Skip to content

The Classical Charm of Antique Stone Pool Fountains

October 16, 2014

212-461-0245 // 212-913-9588

Sales@AncientSurfaces.com

A fountain (from the Latin word “fontis” meaning a source or spring) is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air to supply drinking water and/or for a decorative or dramatic effect.

24LFountains were originally purely functional, connected to springs or aqueducts and used to provide drinking water and water for bathing and washing to the residents of cities, towns and villages. Until the late 19th century most fountains operated by gravity, and needed a source of water higher than the fountain, such as a reservoir or aqueduct, to make the water flow or jet into the air.

20130524In addition to providing drinking water, fountains were used for decoration and to celebrate their builders. Roman fountains were decorated with bronze or stone masks of animals or heroes. In the Middle Ages, Moorish and Muslim garden designers used fountains to create miniature versions of the gardens of paradise.

20130524_133832Ancient civilizations built stone basins to capture and hold precious drinking water.
A carved stone basin, dating to around 2000 BC, was discovered in the ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Lagash.

Antique-Pool-Fountain-024-bThe ancient Assyrians constructed a series of basins in the gorge of the Comel River, carved in solid rock, connected by small channels, descending to a stream.

APF-175The lowest basin was decorated with carved reliefs of two lions.
The ancient Egyptians had ingenious systems for hoisting water up from the Nile for drinking and irrigation, but without a higher source of water it was not possible to make water flow by gravity, and no Egyptian fountains or pictures of fountains have been found.

APF-199-02-bThe ancient Greeks were apparently the first to use aqueducts and gravity-powered fountains to distribute water. According to ancient historians, fountains existed in Athens, Corinth, and other ancient Greek cities in the 6th century BC as the terminating points of aqueducts which brought water from springs and rivers into the cities.

APF-174In the 6th century BC the Athenian ruler Peisistratos built the main fountain of Athens, the Enneacrounos, in the Agora, or main square.
It had nine large cannons, or spouts, which supplied drinking water to local residents.

APF-171-bGreek fountains were made of stone or marble, with water flowing through bronze pipes and emerging from the mouth of a sculpted mask that represented the head of a lion or the muzzle of an animal.

APF-168-bMost Greek fountains flowed by simple gravity, but they also discovered how to use principle of a siphon to make water spout, as seen in pictures on Greek vases.

APF-153-bThe Ancient Romans built an extensive system of acqueducts from mountain rivers and lakes to provide water for the fountains and baths of Rome.
The Roman engineers used lead pipes instead of bronze to distribute the water throughout the city.

APF-143-BThe excavations at Pompeii, which revealed the city as it was when it was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, uncovered free-standing fountains and basins placed at intervals along city streets, fed by siphoning water upwards from lead pipes under the street.

APF-107The excavations of Pompeii also showed that the homes of wealthy Romans often had a small fountain in the atrium, or interior courtyard, with water coming from city water supply and spouting into a small bowl or basin.

APF-42Ancient Rome was a city of fountains. According to Sextus Julius Frontinus, the Roman consul who was named curator aquarum or guardian of the water of Rome in 98 AD, Rome had nine aqueducts which fed 39 monumental fountains and 591 public basins, not counting the water supplied to the Imperial household, baths and owners of private villas.

APF 101Each of the major fountains was connected to two different aqueducts, in case one was shut down for service. The Romans were able to make fountains jet water into the air, by using the pressure of water flowing from a distant and higher source of water to create hydraulic head, or force. Illustrations of fountains in gardens spouting water are found on wall paintings in Rome from the 1st century BC, and in the villas of Pompeii.

Antique-Pool-Fountain-APF-7The Villa of Hadrian in Tivoli featured a large swimming basin with jets of water.
Pliny the Younger described the banquet room of a Roman villa where a fountain began to jet water when visitors sat on a marble seat.

Antique-Pool-Fountain-0112The water flowed into a basin, where the courses of a banquet were served in floating dishes shaped like boats.
Roman engineers built aqueducts and fountains throughout the Roman Empire.

Antique-Pool-Fountain-0111

Reclamation Images

Call us at: 212-461-0245 // 212-913-9588

Sales@ancientsurfaces.com

 Our Twitter page  Blogger page  Our Facebook page  houzz interior design ideas  houzz interior design ideas

Best Of Houzz 2015 Badge

Visit our Antique Pool Fountain Gallery on Houzz

 

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: