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p20 Aqua Alsietina

Article on pp20‑21 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


Aqua Alsietina: an aqueduct constructed by Augustus (and therefore also called Augusta), which drew its supply from the lacus Alsietinus (Lago di Martignano), with some additions near Careiae (Galera) from the lacus Sabatinus (Lago di Bracciano), 6 miles to the right of the fourteenth mile of the via Clodia. It was 22,172 paces long, of which 358 were on arches. Its supply was only 392 quinariae, all of which was used outside the city. The quality of the water was indeed so bad that it was probably intended mainly for the Naumachia Augusti (q.v.), behind which it ended, the surplus being used for gardens and irrigation, except when the bridges were under repair, and it was the only supply available for the Transtiberine region. Frontinus' statement that in level it was the lowest of all (Frontinus, de aquis I.4, 11, 18, 22; II.71, 85; Not. app.; Pol. Silv. 545, 546) requires qualification. A portion of its channel has recently been discovered to the south of that of the Aqua Traiana, and at a considerably lower level (Mem. Am. Acad. VI.137‑146). The identification of its channel and terminal castellum with the remains described by Bartoli, Mem. 58, ap. Fea, Misc. I.237 (for which see HJ 640, 651, 652‑p21655), which lay a good deal further to the north, below Tasso's oak, must therefore be given up. The aqueduct is referred to in an inscription of Augustus (CIL VI.31566XI.3772a; cf. NS 1887, 182), which mentions formam Mentis attributam rivo Aquae Augustae quae pervenit in nemus Caesarum. See Jord. I.1.472; LA 342‑344; LR 53; LF 33; YW 1926‑7, 104; and cf. Naumachia Augusti.


Thayer's Note:

The 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica has a different recension of the same basic information, less scholarly — which can be an advantage — but also with additional details:

Alsietinus Lacus (mod. Lago di Martignano), a small lake in southern Etruria, 15 m. due NNW of Rome, in an extinct crater. Augustus drew from it the Aqua Alsietina; the water was hardly fit to drink, and was mainly intended to supply his naumachia (lake made for a sham naval battle) at Rome, near S. Francesco a Ripa, on the right bank of the Tiber, where some traces of the aqueduct were perhaps found in 1720. The course of the aqueduct, which was mainly subterranean, is practically unknown: Frontinus tells us that it received a branch from the lake of Bracciano near Careiae (Galera): and an inscription relating to it was found in this district in 1887 (F. Barnabei, Notizie degli Scavi, 1887, 181).


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