In this short paper I will discuss three main subjects. One will be the problem regarding landowners and their responsibility towards aqueduct maintenance. Second, Ill introduce my source of information and give a short summary of it. Third and finally I will discuss and answer some main questions from the textbook asking about the proclamation sent by Emperor Theodosius.
The problem was maintenance on the aqueducts. Who was responsible for the upkeep? For those responsible, what were their duties and obligations for the upkeep of the aqueducts? What were the penalties if they didnt do their duties? This was the problem.
Emperor Theodosius, of the Roman Empire resolved these questions by his proclamation in 438 A.D. In his proclamation he makes the responsibility of the upkeep and maintenance of the aqueducts to the landowner that the aqueducts pass through. The Emperor goes on to state that because of this extra duties on the landowners shall be exempt from extraordinary burdens (Discovering the Western Past, pg. 15 5th paragraph second line), (Discovering the Western Past, pg. 15. 5th paragraph 2nd line). Since, the landowners were responsible for the upkeep, they were responsible for clearing the aqueduct out when it was clogged of dirt and soot. In addition, they were responsible for keeping trees trimmed away from the aqueducts. If the landowner did not keep up with his duties on the aqueduct the punishment for this was the forfeiture of his lands to the imperial treasury.
The textbook Discovering the Western Past, asked many questions ranging from the complexity of the machines to the simple tools that these civilizations had to use. What were the political ramifications of the decisions the emperor made? Why not just hire more people to do the job or even better buy slaves and make them continue to do the upkeep? Well, for a couple of reasons why the emperor didnt hire or buy slaves to do these tasks. The landowner already had many slaves at his disposal to take care pf these tasks. He also probably knew with intimidation that the landowner would continue to upkeep the aqueduct in fear of loosing his land. In addition, by allowing tax breaks to individuals with aqueducts going through their land they would be more receptive to the idea of this. The political ramifications to the decree by the Emperor, I would think are few to nil. His decree had everyone one as the winner. The city got its water, the landowner received tax cuts, which was more money in his pocket