Roman Baths

Roman Baths

Episode 31

Romans regularly went to the public baths to keep clean and meet friends.But what did they do there?

Because there are still examples of Roman baths around today we know a great deal about what they looked like and this really helped us design the Roman baths in Episode 31. The towns of Bath in England and Pompeii in Italy still have amazing examples of Roman baths so we had many photographs to look at. Although pictures of the baths in Bath just show stone walls we know from other research that the walls would have been plastered and painted in bright colours so that’s what we did too. .

Most Romans couldn’t afford to have baths at home so had to go to public baths. The baths were very social places where people could meet friends and talk about the latest news.

Roman baths had three different baths – cold, warm and hot plus a swimming pool, which is where we see Senator Marcus in Episode 31. People would use the warm bath first, then the cold bath and finally the hot bath which was like one of today’s saunas. Then a slave would rub olive oil onto their bodies and scrape it off with a strigil which is a curved, metal tool.

The baths needed huge quantities of water which, in Rome, came into the baths via an aqueduct which is an underground or above ground channel that carries water. The aqueduct in Rome was 640 kilometres long! All the water then had to be heated by a huge furnace and carried through underground spaces and pipes to the hot bath and swimming pool.

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