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Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome (Ancient Society and History) Hardcover – January 30, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Society and History
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801884055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801884054
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,730,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Raises important questions about the effects of flooding of the Tiber on the city of ancient Rome and its inhabitants and explores why Romans did not take more sweeping steps to reduce, if not eliminate, the dangers of urban flooding. There is no comparable book-length study of this topic, so this work fills a real need. It will be of interest not only to students of ancient history, but to hydrologists and students of urban studies as well. Certainly it will give us classicists much to think about in our assessment of urban life in ancient Rome.

(Harry B. Evans, Fordham University, author of Aqueduct Hunting in the Seventeenth Century)

A comprehensive, insightful and lucid book-length study on a topic of great importance.

(Eric Kondratieff Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome is that rare thing in scholarship, a work that genuinely fills a gap in the scholarly literature. Professor Aldrete has brilliantly illuminated an aspect of ancient Rome that was ever present to the city's inhabitants but almost invisible to modern historians.

(Stanley Burstein History Teacher)

Thoughtful study.

(Dennis E. Trout American Historical Review)

A noble attempt to bring interdisciplinary evidence from outside classical sources to bear on a long-standing problem of Roman history and archaeology.

(James C. Anderson, Jr. Journal of Interdisciplinary History)

A meticulously researched, well-written, and thoroughly referenced study of a little known aspect of Rome's history.

(Brian Fagan Historian)

About the Author

Gregory S. Aldrete is a professor of history and humanistic studies at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay and author of Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome, also published by Johns Hopkins.

More About the Author

For more information on my background and activities, please see my website: https://www.uwgb.edu/aldreteg/

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Vitols on January 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This high-priced but serviceable volume brings a modern knowledge of hydrology and the effects of civic floods to what is known about floods in ancient Rome.

While it is known that ancient Rome experienced a number of floods when the Tiber River overran its banks, Mr. Aldrete makes a good case that it was a much more frequent occurrence than is usually thought: a minor flood once every five or six years, and a major one every 28 years or so. The phenomenon of recurring floods was a more important factor in Roman life than has been assumed. This in itself is a significant contribution to ancient history and a reason for Rome scholars to read this book.

For the student of flooding in Rome, the author has brought together all the most useful materials in one place: the extant ancient references to Tiber floods; a detailed discussion of the topography of Rome and its vulnerability to flooding; a discussion of both the immediate and longer-term effects of floods; and a discussion of the Romans' attitudes and responses to the issue. It's all well organized and illuminating. For me the highlight was a series of topographic maps the author prepared showing exactly what parts of the city would have been inundated by floods of different severity. Cool!

By bringing modern knowledge of hydrology and disaster response, the author is able to make the impact of Roman floods more vivid than the few sparse accounts in the sources.

Mr. Aldrete spends some time tussling with the question of why the Romans, with their wealth and engineering nous, did not do more to prevent the flooding of their capital, but he does not come up with anything very definite.
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