The sewers of Rome and the greatness of the Empire

Years ago, I was visiting the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus, in modern Turkey. Our local guide was quite good at pointing out detains and interesting anecdotes. Ephesus was a great city, and had a very good sewer system, as all Roman cities of that time. The guide explained that when there were heavy rain storms in the area, the sewers of the modern town of Kusadasi, a few miles away, overflowed, while those of the ancient city were still perfectly functional.

This morning, I found out a story about Herculaneum’s sewers, and the way Romans were using them and maintaining them. It made me realize quite intensely  that Romans’ greatness wasn’t only in their administration, but also their organization of the daily life in the whole Empire. Those familiar with Roman history might remember “Cloaca Maxima,” the great sewer of Rome (the History Blog also have quite an documented article on it here)

Maybe Roman sewers could be a very interesting setting for a past story. Or a present one … who knows ?

(Photo from