The enormous mortal population of Rome requires an equally enormous water supply, for drinking, washing and the many bathhouses. This water is brought into the city by the aqueducts, collectively the most impressive feat of engineering in the city. The first, the Aqua Appia, was constructed in 312 BCE, and further major aqueducts were added until the second century. Since then, most of the work has gone into maintenance of the vital system. This maintenance is not completely effective; one arch, of the Aqua Marcia where it crosses the Appian Way, is known as the “dripping arch (arcus stillans).”

Some of the aqueducts, such as the Aqua Appia and the Anio Vetus, run almost entirely underground, but most, including the Aqua Marcia, the Aqua Iulia, the Aqua Virgo, the Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Traiani, carry the water in covered channels carried across the city on high arches. The aqueducts end in tall tanks, called castella, from which the water is distributed in lead pipes.

The water channels in all of the aqueducts are fully enclosed, to stop things falling into the supply, and many of the aqueducts are tens of miles long, bringing water from springs far beyond the walls of the city. The aqueducts are not, however, generally regarded as a security risk, because they are full of water, which, in most cases, is flowing quite quickly.

The aqueducts are monitored, however, because historically there have been many problems with people tapping into the aqueducts and stealing the water. If someone were to break one of the main aqueducts, such as the Aqua Marcia, it would be a disaster, not only due to the flooding but due to the loss of water. People climbing on the aqueducts, especially at night, stand a fair chance of being spotted and challenged by patrols.

This does not, of course, apply to anyone hidden inside the water channel, and Kindred do sometimes make use of these hidden routes into and out of the city.


Blood of Rome Darkfool