Vitruvius was a successful architect and engineer who worked in Rome during the 1st century AD. In his book On Architecture, Vitruvius explains Roman ideas on town-planning, building methods, public health and water supplies.

Primary Sources

(1) Vitruvius, On Architecture (c. AD 10)

Our predecessors, wisely handed down their ideas so they should not perish. Published in book form, they... provide an accurate body of knowledge... If they had not done so, we would not have known about history... and the rest.

(2) Vitruvius, On Architecture (c. AD 10)

Three bronze tanks are to be placed above the furnace: one for the hot bath, a second for the tepid bath, a third for the cold bath. They are to be so arranged that the hot water which flows from the tepid bath into the hot bath, may be replaced by a like amount of water flowing down from the cold into the tepid bath.

(3) Vitruvius, On Architecture (c. AD 10)

Before we begin to lay the water on, we study the bodies of those who live in the neighbourhood. If they are strong, of clear complexion, free from inflamed eyes, the water will pass... Water is much more wholesome from earthenware pipes than from lead pipes. For it seems that lead is harmful to the human body. For example, workers in lead have poor complexions.