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THERMAE CARACALLAE. The Baths of Caracalla. THERMAE. Latin for ‘public baths’ most Romans did not have the modern concept of a bathroom in their private homes

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  1. THERMAE CARACALLAE The Baths of Caracalla

  2. THERMAE • Latin for ‘public baths’ • most Romans did not have the modern concept of a bathroom in their private homes • very wealthy Roman might elect to have baths in their home; however, many did not because of issues with sewage backing up (baths in a private home were called BALENEA) • Romans had pipes and running water

  3. THERMAE • Romans would visit the THERMAE daily to bathe • There was a small entrance fee to use the THERMAE • Romans did not invent THERMAE; Greeks did • Romans improved upon heating of THERMAE through invention of hypocaust, a system of burning coal and wood underneath the ground to heat water provided by a dedicated aqueduct. It was in use up to the 19th century


  5. BATHING • Bathers would enter the bath house and pay a small fee to a slave at the entrance • Order of Bath • Apodyterium (changing room) • Palaestra (exercise yard) • Tepidarium (warm room) • Caldarium (hot room) • Frigidarium (cold room)

  6. APODYTERIUM Changing Room - Bathers left clothes in cubby holes, many brought slaves with them to the baths to guard their clothes as bath houses were the typical haunts of theives

  7. PALAESTRA • Exercise Yard • Wrestling • Running • Weight Lifting • Boxing

  8. mosaic of women exercising in palaestra

  9. Tepidarium • Warm Room • Bathers sat on marble benches and gently perspired

  10. Caldarium • Hot Room • Bathers would wallow in pool of hot water • Labrum of cool water at opposite end for refreshing • Massages • Hair plucking • Cleaning with olive oil and strigils

  11. Romans did not have soap. They used olive oil instead.

  12. Frigidarium • Cold Room • Bathers took plunge in pool of unheated water to close pores.

  13. THERMAE AND BALENEAE • 11 imperial baths • 856 public baths • unknown number of private baths

  14. The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.

  15. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (188 – 217) • Nicknamed Caracalla • Caracalla is remembered as one of the most notorious emperors because of the massacres and persecutions he authorized throughout the empire. He also arranged for the murder of his brother Geta in order to gain sole control of the Empire.

  16. The Caracalla bath complex of buildings was more a leisure center than just a series of baths.

  17. The entire bath building was on a 6 meter (20 ft) high raised platform to allow for storage and furnaces under the building

  18. The baths consisted of a frigidarium (cold room), a double pool tepidarium (warm), and a caldarium (hot room), as well as two palaestras (gyms where wrestling and boxing was practiced).


  20. The largest room, the vaulted tepidarium, measured 82 by 170 feet. The inside height of the tepidarium has been estimated at 125 feet

  21. The north end of the bath building contained a natatio or swimming pool. The natatio was roofless with bronze mirrors mounted overhead to direct sunlight into the pool area.


  23. Mosaic Floors

  24. Reconstructions of interior of the Baths of Caracalla PirroLigorio. Map of Rome. 16th century. Baths of Caracalla highlighted in RED

  25. Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. Reconstruction drawing of Frigidarium of Baths of Caracalla. 1867

  26. 1. Entrance | 2. Toilets | 3. Palaestra | 4. Apodyterium5. Tepidarium | 6. Caldarium | 7. Frigidarium | 8. Entertainment9. Art | 10. Food

  27. In the many years of its greatness, the complex must have been staggering both in size and opulence: it originally accommodated some 1,600 bathers as well as other activities such as sports and theatricals – for up to 2,000 people at a time..

  28. The Baths of Caracalla (reconstructive drawing from 1899)

  29. In the fifth century the baths are named among the marvels of Rome and there is evidence of restoration in the sixth century, but their use must have been rendered impossible when the aqueducts were cut by the Goths in 537 A.D.

  30. -Italians still use the Termedi Caracalla to put on plays

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