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Analysis of the Origin of Plumbing

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Bloody confusion reigned until a group of Persian aristocrats put forward one of their own members, Darius Hystaspes, to bring order to the realm.

After securing order within the Persian ranks Darius then looked to the various subject peoples, many of whom were also in revolt. He brilliantly, relentlessly and ruthlessly forced them back under Persian dominion: Babylonians, Medes, Assyrians, Armenians, Lydians, Egyptians, etc. Then he set himself to the task of bring a peaceful order to the empire that the Western world had not seen prior to his days.

Having reestablished the Persian empire, he then proceeded to extend its boundaries eastward across Afghanistan and down into the Indus River valley, northward into Central Asia, and westward into southwestern Russia and the Balkans. At its height his empire included Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Phoenicia, the various states of Asia Minor (including Greek Ionia), Armenia, Assyria, Babylonia, Media, Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Western India, Sogdiana, Bactria and wide reaches of central Asia.

This whole apparatus was presided over by a vast bureaucracy of satraps or royal officials and by a royal army made up of Persians and Medes. There was also much local autonomy allowed in the governing of local life–even local military units dressed and armed in their traditional manner to serve the needs of the local order (these local military units could also be called into service as part of the imperial army–though these units were hardly reliable in times of distress). The whole system was held together by a council of Persian aristocrats and the unchangeable decrees of the emperor (unchangeable because they were considered the pronouncements of God).

But it was the Greeks who prove to be Cyrus’ undoing. When Greek Ionia (Western Turkey) revolted, aided by Sparta and Athens, he took the war across the Aegean to mainland Greece–only to be humiliated by defeat at Marathon (490 BC). He sadly retreated to Persia, prepared for another assault on Greece, but then weakened and died before he could undertake this second effort.

Leader of Carthage during the Second Punic War (220-201 BC) He captured the city of Saguntum, part of the Spanish protectorate of Rome, starting the war. He then crossed the Alps with 50,000 men, 9,000 cavalry and 37 war elephants in 218 BC and conquered northern Italy. He moved south through the Italian peninsula and in 216 defeated a Roman army sent out against him in at Cannae in southeastern Italy. However he was not able to bring Rome herself to submission.

For a while the war definitely looked as if it were going in Carthage’s favor, especially when Hiero of Syracuse (Sicily) died and his successor allied himself with the Carthaginians. But a Roman army sent against the Syracusans crushed the city.

At the same time (208) an army under the Roman general Publius Scipio landed in Spain and defeated the Carthaginian garrison posted there. Two years later Scipio defeated all Carthiginian forces in Spain, thus cutting off Hannibal’s land communications with Carthage.

Two years after that (204) the Romans invaded Africa and surrounded Carthage. This forced Hannibal in the following year to leave Italy and return by sea to protect Carthage. In 202 the Roman and Carthiginian armies met at the battle of Zamma just outside Carthage. Hannibal was defeated and with concluding of peace the following year (201), he was forced into exile. Also, Carthage was again forced to pay Rome an annual indemnity (a crushing sum of 10,000 talents), the bulk of Carthaginian fleet was lost and Carthage agreed to enter into no more wars without Roman approval.

Hannibal went into exile to Syria and then later in Bythinia. Eventually (in either 183 or 182 BC) Hannibal committed suicide rather than allow himself to be captured by the Romans.

273-337. Constantine was a Roman Emperor ruling jointly with Licinius from 311 to 324 and solely thereafter until his death in 336.

We remember him most importantly for his conversion to Christianity in 312, which opened the way for the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of Rome, and for his establishing in 330 a new Roman capital in the East at Byzantium, just across from Asia Minor.

He was originally a worshipper of the Unconquered Sun, a widely popular religion in that time. Interestingly, even as Constantine came to honor Christ, he retained loyalty to this god, even establishing the first day of the week as the holy day: “Sun” day.

His conversion to Christianity came in 312 at the Battle of Milvian Bridge–through a series of miracles and vows which brought him to faith in Jesus Christ.

Within six months of his conversion he was asked by the Donatists in North Africa to intervene in their dispute with “apostate” bishops (ones who had at one point denied their faith under the pressure of persecution) whose authority the Donatists no longer recognized. Constantine did intervene–but found in favor of the restored bishops against the Donatists, and ordered the Donatists to submit to the authority of these bishops.

He went from there to become increasingly active in imposing “order” on his new church–seeing this as his imperial duty to God (as always had been the understanding of the Emperor’s responsibility to the empire: that is, to be the “defender of the faith”).

He was responsible for calling the Council of Nicea (325) to decide the dispute between Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria and his presbyter, Arius–who had come to espouse a monarchian or “unitarian” position. The Council itself decided in favor of Alexander–and outlined the basics of the “Nicene Creed,” which stood at the heart of “Trinitarian” Catholic doctrine.

Though Constantine stood firmly behind the Council and its decision, he himself remained quite tolerant of the unitarian Arians–who were widely popular in the East (where the Nicene “Trinitarian” decision itself was unpopular). Rumors were that he himself had Arian sympathies–but kept them to himself in order to preserve the religious unity of his domain.

The Romans took pride in their appearance and deeply cared about personal hygiene. Going to the baths was a daily activity and much more like going to a country club than actually cleaning oneself. One bath in Pompeii was nearly one mile in circumference. Baths had athletic games, libraries, and vending areas, not to mention 3 pools: one warm, one hot, and one cold for the full bathing experience. Baths were built around naturally occurring hot springs. If no spring existed, a hypocaust, a furnace that circulated air under the raised floor through ducts and vents in the walls, heated the air and pool (Cook). Silver faucets adorned the public baths (“The History of Plumbing). Not everyone went to the public baths however; the wealthy houses had bathrooms with water filling the entire floor through ducts and vents in the walls. Often, personal baths had a plug in order for the wealthy owner to obtain fresh water for his bath (“The History of Plumbing).

Ancient Roman plumbers invented the first flush toilet (Cook). The water flushed, emptied into a vaulted sewer in a neighboring street. Sewage was flushed into Cloaca Maxima, built in the second century BC, the most magnificent sewer that dumped into the river. The Ancient Roman Empire was the home of both public and private latrines. The volcanic eruption in 79 AD that preserved Pompeii preserved the public latrine, a room lined with toilets along each wall. In private homes, the latrine laid approximately 4 feet from the kitchen in order for both scraps and excrete to be easily disposed. Often times, the women used this restroom while the men went outside (“The History of Plumbing). Water flew into private homes via a nozzle. Homeowners paid for the water based on the size of the nozzle. Engineers installed a ball float at the reservoir where the pipe was attached hence assuring a somewhat steady flow into homes. The engineers documented the pipes with names and addresses so as to prevent freeloaders. The elliptical shaped pipes used in sewers and toilets were formed by engineers by pouring molten lead into various sheets of thickness and dimension and allowed to cool. The engineers then proceeded to shape the sheets around a core of wood, leaving a v-shaped opening where the ends met. Finally, the engineers fashioned a sand or clay mold around the channel and poured the lead into the opening, thus forming the pipe (“The History of Plumbing).

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