Uses of Water in Pompeii Research Paper

Uses of Water in Pompeii
A discussion of the public and private uses of pressured water in ancient Pompeii.
# 128677 | 2,431 words | 5 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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This paper focuses on the use of water in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The paper explains that the use of pressurized water supplied by the aqueduct system played a vital role in everyday life in ancient Pompeii. Prior to the installation of the aqueduct in 27 BCE, the paper notes, Pompeii's water supply came from a system of wells and cisterns. The paper adds that the nature of this system meant that disease was fairly common, as the stagnant water was a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying malaria and tuberculosis. The paper mentions three main water uses - everyday use by ordinary Pompeians; the decoration and embellishment of private homes; and public use in the baths. The paper discusses the use of water as a luxury item, as the presence of a private water supply was a very high status symbol. The paper adds that the public baths provided a central gathering point for socialization and business, as well as an important source of revenue for the city. The paper concludes that water was a large part of daily life for everyone in Pompeii. This paper contains illustrative figures.

From the Paper:

"Pompeii was connected to the Serino branch of the Campanian aqueduct system in 27 BCE. Laurence suggests "either that something was fundamentally wrong with the water supply from wells or that there was a new demand for good quality water" (Laurence 1994: 44). The aqueduct carried clean water from the mountains. (fig. 1) Water was collected and distributed from the castellum aquae at the highest point in Pompeii. Lead pipes were used to transport the water to its destination within the town. The pressure exerted by this system was great enough that it in fact needed to be alleviated at certain points by the use of water towers which served a duel role of easing the load on the pipes and acting as a reservoir to hold a surplus supply of water. There were three main diversions from the castellum aquae. The largest was for the supply of public fountains and pools from which the citizens of Pompeii could gather water for their daily needs. A second division was for the provision of water to the public baths, which were important because they provided the town with revenue. The final division was devoted to supplying pressurized water to private homes. This division fits with Vitruvius' directions on how it should be done (Laurence 1994: 44)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Jones, R. and Robinson, D. 2005. Water, Wealth, and Social Status at Pompeii: The House of the Vestals in the First Century American Journal of Archaeology, 109, 695-710.
  • Laurence, R. 1994. Roman Pompeii: Space and Society. London: Routledge.
  • Butterworth, A. and Laurence, R. 2005. Pompeii: The Living City. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • De Albentis, E. 2009. Secrets of Pompeii. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.
  • Beard, M. 2008. The Fires of Vesuvius. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Uses of Water in Pompeii (2010, August 03) Retrieved February 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Uses of Water in Pompeii" 03 August 2010. Web. 07 February. 2023. <>