The roman baths

Ok, so sorry for the break, we’ve had exams which I’ve been revising for like crazy.

This post is going to be on the roman baths, as the title suggests.  We’ve been doing this a lot at school and was on our exam although I didn’t choose it.

The baths were a building in town.  They were there because most Romans didn’t have a bathroom of their own so the baths were just like communal bathrooms.

To go in was the equivalent of a couple of GBP and this would be paid at the entrance.  The first room you would come to would be the apodyterium– Latin word.  see end of post.  This had niches in the wall and there were slaves to guard your clothes as everyone went in naked.  Because of this, men and women bathed separately.

After the apodyterium, you would come the palaestra. This was a gym, outdoors and surrounded by a colonnade.  There were lots of activities such as discus and javelin throwing you could partake in.

Then came the tepidarium, which was basically like a sauna.  The customers just sat in this room and waited…

Until they came to the caldarium!  This hot room had a large pool of hot water where the bathers ‘sat or wallowed’ according to the Cambridge Latin Course book 1.  There were also marble slabs which the bathers lay on and were scraped by a strigil by a slave.  Then a masseur came and rubbed oil, the equivalent to soap, into your back.  You would then sluice off in a cool bath.

The frigidarium came next, this had a freezing plunge bath which must have been refreshing after a hot room and a warm room.  After this you got changed and went home.

The floor was heated with a hypocaust, using slaves to stoke the fire.  This was an idea that was stolen and improved from the Greeks.

Glossary

Apodyterium- changing room

Palaestra- gym

Tepidarium- warm room

Caldarium- hot room

frigidarium- cold room

strigil- blunt instrument for scraping dead skin and dirt of people’s backs.

hypocaust- heating system where hot air was circulated around under the floor- hard to build in minecraft, I tried and failed.

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