Monday, December 07, 2009
Ancient Greek Urban Waterworks
Reading Plato one is amazed how intelligent were th0se Athenians. There was no precedents for anything the did, they invented everything. How they appeared suddenly from the nowhere?
I think one the keys is the fact that Athens was established in one of the driest places of Greece. Simply, they had to be extremely clever to solve their water supply problems in that rocky hill, in the fickle Eastern Mediterranean climate. The Athenians built the Peisistratean aqueduct (6th century BC), which transferred water from the Hymettos Mountain to the city center, an underground pipe. Athenians built bathrooms, latrines and other sanitary facilities, both public and private. Finally, an extended wastewater network connected every single building of the Athenian Agora to the so-called Great Drain. I think their engineering was more advanced than the contemporary Jerusalem.
The pic shows the Peisastratean Aqueduct made from tubes inserted one into the other and sealed with liquid metal (Pb). The modules had oval openings for cleaning. All Greek cities had water and sewage works, and the City of Pergamon had a pressure pipe (a siphon), something very sophisticated.