Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

Now the word "cesspool" has some kind of abusive meaning or describes something vile and disgusting. Well, of course, before that, it did not describe the paradise gardens, but it meant quite specific structures for itself.

The “Greatest Sewerage System” in Ancient Rome is one of the oldest sewer systems in the world, and is still in use.

When the Romans built the Cloaca Maxima in the 6th century BC. e., they were very pleased with themselves for creating such an effective system of drainage of water. They were so glad that they called it “the greatest sewage system”. This is one of the oldest monuments in Rome, although it lacks the pomp and glamor of the Colosseum or the Pantheon.

Nobody knows the true age of Cloaca Maxima, the spread is quite significant - from the IIV-th to the IV-th centuries BC. One of the most common versions says that it was built during the reign of King Lucius Tarquinius the Ancient, who is considered a historical person. There is also little information about the king himself and they are more likely semi-legendary. Historians agree that Lucius Tarquinius sought to strengthen the royal power, relying on both military force and the growing mass of plebeians.It is possible that it was precisely this desire that prompted the king to undertake the improvement of the city. Among the innovations was the construction of the Big Cloaca (Cloaca Maxima), a drainage canal for draining the marshy lowland between the Palatine and Capitoline hills. It is believed that the construction was led by the Etruscan master, or the canal was built according to the Etruscan samples. In any case, the Etruscans were famous as excellent masons, and the Romans adopted this art from them.

This system was originally used to drain swamps and provide stormwater from sections of the Central Forum of the city on the banks of the Tiber River.

Much later, around the 3rd century BC. e., open drain was hidden and turned into a closed system, and waste from toilets and public baths were sent to the sewage system.

The walls and the arch of the canal that diverted water from the marshland to the Tiber were lined with a Gabi stone, two meters in length and one meter wide, and cement was not used in construction. The width of the channel was 3 meters, and a height of more than 4. The length of the channel is approximately 800 meters. Initially, the Big Cloaca was an open channel, although it is possible that not completely.Later there were wooden flooring, and even later stone arches. Finally it was closed under the emperor Augustus. As the city developed, its sewer network also developed, the main core of which remained Cloaca Maxima. New gutters were being built, some of which went immediately to the Tiber, and some adjoined the Big Cesspool. So, with the development of the city expanded sewage. In 184 BC Censors Mark Porcius Cato and Lucius Valerius Flaccus manage to build new cloaca and repair existing ones. Aventine and some other parts of Rome find their gutters. A very impressive sum of 24 million sesterces was spent on the repair and construction of the sewer network for that time.

Even more serious attention is paid to the sewer network under Emperor Augustus (the reign of 27 BC - 14), more precisely in those years when Mark Vipsanny Agrippa (63 - 12 BC .e.) He was engaged in the expansion and construction of aqueducts and the expansion and cleaning of sewers. Agrippa did not disdain to go round the entire Maxim Cloaca by boat, and according to contemporaries, he spent the whole day on it.They also claim that at his own expense he cleared all the cloaca of the city, sent water from seven water pipes to them, since the initial slope of the Cloaca Maxima was small and as a result it was washed poorly. He dug several new drains on the Field of Mars, and one of them, four meters long and three meters wide, still serves to drain the most populated part of the city. He is also credited with the complete sealing of Cloaca Maxima.

Despite the fact that about two and a half thousand years have passed since the foundation of the Cloaca Maxima, this most famous sewer system in the world is in fairly good condition, its mouth, forming a semicircular arch in the embankment wall about five meters in diameter, See in the historic part of Rome. The Romans believed that the keeper of their sewage facilities was Kloakina, one of the epithets of Venus, meaning "cleansing", which caused the caustic irony of Christians. However, despite the inconsistency of the name and the very unusual role of this goddess for most of us, she managed to keep the building entrusted to her so significant for the Eternal City.Exit Big Cloaca in the Tiber can be seen today near the Rotto Bridge, as well as at the Palatine Bridge. Getting there: From Termini Station, the fastest way is to take the bus “H” and after six stops, get off at the Ministry of Education.

The Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder 700 years after the construction of the system wrote that he was struck by the massiveness of the sewers. He wrote: “Sometimes water from the Tiber flows in the opposite direction and up the sewer. Then, powerful floods of water collide head-on in a limited space, but the system is inexorably working without failures. ”

Although the Cloaca was constantly used for centuries, the underground structure was damaged by the Byzantines. Parts of the sewers were restored and repaired during the Renaissance, and later during the excavations partially restored. In 2012, a powerful robot archeologist was sent through tunnels to check his condition and found that he is in a very fragile condition and needs careful maintenance, which was started.

Today, a small trickle of water flows along the “greatest sewage system” and its spillway works near the Ponte Rotto bridge.You can also look at the ancient sewers near the Basilica of Julius in the Roman Forum, where the door leads to the sewers.

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  • Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

    Cloaca - the greatest sewage system

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