Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome

Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome

by Brian Campbell


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Figuring in myth, religion, law, the military, commerce, and transportation, rivers were at the heart of Rome's increasing exploitation of the environment of the Mediterranean world. In Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome, Brian Campbell explores the role and influence of rivers and their surrounding landscape on the society and culture of the Roman Empire.

Examining artistic representations of rivers, related architecture, and the work of ancient geographers and topographers, as well as writers who describe rivers, Campbell reveals how Romans defined the geographical areas they conquered and how geography and natural surroundings related to their society and activities. In addition, he illuminates the prominence and value of rivers in the control and expansion of the Roman Empire—through the legal regulation of riverine activities, the exploitation of rivers in military tactics, and the use of rivers as routes of communication and movement. Campbell shows how a technological understanding of—and even mastery over—the forces of the river helped Rome rise to its central place in the ancient world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807834800
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 08/15/2012
Series: Studies in the History of Greece and Rome
Edition description: 1
Pages: 608
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Brian Campbell is professor of Roman history at Queen's University of Belfast.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

1 Rivers Past and Present 1

1 The Hydrological Cycle and River Dynamics 4

2 Changes in the Riverine Environment 9

3 The Watery Origins of Rome 13

4 The Geographical Setting 22

5 Problems and Approaches 30

2 Putting Rivers on the Map 45

1 Geographical Writing 46

2 Space, Measurement, and Location 53

3 Demarcating Provincial Boundaries 62

4 Riverine Identity and Cultural Affinity 64

5 Geographical Descriptions 70

6 Creating Maps 78

7 Conclusion: "The boon of a water supply" 81

3 Rivers, Lands, and Laws 83

1 Definitions 86

2 The Res Publica and Water Rights 90

3 Boundaries 98

4 Managing Disruption 100

5 Alluvial Activity and River Islands 109

6 Conclusion: Managing Rivers for the Community 116

4 Rivers in Literature, Religion, and Art 118

1 The Hydrological Cycle and Human Life 120

2 The Riverine Environment 122

3 Status, Character, and Identity 126

4 Divine Rivers and Springs 128

5 The Tiber 140

6 Riverine Legends 143

7 Art 150

8 Conclusion: "A steady column of sweet fluid" 159

5 Rivers, Armies, Fleets, and Frontiers 160

1 Military Tactics 161

2 Settlements and Military Bases 167

3 Military Supply 177

4 River Fleets of the Imperial Period 180

5 Frontiers 186

6 Conclusion: Rivers in the Service of Rome 197

6 Exploiting Rivers 200

1 Navigable Rivers: Characteristics and Problems 201

2 Ancient Writing on Navigable Rivers 203

3 Riverboats 208

4 Road and River Transport 215

5 Rivers, Roads, and Bridges 218

6 Regulating the Flow: Canals and Dams 219

7 The Riverine Environment: Water Mills, Irrigation, Drainage, and Wetlands 229

8 Aqueducts 235

9 Rome and the Distribution of Water 239

10 Conclusion: "A most gentle trader in all the earth's produce" 244

7 Movement of Goods by River (1): Spain, Gaul, the Rhine, and Britain 246

1 The Spanish Provinces 247

2 The Gallic Provinces 263

3 Along the Rhine 279

4 Britain 289

8 Movement of Goods by River (2): The Danube, Italy, and the East 291

1 The Danube and Its Environs 291

2 Italy: Arnus, Liris, Volturnus 300

3 Italy: The Padus and Cisalpina 302

4 Italy: The Tiber Valley 309

5 The Eastern Provinces 320

6 Conclusion: River Connections 328

9 Healing Waters: Rivers, Springs, Relaxation, and Health 330

1 Relaxing Waters 331

2 Boating, Swimming, and Fishing 332

3 Healing Waters and Aelius Aristides 337

4 Healing Waters: Vitruvius, Pliny, and Pausanias 338

5 Healing Waters: The Medical View 343

6 Healing Waters: The Popular View 344

7 Spas (Aquae): The Evidence 347

8 Types of Treatment 351

9 Spas, Routes, and Itineraries 355

10 Fashionable Spa Resorts 359

11 Management of Spas 366

12 Conclusion: "As long as a man is at the waters he is never dead" 367

10 Rome in Control of the Waters 369

1 Rivers as Symbols: Conquest 370

2 Rivers as Symbols: Cooperation 379

3 Reversal of Fortune 383

4 Epilogue: "The Romans always win" 385

Abbreviations 389

Appendix 1 Spas in the Roman World 393

Appendix 2 Navigable Rivers according to Ancient Authors 405

Notes 411

Bibliography 507

Index of Persons 559

Index of Places 567

General Index 581

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Using an impressive range of sources, Brian Campbell offers an original vision and understanding of a principal feature of the Roman world's landscape that has never been explored and analyzed as thoroughly before. Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome helps us to appreciate rivers from a great array of perspectives—cultural, religious, legal, economic, military, and more—for the first time.—John R. Patterson, Magdalene College, Cambridge, author of Landscapes and Cities: Rural Settlement and Civic Transformation in Early Imperial Italy

Customer Reviews