Large-scale water management projects in Roman Central-Southern Italy

Duncan Keenan-Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers two case studies, both involving inter-basin transfers of water, in order to investigate elite Roman attitudes towards the use of water resources, particularly their attitudes towards deleterious consequences of such use on other communities and the wider environment. Before turning to the case studies, the chapter considers how hydrological cycle has changed in Central-Southern Italy since antiquity so that we can make use of modern data, and also the usage and legal control of water in rural areas. The chapter seems that the Roman elite around the turn of the era was prepared to consider, and to execute, plans involving large-scale alteration to the hydrologic landscape in order to benefit coastal urban centres and to serve imperial aims. Thus the history of water management in Central-Southern Italy shows the persistent influence of Roman technical achievements and thought right through to the early 20th century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ancient Mediterranean environment between science and history
EditorsW. V Harris
Place of PublicationLeiden ; Boston
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9789004254053
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameColumbia studies in the classical tradition


  • central-southern Italy
  • climate change
  • flood history
  • hydrologic landscape
  • Roman elite
  • water management


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