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p22 Aqua Claudia

Article on pp22‑23 of

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


Aqua Claudia: * an aqueduct which (like the Anio Novusq.v.) was begun by Caligula in 38 A.D. (Suet. Cal. 21), and completed by Claudius in 52 (unless Tac. Ann. XI.13 indicates its completion in 47; see Furneaux in loc.), who dedicated it on 1st August. After being in use for only ten years, the supply failed, and was interrupted for nine years, until Vespasian restored it in 71; and ten years later Titus had to repair it once more, aquas Curtiam et Caeruleam . . . cum a capite aquarum a solo vetustate (!) dilapsae essent nova forma reducendas sua impensa curavit. On 3rd July, 88, a tunnel under the mons Aeflanus, near Tibur, was completed. We have no records of other restorations, except from the study of the remains themselves, which show that a good deal of repairing was done in the second and third centuries (Plin. NH XXXVI.122; Frontinus, de aquis I.4, 13‑15, 18‑20, IIº.69, 72, 76, 86, 87, 89, 91, 104, 105; Suet. Claud. 20; Procop. BG II.3 (cf. PBS IV.72, 73); Not. app.; Pol. Silv. 545, 5461; Cassiod. Var. VII.6; Victor, Epit. IV.6; CIL VI.1256‑1259, 3866 = 31963; XIV.3530).

Its main springs, the Caeruleus and Curtius, were situated 300 paces to the left of the thirty-eighth milestone of the via Sublacensis, and thus only 100 paces from those of the Aqua Marcia (q.v.).

The length of its channel is given in the inscription on the porta Maior as 45 miles, while Frontinus gives it as 1 mile 406 paces more, which is probably to be accounted for by his measuring up as far as the fons Albudinus, which was added between the time of Claudius and his own. The fons Augustae (see Aqua Marcia) was also turned into the aqua Claudia when the Marcia was full; but sometimes even the Claudia could not carry it, and it ran to waste (Frontinus II.72). Pliny's figure (40 miles) is only approximate. Its springs are slightly further up the Anio valley than those of the Marcia, but belong to the same group. Its volume at the springs was 4607 quinariae, or 191,190 cubic metres in 24 hours. Its course outside the city cannot be dealt with here. Directly after p23its piscina, near the seventh mile of the via Latina, it finally emerged on to arches, which increase in height as the ground falls towards the city; they carried also the channel of the Anio novus (q.v.), the highest of all the aqueducts, and both channels still pass over the via Labicana and via Praenestina by a great monumental arch, which later became the Porta Maior (q.v.).

From the porta Maior the Arcus Caelimontani (q.v.) diverged to the left and conveyed a portion of its supply across the Caelian to the Palatine, the Aventine,2 and the Transtiberine region (Frontinus, I.20). That this branch also supplied the first region is clear from CIL VI.3866 =31963, which mentions a castellum situated in it. The main aqueduct ran on to the terminal piscina post hortos Pallantianos; it must also have supplied the higher parts of the city, the Esquiline, Viminal and Quirinal, which, as Pliny says, its height enabled it to do. See references under Anio Novus, and also Mél. 1906, 305‑311; CIL VI.8494.

The forma Claudiana3 is mentioned in Eins. 7.18, 19 (where the actual aqueduct is referred to; see also Aqua Iulia, Arcus Neroniani). Forma Claudia is found as one of the boundaries of a vineyard near Porta Maggiore in a document of 1066 (Reg. Subl. No. 104, p150; cf. HCh 296).


The Authors' Notes:

1 In these two lists the aqua Caerulea (but not the Curtia) is mentioned as well as the Claudia.

See Addendum to p26, l. 31.

2 It is possible that the remains of an aqueduct found by Parker near the porta Capena belonged to this branch, and not to Trajan's extension of the aqua Marcia to the Aventine (LA 312); the brickwork seems Neronian.

3 'Forma quae Claudia vocatur' in LPD I.504 fin (Hadrian I).


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