Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Abby Semple

Government by contract: Who prods the procurers?

When Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus commissioned the city’s first aqueduct in 312 BC, he started a network which would grow to some 500 kilometres and sustain a population of one million. There is no record of the contract awarded, but it likely specified that the Aqua Appia be built mostly underground to protect it from contamination and sabotage. It was kept in use for over 250 years, undergoing various renovations and expansions.

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