aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Archive for the ‘Frontinus’ Category

Frontinus, On the Water-Supply of the City of Rome 1.11

leave a comment »

quae ratio moverit Augustum, providentissimum principem, perducendi Alsietinam aquam, quae vocatur Augusta, non satis perspicio, nullius gratiae, immo etiam parum salubrem ideoque nusquam in usus populi fluentem; nisi forte cum opus Naumachiae adgrederetur, ne quid salubrioribus aquis detraheret, hanc proprio opere perduxit et quod Naumachiae coeperat superesse, hortis adiacentibus et privatorum usibus ad inrigandum concessit.

What the reason was which prompted Augustus, a most prudent ruler, to bring in a water-supply from Alsium (which is known as the ‘Augustan’ water-supply), I cannot fully ascertain; there is nothing good about it, and in fact it is all too unwholesome, for which reason it nowhere runs for the use of the general population. The reason could perhaps have been that when Augustus set about the construction of his Naumachia, he brought in this water in its own conduit, so that he would not be drawing water away from the more wholesome water-supplies – and because there then began to be more water than was needed for the Naumachia, he allowed it to be used in the neighbouring gardens and by private citizens for the purpose of irrigation.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Frontinus

Frontinus, Stratagems 1.12.2

leave a comment »

From a section on how to improve morale among your troops if they observe a bad omen.

C. Caesar, cum forte conscendens navem lapsus esset, ‘teneo te, terra mater,’ inquit. qua interpretatione effecit, ut repetiturus illas a quibus proficiscebatur terras videretur.

When Gaius Caesar had happened to slip as he was embarking on his ship, he said, ‘I hold you, mother earth!’ By this explanation he brought it about that it seemed he was going to return to those lands from which he was setting out.

Suetonius (The Divine Julius 59) has a different (and slightly better) version of the same story – or perhaps Caesar used the same tactic more than once!

prolapsus etiam in egressu navis, verso ad melius omine, ‘teneo te,’ inquit, ‘Africa.’

When he fell over as he was disembarking from his ship, he turned the omen to the better by saying ‘I hold you, Africa.’

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Frontinus, Suetonius

Frontinus, On the Aqueducts of the City of Rome 1.16

leave a comment »

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!

Written by aleatorclassicus

July 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Frontinus