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The first engineering accomplishment in the rome empire
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The first engineering accomplishment in the rome empire



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  • 2. The first sewerage in rome, Cloaca Maxima. The first engineering accomplishment in the Rome - Engineering an Empire, is thecreation of a great sewer system, the cloaca maxima, which allowed the hilltop villages toconsolidate, but the story presented by Rome - Engineering an Empire begins with the end of theRepublic and Julius Caesar. The Cloaca Maxima is one of the worlds earliest sewage systems.Constructed in Ancient Rome in order to drain local marshes and remove the waste of one of theworlds most populous cities, it carried an effluent to the River Tiber, which ran beside the city.The name literally means Greatest Sewer. According to tradition it may have been initiallyconstructed around 600 BC under the orders of the king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus. Figure 1 : Images of cloaca maxima in romeThe innovation of Cloaca Maxima. The Romans integrated earlier sewer innovations into the cloaca maxima, first builtaround 800 BC. These open drains were designed to carry stormwater, but the rains also flushedaway piles of excrement and household rubbish thrown into the streets. During storms, theseditches were sources of a horribly revolting stench. Ancient Roman sewer designers alsodeveloped cesspools, forerunners of modern-day septic tanks. Sewage first flowed into a largestone or concrete tank where heavy solids settled to the bottom and lighter particles floated to thetop. The partially cleaned liquid flowed into a nearby body of water. Collected sludge was eitherused as fertilizer or simply buried.
  • 3. The challenge to build the Cloaca Maxima. In Rome 735 B.C the romans began to work on a sewer system like the one we knowtoday. It was named The Cloaca Maxima (The Greatest Sewer) and was not finished until 225years later. Many sources consider this sewer system as the first real sewer system compared tomodern-day sewers. Its purpose was primarily to carry away rain water from storms but also todrain local marshes and get rid of waste. Back then the romans still threw their waste out in thestreet. As the streets were cleaned the waste was moved through the sewer. The sewers carriedthe effluent to the River Tiber, which ran alongside one of the greatest cities back then – Rome.Etruscan engineers were behind the design while slaves and people from the lower classes wereset to do the hard work. There are a few different views to how the Roman sewer originally wasconstructed. The most recognized theory is that the sewer was an open sewer like the first manysewer constructions were. The underground work on the sewer is said to have been carried outby Tarquinius Superbus, Rome´s seventh and last King. The aqueducts which supplied Rome with water were later on channeled into the sewersystem. By doing this the romans divided their water into three categories with three differentfunctions: bad quality water, second quality water and the best quality water. The continuoussupply of running, bad quality, water helped removing waste and kept the sewers clean fromobstructions. The best quality water was for portable drinking supplies, and the second qualitywater would be used in the famous roman baths, other public buildings and public toilets. Theprivate residences in Rome occupied some of the branches of the sewer. Residences weresupplied with some sort of drain. This construction was made both for the rich and poor. In 33 B.C. the sewer is known to have received an inspection and overhaul from MarcusAgrippa, who was a Roman statesman and general. Archaeology reveals several building stylesand material from various ages, suggesting that the system received regular attention. Somestates that the Roman water system was a product of Agrippa. He was responsible for buildingseveral aqueducts, continuously improving and extending the already existing sewer system. TheCloaca Maxima was believed to be watched over by the goddess Cloacine. This religious view isa good indicator of the significance of this sewer construction in its time.
  • 4. Figure 2 : Map of central Rome during the time of the Roman Empire, showing Cloaca Maxima in red. After the fall of the Roman Empire sophisticated plumbing was a forgotten invention inEurope for centuries. In Saxon times a toilet was simply a hole in the ground. For commonpeople this was still the case for centuries. In the Middle Ages monks started to build stone orwooden latrines over rivers. In the 12th century monks built a ledge along a wall overhanging thesea. In the ledge there where holes that people could use as a toilet and when the tide went in andout the sewage was flushed away. In castles the toilet was simply a vertical shaft with a stoneseat at the top. These shafts ran directly into the moat.
  • 5. The contribution of Cloaca Maxima to the society. The continuous supply of running water helped to remove wastes and keep the sewers clear of obstructions. The best waters were reserved for portable drinking supplies, and The second quality waters would be used by the baths, the outfalls of which connected to the sewer network under the streets of the city. To drain local marshes and remove the waste of one of the worlds most populous cities, it carried an effluent to the River Tiber, which ran beside the city.