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Sextus Iulius Frontinus – soldier and governor

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Roman water pipes with an inscription confirming that it was created during the reign of Vespasian (69-79 CE). The object was found in Chester (England)
Roman water pipes with an inscription confirming that it was created during the reign of Vespasian (69-79 CE). The object was found in Chester (England). | Photo: Wolfgang Sauber | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Sextus Iulius Frontinus was a Roman soldier, politician (praetor, consul), governor of Britain in 74-78 CE, curator of aqueducts (curator aquarum) in Rome and writer. He lived in the years around 35-103 CE.

His name has survived to our times especially because of the work De aquis urbis Romae (“Concerning the Waters of the City of Rome”). The work was probably written during the office of the administrator of aqueducts, i.e. around 97 CE. Frontinus describes in great detail the technical aspects of water supply construction, their repair and improvement. In two books we can find legal issues in relation to aqueducts, descriptions of nine Roman aqueducts that existed at the end of the 1st century CE. Moreover, the author describes the water distribution system around the city, as well as the illegal abstraction of water from the water supply, and how to combat this practice.

Frontinus was valued among his contemporaries; its good reputation and military experience were emphasized. His other work – about military – (De re militari) has survived only in fragments – Strategemata, but it is still very much interesting. In his treatise, Frontyn showed tactics and strategies that were used in Greek and Roman history.

  • Murray K. Dahm, The Career and Writings of Sextus Julius Frontinus

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