Against Gravity

Hansgeorg Bankel

The Augustan Aqueduct of Minturnae in Southern Latinum and Other Researches Made by "competent students of architecture"
When Philadelphian Jotham Johnson finished his second volume on the Monuments of the Republican Forum at Minturnae in 1935 after two years of intense and competent excavations, he was pointing out that further research had to be done on the architecture of Minturnae by „competent students of classical architecture“. It took seven decades, that this desideratum was heard by the German Archeological Institute in Rome and a group of “Bauforscher” (building archeologists) from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich started working in Minturnae in 2008 concentrating on the theater, the forum, the buildings connected with the use of water and the area sacra.

I would like to concentrate myself on the two temples in the area sacra, where a straight arch with relieving joints gives important hints for reconstructing the elevation of the Capitolium, whereas only the documentation of the five chambers in the podium of the early augustan temple makes a reconstruction of the plan possible. In both cases the way weight is brought down to the ground plays an important role.

Assuming that aqueducts are buildings against the gravity of water, I will close by explaining the use of leveling marks which were inserted at the top of the pillars of the aqueduct, a unique feature found only in Minturnae. They show that there was a discussion whether the gradient of the specus at the end of the aqueduct should be horizontal or inclined.