Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Ancient Society and History)

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9780801884054: Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Ancient Society and History)

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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About the Author:

Gregory S. Aldrete is a professor of history and humanistic studies at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay and author of Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome, also published by Johns Hopkins.


"Raises important questions about the effects of flooding of the Tiber on the city of ancient Rome and its inhabitants and explores why Romans did not take more sweeping steps to reduce, if not eliminate, the dangers of urban flooding. There is no comparable book-length study of this topic, so this work fills a real need. It will be of interest not only to students of ancient history, but to hydrologists and students of urban studies as well. Certainly it will give us classicists much to think about in our assessment of urban life in ancient Rome."

(Harry B. Evans, Fordham University, author of Aqueduct Hunting in the Seventeenth Century)

"A comprehensive, insightful and lucid book-length study on a topic of great importance."

(Eric Kondratieff Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

" Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome is that rare thing in scholarship, a work that genuinely fills a gap in the scholarly literature. Professor Aldrete has brilliantly illuminated an aspect of ancient Rome that was ever present to the city's inhabitants but almost invisible to modern historians."

(Stanley Burstein History Teacher)

"Thoughtful study."

(Dennis E. Trout American Historical Review)

"A noble attempt to bring interdisciplinary evidence from outside classical sources to bear on a long-standing problem of Roman history and archaeology."

(James C. Anderson, Jr. Journal of Interdisciplinary History)

"A meticulously researched, well-written, and thoroughly referenced study of a little known aspect of Rome's history."

(Brian Fagan Historian)

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