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The Roman aqueduct of Philippi
Author: Anastasios Oulkeroglou†, Stratis Papadopoulos and Ioanna Giamali. DOI: 10.32028/9781789693775-10.ISBN 9781789693775-10.

Colonia Iulia victrix Philippiensium was founded by Mark Antony after the battle of Philippi in 42 BC and was re-founded by Octavian as colonia Iulia Philippiensis, then Augusta, after the naval battle in Actium in 31 BC. Philippi was one of the most important stations along the Egnatia Road. During the Antonine period, in the second half of the 2nd c. AD, the city’s center was reconstructed in its most monumental form. The aqueduct for the water supply of the city has been dated to the same period.3 It is an open-channel aqueduct with a barrel vaulted cover that collected water from the Kefalari area (karstic springs of Voirani), about seven kilometers north-northwest of Philippi.

The ancient aqueduct was constructed inside a trench which followed the natural slopes of the ground,4 as its fragmentary remains confirm. The water was flowing by gravity from the water source to the city. The conduit is a specus, rectangular in cross-section, which has an arched covering. Τhe arch was raised 0.40 m from the side walls in a way to form a uniform flat ridge, a ‘shoulder’ 0.15–0.20 m wide, on both long sides. The duct is made of raw stones and thick mortar and its floor is paved with clay slabs. The inner side walls and the floor were waterproofed so as to prevent leakages. They are covered as the beginning of the semi-cylindrical roof with a thick layer of limestone mortar / plaster, on which a thinner coating of hydraulic mortar (a mixture of quicklime and crushed brick) is spread for both sealing and smoothing of the surface. The barrel vault is also made of stones and mortar.

Most of the aqueduct throughout its course was underground. Possibly its arched roofing was visible, especially at the spots where the manholes or inspection shafts / putei5 were built. These shafts aimed at the regular maintenance, cleaning and the ventilation of the duct. The aqueduct appears above ground when it reaches the city through its northern walls. The following architectural remains of the aqueduct have been revealed from Kefalari to the northern walls of the city.

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