Handbook of Ancient Water Technology

By Örjan Wikander | Go to book overview

VI.1
FOUNTAINS AND NYMPHAEA

Franz Glaser

Fountain constructions are inseparably connected to settlements and the needs or demands of men. They served to make accessible, safeguard and distribute the available water. Beyond the mere utilitarian building, fountain structures, especially nymphaea, could, in a propagandistic way, reflect political interests. Such monumental fountain structures were not infrequently connected with the names of influential individuals or rulers.

The size of the fountain for public water drawing was dependent on the number of people who would use it. In the Archaic and Classical periods, large fountain houses were situated in the central square of a city, while from the Hellenistic period, with the growing consolidation of aqueducts, the quantity of fountains in general increased, but their dimensions became smaller. Of course many fountain houses maintained their own water supply, which was also reflected in the installation of baths. Fountains were now also realized in communal building projects, such as theaters, odeia, gymnasia, stoas, stadia, or later in baths. In the private sphere, especially in the palaces and villas of the Roman period, fountain structures became constituents in the construction of gardens and courtyards. The importance of the fountain for supplying essential drinking water diminished and water with its various qualities formed a crucial part of garden design (see below, pp. 453–66).

The fact that water represented a basic necessity for life in a settlement was often accounted for in myth. For example, sometimes the city-hero would be considered to be the finder of a water source, and in Homer local heroes are named as the first builders of fountains. The Greeks designated all types of man-made structures where water could be drawn as kréne, in contrast to a natural spring (pegé).

In the following discussion only those fountains which in some way preserve an architectural form shall be discussed. As a result, the shaft-wells, which mainly supplied water for private use and at best were only furnished with a winch to draw the water, are eliminated (see Hodge, above, pp. 29–33). Aside from the fact that we

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Handbook of Ancient Water Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • I. Water-Supply 1
  • I.1 - Geological Background, Climate, Water Resources 3
  • I.2 - Collection of Water 21
  • I.3 - Wells 29
  • I.4 - Qanats 35
  • I.5 - Aqueducts 39
  • I.6 Engineering Works 67
  • I.7 Purity of Water 95
  • Ii. Urban Use 101
  • Ii.1 - Urban Water Transport and Distribution 103
  • Ii.2 - Industrial Uses of Water* 127
  • Ii.3 - Drainage and Sanitation* 151
  • Iii. Irrigation and Rural Drainage 181
  • Iii.1 - Irrigation 183
  • Iii.2 - Water-Lifting 217
  • Iii.3 - Land Drainage 303
  • Iv. Larger Hydraulic Infringements on Nature 319
  • Iv.1 - Canals 321
  • Iv.2 - Reservoirs and Dams 331
  • V. Water-Power 341
  • V.1 - Theoretical Hydraulics, Automata, and Water Clocks 343
  • V.2 - The Water-Mill 371
  • V.3 - Industrial Applications of Water-Power 401
  • Vi. Water as an Aesthetic and Recreational Element 411
  • Vi.1 - Fountains and Nymphaea 413
  • Vi.2 - Water Landscaping 453
  • Vi.3 - The Water Management of Greek and Roman Baths 467
  • Vii. Water Legislation in the Ancient World (C. 2200 B.C.–c. A.D. 500) 537
  • Vii.1 - Mesopotamia, the Hittites and the Arabian Peninsula 539
  • Vii.2 - Egypt 551
  • Vii.3 - The Greek World 557
  • Vii.4 - The Roman World 575
  • Viii. Historical Context. the Socio-Economic Background and Effects 605
  • Viii.1 - The Neolithic and Bronze Ages 607
  • Viii.2 - The Iron Age, and the Archaic and Classical Periods 617
  • Viii.3 - The Hellenistic Period 631
  • Viii.4 - The Roman Empire 649
  • References 661
  • Indices 703
  • 2. Index of Personal Names 713
  • 3. Geographical Index 718
  • 4. Subject Index 735
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