pictures.
Note that there is a special collection of his photographs at the Kelley Museum in Ann Arbor (USA) and at the American Academy in Rome (Italy).

M. Belgrand: Les aqueducs romains (1875) (in French)
A general account of Roman aqueducts, focussing on the aqueducts of Rome and their administration, aqueduct construction, water use, mediaeval aqueducts, the aqueduct of Sens (France) plus an overview of the aqueduct photographs of J.H. Parker (1875).

Th. Ashby: The aqueducts of ancient Rome (1935)
Famous study of the aqueducts of Rome with many interesting drawings and some pictures. On this website an automated transcription of the original text which corrupted the footnotes to a large extend.

Websites and articles devoted to the aqueducts of Rome

E.J. Dembskey: The aqueducts of ancient Rome (2009)
Master thesis on the aqueducts of Rome including interesting introductions on building materials, epigraphic evidence, early and late history of the aqueducts of Rome. Major parts have been used on our site, see AquaClopedia.

Substructure / bridge of the aqueduct
of Alina, present Karpuzlu (Turkey).
© Cees Passchier (2010)
The website of Mike and Ted O'Neill who discovered the sources of the ancient Aqua Traiana, with many nice pictures and drawings plus some video's. In the mean time the website has been embellished with texts and photo's of the Aquae Virgo and Alsietina. See the films on internet; their findings are described in scientific articles, for example in Taylor 2010 and 2012.

A. Pollett: Aqueducts (2008?)
Four well illustrated essays on the aqueducts of Rome: Rome's many 'waters', How Roman aqueducts worked, What can be seen today, and From ancient Rome to contemporary age. Well illustrated. These essays are part of a much larger website on 'all' aspects of the history of Rome. Undated.

A. Schlaf: Aqueducts of Rome under Augustus, part one and two (2000)
Two informative articles on the aqueducts of Rome, not by date but with much background information including later restorations. With footnotes and a short bibliography.

Imperivm Romanvm: Acquedotti Romani (Italian)
A medium sized Italian article on the aqueducts of Rome, part of an elaborate website. The excellent photographs are not always related to the accompanying text. Author nor date are known.

Il Pinolo (pine nuts) (2009?) (Italian)
Interesting and elaborate Italian website on the antiquities of Rome, mainly devoted to the aqueducts but also to ancient roads, the city walls, and construction materials. With often excellent photographs. Unknown author(s).

T. Licht: Entdecke ein anderes Rom, Aquadükte (2010) (German)
German website with a two walking (or better: cycling) tours. One along the aqueducts of Rome: from the Porta Maggiore to the Parco degli Acquedotti and beyond (Roma Vecchia). The other along the Aqua Alexandrina (Centocelle distruct).

K. Wentworth Rinne: Aquae Urbis Romae, the waters of the city of Rome (2008)
The famous website of the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities of the University of Virginia, a cartographic history of the water infrastructure and urbanism in Rome, with extensive overviews on literature and water infrastructural items, with search function, maps, timeline overviews and reviewed articles.

Miscelaneous on Roman aqueducts

C.W. Passchier: Romaq, the atlas project of Roman aqueducts (2012)
Over 1300 roman aqueducts have been described in the Mediterranean basin and the aim of this website is to present the available corpus of literature on the subject in a systematic way. Besides available literature on each aqueduct, the website aims to present summarised data on each aqueduct, and a map of the trace of the aqueduct where known. Try it before you plan your trip abroad.

The aqueduct bridge, possibly not
Roman! - in Ansignan (S France)
crossing the river Agly, (now) in use
for irrigation purposes.
© Krijn van den Boogaart
S. Klein: Aqueducts and Euergetism in the Roman republic (2008-2009)
A scientific article (in: Hirundo vol 7 (2007-2008) pag 58 - 66) on aqueduct construction and public benefaction (good deeds) in Rome. With footnotes often referring to ancient sources (Pliny, Frontinus, Livy) plus an elaborate bibliography.

J. Grout: Lead Poisoning and Rome (undated)
An article on the famous controversy about the role of lead poisoning in the decline and fall of the Roman empire, including an elaborate literature list (undated, > 2002). From the same "Encyclopaedia Romana" essays on the Virgo aqueduct, and on Frontinus' quinaria.

M.K. Malott: Nomine Caesaris, and examination of the propagandistic functions of the aqueducts of Rome during the early empire (2004?)
This interesting essay including footnotes and relevant bibliography on the propagandistic value of Roman aqueducts is a result of an undergraduate contest of the Classical Association of Canada.

T. Apostel: The tunnel of Samos (2004)
An article on the mathematics behind the construction of an aqueduct: the Eupalinos aqueduct tunnel on the Greek island of Samos and the necessary measurements (In: Engineering & Science vol 1 (2004) pag 30 - 40).

M. Nikolic: Cross-Disciplinary Investigation of Ancient Long-Distance Water Pipelines (2008)
A PhD-thesis under supervision of prof J.P. Oleson, on the fluid dynamics (including air bubbles) in aqueduct siphons. With an elaborate survey of ancient literature and a compilation of the calculations of the siphons in the aqueducts of Pergamum, Smyrna, Matheymna, Alatri, Lugdunum, Segobriga, and Aspendos.

Z. Kamash: Water Supply and Management in the Near East, 63 BC - AD 636 (2006)
A PhD-thesis on water and water management in the Near East, under supervision of prof. dr. A. Wilson, professor of archaeology, Oxford University. Interesting texts, illustrations, and annexes. Only parts of the text are available on the internet, the most interesting have been collected here.

G. Hoffmann: Romische Aquadukte auf Briefmarken (2008 - 2010) (German)
Roman aqueducts on stamps. Three articles in the Mitteilunger der DWhG (see below):
* nr 13 (2008) pag 36 - 40
* nr 14 (2009) pag 35 - 40
* nr 15 Anhang 1 (2010) pag 1 - 9

W.D. Schram: Roman aqueducts on coins (2007)
An overview of Roman aqueducts as depicted on Roman coins. The representation of buildings on Roman coins from the time of the Republic had a commemorative character, which means the moneyers (mint masters) would express the fame of their ancestors. At the same time they choose motives with strong links to the political situation at that moment.

Related subjects

Peutinger map / Tabula Peuteringeriana (2003)
All 14 segments of the Peutinger map in detail, from the University of Applied Science (HS) in Augsburg (Germany).
The website Omnes Viae (René Voorburg, The Netherlands, 2009) has 'translated' this map into a modern interactive application: your itinerarium romanum for your travels abroad.

F. Ravelli and P. Howarth: Etruscan Cuniculi: tunnels for the collection of pure water (1984)
Cuniculi were archaic tunnels for the collection of drinking water, for drainage, and for irrigation. Congress paper including a list of relevant (Italian) literature. A typical example of cuniculi which served to drain off excess water is the network found in the sepulchral chamber of the Mengarelli tumulus in the Etruscan necropolis at Cerveteri near Rome.

M. Abattouy: Muhammad Al-Karaji, a mathematician (2009)
Al-Karaji - from the 11th century - was also a kind of water engineer. This interesting article - from - is about the 'golden age' of science and technology from the 9th - 16th century in the the Islamic world and devoted to hydrology, qanats, and water lifting devices.

J. Rychener: Wasser als Müll (water as waste) (2006) (German)
A German article on waste water, in particular in relation to the city of Augusta Raurica (Roman Augst, Switzerland), with summaries in French and Italian.

D. Moore: Roman concrete (2004?)
Website with interesting discussions on Roman concrete, especially on the use of pozzolan based concrete, sometimes focused on Rome's Pantheon. Including an elaborate list of resources and references on Roman concrete.

P. Briant: Irrigation et Drainage dans l'antiquite (2001) (in French)
[nr 2 in the series Persika] Proceedings of a seminar series on irrigation and drainage in antiquity: qanats and subterranean channels in Iran, Egypt, and Greece, edited and partly presented by prof. Pierre Briant (College de France, Paris).

Associations on ancient water supply

Roman castellum [water distribution
and settling basin] in Tipasa (Algeria).
© Cees Passchier
Frontinus Gesellschaft (1976 - present) (German)
This German association dealing with the research about the history of water supply and energy management. There is access to an OPAC including over 6.600 titles of monographs on the history of water engineering. There is also a link collection and some full text documents containing the issues of a series. The Frontinus Gesellschaft organizes study trips research projects, and congresses; it also issues books. The 'father' of the aqueduct studies in Germany.

Deutsch Wasser historisch Gesellschaft (DWhG) (2002 - present) (German)
This German association is devoted to the history of water engineering, water management and hydrology and promotes research, education and promotion in this special field. On the website there are presented publications and research projects. A wide field of items is related to the Roman water supply systems.


Acta diurna: Aqueducts-1 (undated) (Russian)
A Russian website on Roman aqueducts, from an anonymous author, with many illustrations from our website without any reference to it. Including some examples of aqueducts on ancient paintings and Roman coins.

M.L. Anderson: Roman aqueducts (undated)
A general powerpoint presentation on Roman aqueducts of students of M.L. Anderson without any reference to the used sources like our website With 63 slides plus additional text.

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