Rome Project - Bath Houses of Rome

By: Chandana Tatineni & Aleesha Johnson

Chandana's Artifact...

  • Physical representation of the Bathhouse of Caracalla
  • Shows the size of the bathhouse, the different part it, and where each section is located.
  • Shows the big idea of how people started to 'hang out' in the roman empire.
  • Physicians believed that the water had healing powers for body problems, and this model represents the bathhouse as a whole which healed people.

Aleesha's Artifact...

  • Physical representation of the Spa House, a specific location in the bathhouses which had hot water pools which helped people relax.

General Facts... (background)

  • "Cleanliness and Godliness under one roof."
  • " Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings." ~ Pubilius Syrus (roman author)
  • Italians lived the longest compared to other developed countries.
  • 83 years for women.
  • 77 years for men.
  • Health care was both the right and the responsibility of every individual and there are two secrets: good Mediterranean food, and Roman baths.

Roman Baths... (background)

  • Center of leisure, business, socialization, sacredness and gossip.
  • Resembles a rather less expensive version of modern health spas.
  • They were initially built as a sort of private gyms in villas of wealthy Romans, but they soon became a venue for middle class Romans due to emperors anxious to secure their popularity/legacy in Rome.
  • Women went to the bathhouses, but they didn't exercise unless they were professional athletes, but they used them as a place to meet friends, and share gossip.
  • Each emperor tried to out do each other by giving the public bigger and better bathhouses.

Bathhouse of Caracalla... (characteristics)

  • One of the biggest and most famous.
  • Covered over 32 acres.
  • Fed by or relied on the Aqua Marcia aqueduct from the hills at 90 km from Rome.
  • Pipes carried the water under the surrounding gardens and into the bath houses where it was funneled into a complex distribution system feeding the cool pools.
  • The entire bathhouse was built on a 20 feet raised platform to allow for pipes and furnaces under the building.
  • There were approximately 50 large furnaces and the wood used to keep the bathhouse burning led to serious deforestation in Italy,
  • Had the first flush toilets.
  • Had weights, ball games, running and swimming sports.
  • It was elaborately decorated with mosaics and marble, statues and wall painting, and had libraries/lecture halls.
  • Also had jugglers, musicians, singers, and poets.
  • Included food and drinks.
  • The entire north wall was dedicated for shops.

PSA in Roman Bathhouses...

  • Roman physicians believed that good health was based on a mixture of bathing, diet, exercise and massage.
  • For that reason, the bathhouses combined hygiene with sport, recreation, sacredness and noisy forms of ancient Roman entertainment.
  • The first aim of the bathhouses was to promote good health and to cure medical conditions by providing gymnasia (after the Greeks).
  • Spa = 'sanus per aquam' or 'health through water'.

Significance...

  • The bathhouses fulfilled as many functions as spa resorts do today - they were and are social, recreational, cultural and health centers rolled into one.
  • For many contemporary doctors, thermal cures remain an alternative medicine and wellness spas today offer complete services for psycho-physical wellbeing in exactly the same way as the ancient Roman baths did.
  • Business can be combined with relaxation, helping body and mind cope with the stresses of the modern world, and minerals in the waters are believed by many to cure physical problems.
Caracalla Roman Baths