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Aqueduct hunting has been a favorite pastime for visitors to Rome since antiquity, although serious study of how the Eternal City obtained its water did not begin until the seventeenth century. It was Raffaello Fabretti (1619-1700), the well-known Italian antiquarian and epigrapher, who began the first systematic research of the Roman aqueduct system.
Fabretti's treatise De aquis et aquaeductibus veteris Romae dissertationes tres is cited as a matter of course by all later scholars working in the area of Roman topography. Its findings, while updated and supplemented by more recent archaeological efforts, have never been fully superseded. Yet despite its enormous importance and impact on scholarly efforts, the De aquis has never been translated from the original Latin. Aqueduct Hunting in the Seventeenth Century provides a full translation of and commentary on Fabretti's treatise, making it accessible to a broad audience and carefully assessing its scholarly contributions.
In addition to the complete translation and commentary, focusing primarily on the topographical problems and Fabretti's contribution to our understanding of them, Harry B. Evans offers the reader an introduction to Fabretti and his scholarly world. Evans assesses the contributions and corrections of later archaeologists and topographers, and places the De aquis in the history of aqueduct studies.
Evans demonstrates that Fabretti's conclusions, while far from definitive, are indeed significant and merit wider attention than they have received to date. This book will appeal to classicists and classical archaeologists; ancient historians; and readers interested in the history of technology, archaeology, and Rome and Italy in the seventeenth century.
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