Via Appia

Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἡ φύσις τῆς χώρας παρέχεται τὰ εὐτυχήματα τῇ πόλει, προσέθεσαν δὲ Ῥωμαῖοι καὶ τὰ ἐκ τῆς προνοίας. τῶν γὰρ Ἑλλήνων περὶ τὰς κτίσεις εὐστοχῆσαι μάλιστα δοξάντων, ὅτι κάλλους ἐστοχάζοντο καὶ ἐρυμνότητος καὶ λιμένων καὶ χώρας εὐφυοῦς, οὗτοι προὐνόησαν μάλιστα ὧν ὠλιγώρησαν ἐκεῖνοι, στρώσεως ὁδῶν καὶ ὑδάτων εἰσαγωγῆς καὶ ὑπονόμων τῶν δυναμένων ἐκκλύζειν τὰ λύματα τῆς πόλεως εἰς τὸν Τίβεριν. ἔστρωσαν δὲ καὶ τὰς κατὰ τὴν χώραν ὁδούς, προσθέντες ἐκκοπάς τε λόφων καὶ ἐγχώσεις κοιλάδων, ὥστε τὰς ἁρμαμάξας δέχεσθαι πορθμείων φορτία· οἱ δ᾽ ὑπόνομοι συννόμῳ λίθῳ κατακαμφθέντες ὁδοὺς ἁμάξαις χόρτου πορευτὰς ἐνίας ἀπολελοίπασι. τοσοῦτον δ’ ἐστὶ τὸ εἰσαγώγιμον ὕδωρ διὰ τῶν ὑδραγωγίων, ὥστε ποταμοὺς διὰ τῆς πόλεως καὶ τῶν ὑπονόμων ῥεῖν, ἅπασαν δὲ οἰκίαν σχεδὸν δεξαμενὰς καὶ σίφωνας καὶ κρουνοὺς ἔχειν ἀφθόνους, ὧν πλείστην ἐπιμέλειαν ἐποιήσατο Μάρκος Ἀγρίππας, πολλοῖς καὶ ἄλλοις ἀναθήμασι κοσμήσας τὴν πόλιν. ὡς δ’ εἰπεῖν, οἱ παλαιοὶ μὲν τοῦ κάλλους τῆς Ῥώμης ὠλιγώρουν, πρὸς ἄλλοις μείζοσι καὶ ἀναγκαιοτέροις ὄντες· οἱ δ’ ὕστερον καὶ μάλιστα οἱ νῦν καὶ καθ’ ἡμᾶς οὐδὲ τούτου καθυστέρησαν, ἀλλ’ ἀναθημάτων πολλῶν καὶ καλῶν ἐπλήρωσαν τὴν πόλιν.
(Strabo, Geogr. 5.3.8)

So much, then, for the blessings with which nature supplies the city; but the Romans have added still others, which are the result of their foresight; for if the Greeks had the repute of aiming most happily in the founding of cities, in that they aimed at beauty, strength of position, harbours, and productive soil, the Romans had the best foresight in those matters which the Greeks made but little account of, such as the construction of roads and aqueducts, and of sewers that could wash out the filth of the city into the Tiber. Moreover, they have so constructed also the roads which run throughout the country, by adding both cuts through hills and embankments across valleys, that their wagons can carry boat-loads; and the sewers, vaulted with close-fitting stones, have in some places left room enough for wagons loaded with hay to pass through them. And water is brought into the city through the aqueducts in such quantities that veritable rivers flow through the city and the sewers; and almost every house has cisterns, and service-pipes, and copious fountains—with which Marcus Agrippa concerned himself most, though he also adorned the city with many other structures. In a word, the early Romans made but little account of the beauty of Rome, because they were occupied with other, greater and more necessary, matters; whereas the later Romans, and particularly those of to‑day and in my time, have not fallen short in this respect either—indeed, they have filled the city with many beautiful structures. (tr. Horace Leonard Jones)

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