No doubt some of the earliest plumbers were the ancient Roman builders. They built sturdy, long-lasting pipeworks to serve their cities, called aqueducts. Aqueducts were found throughout the Roman Republic, and later, in lands they gained by conquest in the Roman Empire (France and England, for example).
Some Roman aqueducts remain standing today – pictured at the left is a UNESCO World Heritage Site over the Gard River in France. Aqueducts were built at a very slight decline so that water was fed by gravity to the awaiting area. Most pipes were laid underground, and were built of ceramic, stone, or lead. In fact, the word “PLUMBER” comes from the Latin word “plumbum” meaning LEAD!
The Romans built aqueduct systems for 500 years, from about 300 BC until 200 AD. Some old Roman aqueduct systems are still in use in Italy today.
These intricate systems provided water for irrigation, drinking water, public fountains and baths, and led to a relatively water-extravagant society. People living in Rome had water to use for any purpose they needed – and they built fountains – pictured at right is the Fontana della Pigna, built in the 1st century AD in Rome.
The famed Roman public bath houses needed aqueducts to provide water, also. Here is one built by the Romans in Bath, England, during the Roman occupation of the island. It’s easy to imagine it populated and being used – but it’s not quite our idea of a bathtub!
Learn more about ancient Roman Aqueducts in Wikipedia – click here.
–Deb at Jake the Plumber