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Roman legionnaires were purgatory

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Drainage channels in the Flavian baths of the 1st Italian legio
Drainage channels in the Flavian baths of the 1st Italian legio. Photo J. Recław

Even when serving in provinces remote from Rome, Roman legionaries took great care of their toilets. This is evidenced by the discoveries of Polish archaeologists from 2015 in the Novae legion camp (currently in Bulgaria), where from 69 CE the 1st Italian Legio was stationed.

“The Roman army attached great importance to ensuring constant access to water as the most important of the basic necessities. Access to water was a necessary condition when choosing a place for the camp. It was similar in the case of Novae” – said Dr Martin Lemke from the Center for Research on Antiquities of Europe Southeast of the University of Warsaw.

Along with the construction of the castrum, i.e. the fortified camp, the architects commissioned the construction of aqueducts that supplied water. Efforts were made to take advantage of the natural conditions of the terrain by running the water pipe along the valley slope, avoiding obstacles. However, for security reasons, the camp could not be built to cover part of the stream. The ancients took great care that the water supplied was of good quality.


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