It’s not the pipes that poisoned Romans. The water was very HARD and mineral-dense, coating the pipes very quickly, rendering the lead-exposure to the water rather low.
It was the fact that lead was in cosmetics used by both men and women, wine sweetener, dishes and cups and jars and ewers…
Lead was everywhere in the Roman world, but like the American 1950s, the powers that were insisted that lead poisoning was only a problem for dispensable slaves that mined it.
I would argue the 20th century had an even better method: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetra-ethyl_lead
Oddly enough, I had some ancient Roman water this morning, in the temple of Minerva Sulis, and I’ve spent the last week in a house in Southampton with real lead piping.
No exceptional events have occurred, unless you count an undeserved parking ticket.
You see the same conflicts, behaviors and power struggles in all Empires throughout history before and after plumbing. There were also some pretty just (for their) time Emperors as well to go along with the crazy ones as well, and most historians seem to think that their stories were probably exaggerated a bit by people with grudges or for other political reasons. Furthermore, if you want to take the negatives of these pipes into consideration you also have to take the positives into account: Romans (not all of them) had access to otherwise pretty fresh, clean water, unlike so many civilizations in the world. So despite supposedly being mad from lead they managed to hold together one of the longer lasting, largest empires in history. Yeah, it doesn’t wash with history.
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