Archaeologists date the Cloaca Maxima to about 600 B.C.E., meaning it was around for roughly six centuries when Julius Caesar declared himself emperor. In fact, the central 100-meter-long pipeline dates back to the fifth king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus. Its original purpose was not to flush out the ancient Romans' latrines, but rather to drain the nearby swamps. Later, the newly solid ground was made into the famous Forum.
As far as the laborers who built it were concerned, however, it was a graveyard. According to Pliny the Elder, writing sometime around 77 C.E., many of the workers resorted to suicide to escape the long, hard, grueling labor—but Pliny also seemed to think the loss was worth it. "The ground is shaken by earth tremors; but in spite of all, for 700 years from the time of Tarquinius Priscus, the channels have remained well-nigh impregnable." Even more incredibly, they've remained "well-nigh impregnable" in the nearly 2,000 years since.