Iulius Frontinus, Sextus

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Served as urban praetor in ad 70 and then assisted in suppressing the revolt of the Batavian prince Iulius Civilis, receiving the surrender of 70,000 Lingones. Consul in 72 or 73, he served as governor of Britain (73/4–77), where he crushed the Silures in south Wales, establishing a fortress for legion II Augusta at Isca, and then attacked the Ordovices. He was proconsul of Asia in 86, and was later appointed by Nerva in 97 a commissioner for aqueducts. He held his second, suffect, consulship in 98, and his third, ordinary, consulship in 100, both times with Trajan. Pliny the Younger described him as one of the two most distinguished men of his day. He died in 103/4.


Frontinus wrote clearly about several technical subjects: the history, administration, and maintenance of the aqueducts of Rome; he cites engineers' reports, official documents, plans, and senatorial decrees, with details of quantity, supply, and abuses of the system. The book is an invaluable source for the study of the working of the Roman water supply, and the history and administration of the city of Rome in general. It combines pride in the Roman achievement in this field with a willingness to list technical statistics. In his Stratagems Frontinus discusses techniques of military command, using stratagems drawn mainly from past commanders, though including several recent examples, esp. from Domitian's campaigns in Germany; the work is divided into three books by categories: before battle, during and after battle, sieges; a fourth book contains maxims on the art of generalship. Frontinus claims to provide practical guidance for contemporary commanders, and Stratagems may have served as a textbook in a society with no formal means of training men for public office.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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