ANCIENT AIR CONDITIONING

Alexandria was experiencing an unusually hot day, a perfect day, as Miriam said, to sit in the atrium, face the impluvium and sip ginger tea. Unfortunately, she was too busy for that, but occasionally, when she looked up from her alchemical workbench, she’d see her servants trudging in and out, fetching water from the well to fill the pool and keep the air circulating. The evaporation of water from the impluvium cooled the air above it and created air currents to ease the scorching summer temperatures. An impluvium is usually made of marble, about a foot deep, and with a porous bed. Water standing in the basin of the impluvium then filters through the bed and the layers of gravel and sand beneath it into a cistern.

And so, the impluvium and compluvium together provided a passive system for cooling the home and collecting and filtering the rainwater, a precious household commodity. So, feel free to spend the summer with Miriam! The books can be read in any order. Just click here to make a choice.

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