Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

6/1/2004 - 5/31/2005

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Floods in Ancient Rome

FAIN: FB-50032-04

Gregory S. Aldrete
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay (Green Bay, WI 54311-7003)

This project is a study of the frequent and destructive floods that plagued ancient Rome during the Roman Republic and Empire. It will analyze the obvious physical consequences produced by these events on the urban landscape, the effects that these natural disasters had on the course of Roman political and social history, and the psychological and sociological aspects of how such occurrences were perceived and interpreted by the Romans. Ancient Rome depended on water for the functioning of its economy and for its very survival, but at the same time the Tiber River could be a violent and unpredictable destructive force. This project is an interdisciplinary investigation combining history, archaeology, hydrology, geology, and urban and environmental studies, in order to examine how the largest pre-modern city dealt with the threat of natural disaster. The book that I plan to write will explore the nature of this conflict, and the complex interrelationship between humans and water that was played out amongst the urban topography of ancient Rome.

Associated Products

Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Book)
Title: Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome
Author: Gregory S. Aldrete
Abstract: Ancient Rome was perhaps the largest and most architecturally sophisticated western city until the Victorian era, but this impressive metropolis was frequently the victim of violent floods. The Tiber river could rise as much as 15 meters above normal water levels and left large sections of the city submerged for up to a week at a time. This book describes the history and characteristics of these floods, their short and long term effects on the city, how the Romans attempted to prevent or alleviate flooding, and the Romans' attitudes towards these inundations. Finally, it suggests some surprising ways in which ancient Rome was unusually well-suited to surviving the onslaught of these natural disasters.
Year: 2007
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Book page on publisher's website.
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: page
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-080188405