999 - 0 A.D.Italy

Sextius Julius Frontinus was appointed water inspector (Curator aquarium) in Rome, and he published the first book on water supplies entitled “De Aqueductibus Urbis Romae.”

Sextus Julius Frontinus was Rome’s water commissioner (curator aquarum) at the end of the 1st Century AD under the emperors Nerva and Trajan. Frontinus’ books have made him the most famous of the Roman engineers. He has left us his written personal account of the water system of Rome: De Aquaeductu Urbis Romae. In this book he describes in proud detail the sources, length, and function of each of Rome’s aqueducts. Frontinus is best remembered for his statement:

” . . . with such an array of indispensable structures carrying so many waters, compare if you will, the idle Pyramids or the useless, though famous works of the Greek.”

This quotation tells us a lot about Frontinus; he was a utilitarian public servant with little interest in beauty apart from function.

Frontinus estimated that over 1000 million liters of water came into Rome every day through the eight aqueducts which were then operational.



  • Kamm A, Graham A (2015). The Romans: An Introduction
  • http://www.romanaqueducts.info/picturedictionary/pd_onderwerpen/frontinus.htm

Photo: http://www.museumofthecity.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Frontinus.jpg