Cloaca Maxima

Cloaca Maxima
Cloaca Maxima

There are many beautiful works of art that the Roman Empire has left us, from splendid temples such as the Colosseum or the Roman Pantheon to the most renowned sculptures such as the Augustus Prima Porta or the equestrian Marcus Aurelius. However, we are heirs of Rome in many more aspects than art, our language or our laws also have deep roots in Roman culture. In the same way the Romans were great architects of urban planning and in fact they were the ones who invented, or rather put into use, some elements as essential to cities as the sewage system.


Today's road is precisely dedicated to one of the greatest engineering works carried out in the city of Rome and without a doubt one of the oldest sewage systems that has come down to us, known as Cloaca Máxima or Cloaca Principal, an intricate sewage system that collected wastewater from the city. According to the documentary sources found in this regard, the Cloaca Máxima must date from around the year 600 B.C.; At that time, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome since its foundation, reigned in Rome. Tarquino carried out important engineering works in what was by then consecrated as one of the busiest cities in the entire world: he designed the layout of the city according to the military camps, proposed the construction of the Forum, the Circus Maximus and even theTemple of Zeus in the Capitol.

La Cloaca Máxima was the result of the needs derived from the increase in population; On the one hand, it was necessary to eliminate the wastewater from the big city at the same time that the need to evacuate the river Tiber, the stream that often overflowed and flooded the land closest to the city, had long been considered.

The main stretch of the sewer runs from the northeast to the southeast crossing the Forum, but it branches off and forks throughout the city, reaching more than six hundred meters in length and about five or six meters wide as an average of the whole. Numerous Etruscan architects were involved in its construction, we must not forget that the Romans were strongly influenced by this people, as well as numerous workers and slaves from the lower strata of society.

Along the route you can see different construction techniques depending on the time in which the sewer was built or restored, since its operation lasted for many years in the history of Rome.

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