Overview of the volumes of 21 Roman reservoirs, based on the list at right but without the three major open ones in Constantinople. The first five are all from Constantinople and Northern Africa. Than the Middle East is represented. The Piscina Mirabilis is 'only' nr 10 in this row.
The main reservoir, also called loutron or vouta, adjoining the agora, or Roman forum, of Salamis (Cyprus) consists of a large rectangle which have had a vaulted roof supported by 36 square pillars. View to the east on the reservoir, which was possibly fed by the major aqueduct nearby. Note the three apertures (inlets) on the east side of the basin.
In the area called vicus Caprarius, close to the Trevi fountain in Rome, the remains of two independent buildings were found between the present via di San Vincenzo and the vicolo del Puttarello, supposedly more than 200 m2 and probably burned down in the 5th c during the sack of Rome by the Vandals (455 AD). One of these buildings, originally from the time of Nero, underwent a deep transformation in the time of Hadrian (after 123 ad). The two spaces nearest to the vicus Caprarius were linked, so as to be part of a large water basin with a capacity of 150 m3.
Not covered Nabataean reservoir in Humeima / Auara (Jordan), with a capacity of about 450 m3, built in the first century BC with in-fills in all four corners. The aqueduct water entered the basin in the middle of the N wall (the photo views N) with an overflow at the W side of the S wall (left, not visible on the photo).

Largest Roman Reservoirs

There is a difference between cisterns and reservoirs: cisterns are commonly subterranean, rock cut, without a particular inlet or outlet, apart from a kind of well-top plus cover. Its main purpose is to store rain water. Reservoirs are often larger, sub- or superterranean, masonry built, and mainly used to store aqueduct water, and equipped with an inlet and one or more outlet(s).

In some Roman towns - like in Pompeii (Italy) for instance - many houses were equipped with a cistern under the impluvium to store rain water. After the town got an aqueduct, the cistern was also connected to the aqueduct.

The biggest reservoirs were related to baths buildings especially in Rome (Baths of Diocletian and Caracalla) and in (North) Africa. To feed the biggest reservoirs in Rome, special adaptations were necessary to the extant aqueduct lines.

The major reservoirs of Constantinople, all built after 400 AD, were uncovered and comparable to lakes behind artificial dams. In late antiquity Constantinople was also equipped with many not less impressive, subterranean reservoirs like the Bindirdirek reservoir 'with the thousand and one columns'.
The next group of huge reservoirs were all in North Africa and some in the present Middle East. The famous Piscina Mirabilis is the largest one in present Italy.

Note: As indicated below, often there is some discussion about the capacities of these reservoirs. Some scholars indicate its maximum volume, others give a modest figure for reservoirs were seldom used to its maximum capacity.
Location / name Volume (m3) Literature Remarks
Constatinople, Mokios (Turkey) 237.000 Crow 2008 acc to Cecen; Wilson 2008: 250.000m3 not covered; 500 AD
Constatinople, Aetius (Turkey) 197.000 Crow 2008 acc to Cecen; Wilson 2008: 300.000m3 not covered; 412 AD
Constatinople, Aspar (Turkey) 173.000 Crow 2008 acc to Cecen; Wilson 2008: 230.000m3 not covered; 459 AD
Constantinople, Yerebatan (Turkey) 83.500 Wilson 2008; Doring 2007c: 80.000m3 covered
Constantinople, Bindirdirek (Turkey) 57.800 Wilson 2008 covered; 224 pilars (Crown 2008)
Carthage, La Malga (Tunisia) 51.000 Wilson 2008; Wilson 1998 based on Verite 1989; Wilson 1997: 56.500 - 73.500 m3 linked to the Antonine baths
Cirta (Algeria) 30.000 Wilson 1997; Wilson 1998 based on Gsell 1901 linked to a baths ?
Zama (Tunisia) 28.000 Wilson 1997; Wilson 1998 based on Drapier 1899 linked to a baths?
Carthage, Bordj Djedid (Tunisia) 20.000 Wilson 1997, 1998, 2008; Tolle 1990 and Doring 2007c: 30.000m3 associated with Antonine baths
Capitolias / Beit Ras (Israel) 15.500 Kamash 2006 not covered (!)
Sergiopolis/Resafa (Syria) 14.600 Kamash 2006  
Thapsus (Algeria) 13.500 Wilson 1997  
Misenum, Piscina Mirabilis (Italy) 12.600 Wilson 2008, Wilson 1998 based on Tolle 1990; Doring 2007c: 10.700m3 Water storage for the Roman fleet; no exit
Tubusuptu (Algeria) over 12.000 Wilson 1997  
Hippo Regius (Algeria) 12.000 Wilson 1997  
Rome, Baths of Caracalla 11.500 Wilson 2008, Wilson 1998 based on Manderscheid & Garbrecht 1994; Tolle 1990 made a mistake with 80.000 m3; Yegul1992 refers to 40.000 m3 Fed by the Aqua Antoniniana / Aqua Marcia
Utica (Tunisia) 11.150 Wilson 1997  
Thapsus/Rusicade (Algeria) 11.000 Wilson 1997 Beni Melek 2
Latium, Albano, 'Cisterone' (Italy) 10.000 Doring 2007c  
Simitthus (Tunisia) 9.200 Wilson 1997  
Thapsus / Rusicade (Algeria) 9.000 Wilson 1997 Beni Melek 1
Thugga/Dougga, Ain Mizeb (Tunisia) 8.500 Wilson 1997; Tolle 1990: 15.000 m3 from Ain el Hammam; de Vos Raaijmakers: 6.000 m3 Baths of the Cyclops or the Licinian Baths?
Misenum (Italy), Grotta Dragonara 7.700 Doring 2007c not fed by an aqueduct
Bararus (Tunisia) 7.600 Wilson 1997  
Rome, Sette Sale 7.000 Wilson 2008; Tolle 1980 made a mistake with 10.000m3 related to the Baths of Traian
Carthage (Tunisia) 7.000 Wilson 1997 Turris Aquaria
Rome, Botte di Termini 6.600 Wilson 2007 based on Ligorio as cited by Lanciani 1881 related to the Baths of Diocletian
Baia, High Basin (Italy) 6.000 Doring 2007c not fed by an aqueduct
Sepphoris (Israel) 4.300 Tsuk 1999 built in a cave
Piscina Cardito (Italy) 4.120 Doring 2007c  
Salamis (Cyprus) 4.000 Own observation also called Loutron
Puteoli, Cento Caramelle II (Italy) 2.960 Doring 2007c high + low; not aqueduct fed
Puteoli, Piscina Lusciano (Italy) 2.800 Doring 2007c  
Crypta Romana (Italy) 2.050 Doring 2007c  

Wilson2008 suggested Chieti (still missing) and Aptera on Crete (2 reservoirs of each 3250 m3
based on sanders1982 who also suggested the two reservoirs at Eleutherna, each 5500 m3)

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