In the times of Ancient Rome very few
people had baths in their homes. Adults enjoyed going to the public bathhouse. Children
were not allowed in. The bathhouse cost very little to get in, so people used them often.
The men and the women both used the bathhouse, but at different times during the day. Each
group had a scheduled time, although the women's scheduled time was shorter. The bathhouse
was not only a place for washing, but a good place to meet friends or do business. Some
people enjoyed going to the bath for exercises, walks through the gardens, or reading. The
baths also had towels, slaves to wait on you, steam rooms, saunas, exercise
rooms, and hair cutting salons.
The Romans didn't use soap. They cleaned themselves
by covering their bodies with oil. Then they scraped the oil off with a special scraper
called a strigil. Strigils were make from bone or metal. Next the Romans enjoyed several
pools. Each of these pools had water heated to different temperatures. Bathers went from
one bath to another.
Ancient Rome had as many as 900 public baths. Small
baths held about 300 people. The largest bath held 1500 people. Bathhouses were
built all over the Roman Empire. The most impressive ones were found in the city of Rome.
They were decorated with marble and statues. Some contained gardens, courtyards, and
gymnasiums. There were also shops, restaurants, galleries, and libraries. Some of the most
splendid Roman bathhouses were built by the emperors Caracalla and Diocletian.
Baths of Caracalla Tepidarium with Aida scenery
|Baths of Diocletian - S.
Maria d. Angeli 1 -This was
completed in A.D. 305.
courtesy and ©1997 Leo Curran, Maecenas: Images of
Ancient Greece and Rome