The city of Rome depended on a complex system of aqueducts for survival, and Frontinus purports to tell his readers how best to manage this system. Although his text is largely technical, his treatment of technicalities is not always clear, raising the question of how well he, and the Romans, really understood hydraulics.
This interdisciplinary study of Frontinus' work addresses the questions that lie between the lines of his text. How large a work force was required to build an aqueduct, and how did they go about doing it? What did such an undertaking cost, and who was responsible for paying? Who decided which route should be followed? Why did Frontinus feel a need to write this book? Who was his audience?
To date, Frontinus has been subjected to very little critical scrutiny. Deane R. Blackman and A. Trevor Hodge have gathered here a wide range of recognized authorities--in classics, hydraulics engineering, surveying, financing, and the formation of calcium carbonate deposits in the water conduits-- to examine the puzzle Frontinus has left us.
Deane R. Blackman is Associate Professor of Engineering, Monash University. A. Trevor Hodge is Distinguished Research Professor of Classics, Carleton University.
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