Using the byzantine water supply of Constantinople to examine modern concepts of sustainability

Kate Ward, Simon D. Smith, Martin Crapper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Constantinople, which grew out of the ancient settlement of Byzantium and is today the mega-city of Istanbul, was a great Roman city with a water supply to match which exceeded the achievements of its older Western counterpart, Rome. This water supply consisted of an aqueduct system of more than 560 km in length bringing water from the Thracian hinterland, and a network of more than 200 cisterns within the city itself. Construction of this monumental infrastructure commenced in the second century and supplied water to the city’s inhabitants for well over 1000 years. In this chapter we will consider this water infrastructure through more modern sustainability framings to understand its success, and to enable deep contextual understanding of the sustainability of the water supply of large urban populations. We present this both as a case study of sustainable urban water supplies and as a historical narrative.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Water Engineering
EditorsSusanne Charlesworth, Colin A. Booth, Kemi Adeyeye
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780128161203
ISBN (Print)9780128161203
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2020


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