‘What’s the capacity of the Piscina?’
‘Two hundred and eighty Quinariæ.’
Now the Piscina was not a swimming pool, as modern Italian would lead us to believe, and not (just) a basin or fishes, as the name would suggest (pisces = fishes). This was the Piscina Mirabilis. It was a well closed water tank, a cistern of 12600 or 107001) m³ – sources differ – for potable water at the North end of the bay of Naples, back in A.D. 79 (v.Chr.), at the end of the Roman aquæduct Aqua Augusta.
And then he tells us “that one quinaria was roughly the daily requirement of two hundred people.”
Stragely enough for such a precise author as Harris, he does not tell us more – or modern details. The Roman Empire (like Austria) entered the Metre Convention only in 1875, the US in 1878. But that would not have helped us. Tubes all over the world are measured in inches, still today.
As mimilar measure was the quirinaria. If you google quirinaria, you don’t even find a sensible translation.
But you find money: a not too pupular coin, worth half a dinar, also called Victorinatus, named from Quini and Æs, quini is five and æs stands for Asses. A Quinarius was worth 5 asses. The value imprinted was either a Q or a V, apparently even then the sign of Victorianus (Source). But let’s not follow this route.
Quirinaria today are stories from the Italian parliament, the Quirinale. No good either.
|The Aqua Augusta today, « Ponti Rossi », lit. red bridges) crossing via Nicola Nicolini ca. number 55 in Naples at 40.87262,14.265361, near the airport · Foto Baku, Wilipedia, part|
|Carl Friedrich Quednow, Beschreibung der Alterthümer in Trier … 1820.|
Here, 1842: “The quinaria is equivalent to about 2000 cubic feet, of about 7 gallons each.” – Anyone understands that? Source must be:
De aquaeductu urbis Romae by Sextus Iulius Frontinus, named “Curator Aquarum” in 97 after Christ, by Imperator Nerva. Here, 2017: « Roma era servita da 9 acquedotti (poi 11) e che la portata era stimata in 24.360 “Quirinarie” al secondo, pari a 1.010.623 metri cubi al giorno: una disponibilità pro-capite doppia di quella attuale! ». 1,010,623 m³/day ÷ 24,360 quirinariæ = 41.5 m³/quirinaria. Or: 1 quirinaria = 41.5 m³, if applied for a day. During a second that would be 0.48 litres. See below.
« Il Triomfo dell’acqua », the triuph of water, an exhibition catalog of 1987, here scecifies quirinaliæ as water flow: 0.47 to 0.48 litres/second. However here: “ … no unanimity exists for the value of the quinaria.” – “ … the Romans were not capable of calculating exactly the volume of flowing water.”
|(From here.) 5000 to 6000 gallons = 19 to over 20 m³|
|Iside a Roman Cisterne, like the Piscina Mirabilis. |
Panorama picture. Istanbul, June 2014. Foto Jörn
Pompeii by Harris
Quinaria in Wikipedia
(1) Aqua Augusta – Serino (Italy)
with this map of the piscina mirablis, explained there:
The Piscina Mirabilis at Misenum, “well preserved”:
List of Roman Aquæducts:
Permalink to here: http://j.mp/2thHVFw =
|Nasa’s view into the eye of Vesuvius. (Source)|
On a single stylish page with brown background “The Quinaria and Fontinus” are subject of thoughts and calculations, based on Fontinus. Worth a thorough look.
This is part of the fine
“Encyclopædia Romana” by James Grout, see here.