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Who was Frontinus?
Sextus Julius Frontinus was one of the most distinguished Roman aristocrats of the late 1st century AD: he was grandson of Aulus Julius Frontinus and Cornelia Africana, the only child of Publius Cornelius Scipio. He is best known to the post-Classical world as an author of technical treatises, especially De aquaeductu, dealing with the aqueducts of Rome.
In 70 AD, he was praetor, and five years later was sent into Britain to succeed Quintus Petillius Cerialis as governor of that island. He subdued the Silures and other tribes of Wales hostile to Roman invasion, establishing a new base at Caerleon or Isca Augusta for Legio II Augusta and a network of smaller forts fifteen to twenty kilometres apart for his auxiliary units. One of these forts would have been Luentinum, which controlled the gold mine of Dolaucothi, worked by numerous aqueducts. He was succeeded by Gnaeus Julius Agricola in 78. Agricola was the father-in-law of the famous historian Tacitus.
In 95, he was appointed Water Commissioner of the aqueducts at Rome by the emperor Nerva, an office only conferred upon persons of very high standing. He was also a member of the College of Augurs. He produced an official report on the state of the aqueducts serving the city of Rome towards the end of the 1st century AD, the first official report of an investigation about engineering works ever to have been published.
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