Frontinus, On the Aqueducts of the City of Rome 1.16
A very short passage today from Frontinus’ technical work on the construction of aqueducts. But it beautifully epitomises the ‘Greeks versus Romans’ debate we all know and love from Stage 10 of the Cambridge Latin Course, and gets in a dig at the Egyptians as well! After listing the impressive vital statistics of the New Anio aqueduct, Frontinus writes as follows:
tot aquarum tam multis necessariis molibus pyramidas videlicet otiosas compares, aut cetera inertia sed fama celebrata opera Graecorum!
With so many essential structures carrying so much water compare the Pyramids, which are plainly useless, or else the works, which are inactive but are celebrated by public opinion, of the Greeks!