Posts Tagged ‘Segovia Aqueduct#8217;

15
Oct

The Segovia Aqueduct

Written on October 15, 2009 by Felicia Appenteng in Arts & Cultures & Societies

Rolf Strom-Olsen

Last Saturday, some IE students and I enjoyed a visit to the Aqueduct in Segovia, which entailed a brief, if brisk, walk up from campus. It is generally true that once we live under the shadow of a monument – be it the Eiffel Tower, St Paul's Cathedral or Graceland – its significance and power to move or impress us is diminished. Somehow though, the towering arches of the Segovia Aqueduct remain immune to this kind of indifference to the everyday.

The extraordinary 1st Century Aqueduct that runs through the base of Segovia is not only the most prominent feature of the local landscape, it is one of the most prominent features of the Spanish monumental landscape in general. For almost two millennia, the aqueduct has served as a lapidary statement of the power, prosperity and technical accomplishment of the Roman Empire that spawned its creation. Built of unmortared granite blocks, the grandeur of its soaring arches is reinforced by the elegant simplicity of its arched geometric design.

The Segovian aqueduct was finished in all probability under the reign of Trajan, the first Spanish-born Emperor of Rome. It conducted fresh water from the nearby River Frío to the city, which was situated at a crossroads between two Roman roads that extended North to Simancas (Septimanca, near Valladolid), and south-east. As a result, the aqueduct was situated at a spot where North-South and East-West trading routes converged.   

 

A recent suggestion by Juan Francisco Blanca García is, in this light, rather intriguing. García observed that the city probably had a more-than-sufficient freshwater supply for the local population. The construction of the aqueduct was, in his view, less about the immediate necessity of ensuring potable drinking water than it was about the establishment of "the Roman style and the reinforcement of Segovia as an administrative center and a source of "Romanness" for the surrounding territory.


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