The following summary of  an article entitled "Water Supply to The House of the Painted Capitals"  by Frank Sear in Jean-Paul Descoeudres' Pompeii Revisted (Meditarch) was summarized by Brad Mandeville and Nicole Housman, students enrolled in Prof. Tom Sienkewicz' Ancient Societies class at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1997. If you have any questions or comments, you may contact him at

Water Supply to The House of the Painted Capital

Before the idea of running water became reality within the Roman household, the homeowners were most likely dependent upon a 69,000 liter cistern filled with rainwater, that proved to be insufficient during dry periods. However, with the application of running water in the Roman household, life was made much easier.

There was a specific process in which running water made its way to the ancient Roman household.

The main aqueduct which received water from some main source, (a lake, ocean, etc.), discharged water into a kind of large pipe called the "castellum aquae" which was stationed at a high point on the north edge of the city. From here, water ran into three large sealed pipes which ran under the footpaths of the city. Each of the three pipes had smaller pipes which branched off of them, and supplied water to various water towers. From the various water towers, an elaborate system of piping distributed the water to houses in that vicinity.

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