Roman Structures > Roman Canals

Roman Canals

This is a list of Roman canals. Roman canals were typically multi-purpose structures, intended for irrigation, drainage, land reclamation, flood control and navigation where feasible. This list focuses on the larger canals, particularly navigational canals, as recorded by ancient geographers and still traceable by modern archaeology. Channels which served the needs of urban water supply are covered at the List of aqueducts in the Roman Empire.Greek engineers were the first to use canal locks, by which they regulated the water flow in the Ancient Suez Canal as early as the 3rd century BC.[1][2][3] The Romans under Trajan too secured the entrance to the Red Sea with sluice gates, while they extended the canal south to the height of modern Cairo in order to improve its water inflow.[4] The existence of ancient pound locks to bridge height gaps has been proposed by a number of authors,[2][5][6] but in the absence of clear archaeological evidence the question seems to be permanently undecided.[7]Contents [hide]1Canals1.1Italy1.2Gaul1.3Germania1.4Britain1.5Egypt1.6Moesia2Projected canals3See also4References5Sources6Further reading7External linksCanals[edit]By chronological order:Italy[edit]Construction dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.2nd century BCSouth of line Modena–ParmaDrainageBuilt by Marcus Aemilius Scaurus to drain lower Po area[8]2nd century BCBologna, Piacenza and Cremona areasDrainageBuilt by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus to drain lower Po area[8]1st century BCForum Appii–TerracinaDrainageFor dewatering Pomptine Marshes; navigated when Via Appia unusable by mule-towing[8][9][10]Late 1st century BCFerrara–PaduaInland to coastBuilt by Augustus to link Ravenna and Po estuary (Fossa Augusta)[8]Before late 1st century ADFossa Flavia, Fossa Carbonaria, Fossa Philistina, Fossa ClodiaDrainageAccording to Pliny the Elder for draining Po estuary; erosion and siltation renders modern identification impossible[8][9]Gaul[edit]Construction dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.101 BCRhone–Fos-sur-Mer (Fossa Mariana)Inland to coastBuilt by Marius across Crau plain for supplying his positions around Arles in his campaign against Teutons[8][9][10] ?Narbonne–River AudeInland to coastMade Narbonne accessible from Mediterranean; 13 km long[8]Germania[edit]Construction dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.12 BCRhine–Yssel (Fossa Drusiana)Inland to coastFor quick deployment of troops to the Frisian coast, avoiding the dangerous passage on the North Sea off the mouth of the Rhine; 14 km long[8][9][10]c. 9 BCRhine dykeInlandBuilt by Drusus the Elder to retain sufficient water to navigate his Fossa Drusiana; demolished by revolting Civilis in 70 AD[8]47 ADRhine–Meuse (Fossa Corbulonis)InlandAllowed to navigate both rivers without sailing into North Sea; c. 35 km long[8][10]Britain[edit]Construction dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.c. 1st century ADRiver Cam–River Ouse (Car Dyke)DrainageLand reclamation in Fenland; also navigated[8] ?River Ouse–River NeneDrainage[8] ?River Nene–River Witham ?[8] ?River Witham–River Trent ?Foss Dyke still in use[8] ?Bourne-Morton CanalNavigation[11]Egypt[edit]Construction dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.No later than 112 ADNile–Red Sea (Ancient Suez Canal)Inland to coastAs the older Ptolemaic channel, which was the first to use locks,[12] Trajan's canal linked Mediterranean and Red Sea not directly, but via the Nile. Unlike the Greek channel, though, which branched off the Pelusiac arm, the Roman canal started off the main branch of the Nile at Babylon, 60 km to the south. It joined the Ptolemaic dyke at Belbeis, eventually discharging into the Gulf of Suez at Arsinoe.[13]Moesia[edit]Construction dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.101 ADDanube bypass canalInlandTo safely negotiate the cataracts of the Iron Gate; once traceable on Serbian bank (Sip) on a length of 3,220 m[14][15]2nd–6th century ADDanube bypass canalInlandAccording to Procopius for allowing the safe passage past the remains of Trajan's Bridge which obstructed river navigation; dug on Serbian side (Kladovo)[16]Projected canals[edit]In the following, Roman canal projects which were never completed for various reasons are listed.Planning dateConnectionCanal typeCommentRefs.c. 54–68 ADRome–OstiaInland to coastPlanned by Nero[8]c. 54–68 ADPuteoli–OstiaInland to coastStarting from Lake Avernus near Puteoli, it was intended by Nero to run parallel to Mediterranean; length upon completion would have been 160 Roman miles[8]c. 54–68 ADIsthmus of Corinth (modern Corinth Canal)Coast to coastTo avoid long and dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula; several abandoned building projects in antiquity aimed at replacing Diolkos trackway; serious work begun by Nero, but aborted after his death[8][9][10]55 ADSaône–Moselle (modern Canal de l'Est)InlandAnother ambitious project: would have connected Mediterranean Sea with North Sea via Rhone, Saône, Moselle and Rhine; presupposes capacity to construct pound locks though, for which there is as yet no certain evidence; yet, plan finally dropped not due to technological reasons, but political intrigues[8][9][10]111 ADLake Sapanca–Sea of MarmaraInland to coastFor facilitating transfer of inland produce to seaside; subject of correspondence between governor Pliny the Younger and emperor Trajan; would have required to overcome difference in height of 32 m[8][9][10][17]See also[edit]Record-holding canals in antiquityReferences[edit]Jump up ^ Moore 1950, pp. 99–101^ Jump up to: a b Froriep 1986, p. 46Jump up ^ Schörner 2000, pp. 33–35Jump up ^ Schörner 2000, pp. 36Jump up ^ Moore 1950, pp. 98ff.Jump up ^ Schörner 2000, pp. 39Jump up ^ Wikander 2000, p. 326^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s White 1984, pp. 227–229, table 6^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g Wikander 2000, pp. 328–330^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g Grewe 2008, pp. 333–336Jump up ^ D.Trimble (1993), Excavation of a section of the Bourne-Morton canal in Morton Fen., Annual Report, Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, pp. 29, 30Jump up ^ Schörner 2000, pp. 33f.Jump up ^ Schörner 2000, pp. 36f.Jump up ^ Tudor 1974, p. 38Jump up ^ Serban 2009, p. 333Jump up ^ Tudor 1974, pp. 68f., 80Jump up ^ Froriep 1986, pp. 39–50Sources[edit]Froriep, Siegfried (1986): "Ein Wasserweg in Bithynien. Bemühungen der Römer, Byzantiner und Osmanen", Antike Welt, 2nd Special Edition, pp. 39–50Grewe, Klaus (2008): "Tunnels and Canals", in: Oleson, John Peter (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World, Oxford University Press, pp. 319–336, ISBN 978-0-19-518731-1Moore, Frank Gardner (1950): "Three Canal Projects, Roman and Byzantine", American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 97–111Schörner, Hadwiga (2000): "Künstliche Schiffahrtskanäle in der Antike. Der sogenannte antike Suez-Kanal", Skyllis, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 28–43Serban, Marko (2009): "Trajan’s Bridge over the Danube", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 331–342Tudor, D. (1974): Les ponts romains du Bas-Danube, Bibliotheca Historica Romaniae Études, Vol. 51, Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, pp. 47–134White, K. D. (1984): Greek and Roman Technology, London: Thames and Hudson, pp. 110–112; 227–229, table 6Wikander, Charlotte (2000): "Canals", in Wikander, Örjan (ed.): Handbook of Ancient Water Technology, Technology and Change in History, Vol. 2, Leiden: Brill, pp. 321–330, ISBN 90-04-11123-9Further reading[edit]Redmount, Carol A. (1995): "The Wadi Tumilat and the 'Canal of the Pharaohs'", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 127–135Smith, N.A.F. (1977/78): "Roman Canals", Transactions of the Newcomen Society, Vol. 49, pp. 75–86External links[edit]Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roman Fossa Fossa 'Biggest Canal Ever Built by Romans' Discovered

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