Erga-Logoi (Jul 2021)

Acque reflue e rischio ambientale: inquinamento fluviale nella Roma imperiale

  • Gaetano Arena

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 1
pp. 107 – 132


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The paper intends to examine a specific area of research concerning the pollution of large rivers – the Tiber above all but not exclusively – and the resulting contamination of water and air as well as the depletion of fish fauna and related food risks. The data on the damage to fluvial (but also lake and marine) habitats are not presented by the intellectuals of the Flavian-Trajan and Antonine ages (Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Galen) in an ‘environmentalist’ perspective stricto sensu, but each time presented in terms of moral condemnation, or of political propaganda aimed at seeking consensus or even in terms of risk to health and/or possible economic damage. In spite of this, from a legal point of view, appears undeniable a concern of the State to introduce measures aimed at limiting environmental damages as well as protecting and conserving natural resources, although certainly not systematic, but dictated by completely pragmatic needs and by occasional or emergency circumstances.