Friday, March 30, 2007
Roman public baths, city of Bath, England
Of all the leisure activities, it was one of the most important, since it was part of the daily regimen for men of all classes, and many women as well.
Today many cultures see bathing as a very private activity conducted in the home, but bathing in Rome was a communal activity, conducted for the most part in public facilities called thermae that in some ways resembled modern-day spas. Such was the importance of baths to Romans that a catalogue of buildings in Rome from 354 AD documented 952 baths of varying sizes in the city.
Although wealthy Romans might set up a bath in their town houses or in their country villas, heating a series of rooms or even a separate building especially for this purpose, and soldiers might have a bathhouse provided at their fort (as at Chesters on Hadrian's Wall, or at Bearsden fort), they still often frequented the numerous public bathhouses in the cities and towns throughout the empire.