Roman Baths

After a morning's work at the shop or office, most Romans enjoyed relaxing at the Baths. Romans went to the baths to exercise, meet with friends, or just get clean. There were 170 baths in Rome during the reign of Augustus and by 300 A.D that number had increasd to over 900 baths. A typical afternoon at the baths normally began by being rubbed with oil and then going out to the open fields and participating in various sports. After they were done exercising, the bather would move to the tepidarium, or warm room, where they would sit around and chat with friends. They then moved into the calidarium, or hot room, where they would sit and perspired, often scraping their skin with a strigil, a curved metal tool. Sometimes, the more wealthy Romans would have slaves scrape their skin. Other slaves served snacks and drinks in this room. Finally, the bather would take a dip in the hot pool itself, then quickly jump in and out of the frigidarium, or cold bath. Some Romans enjoyed massages or oil and perfume rubs after their bathing experience.

After a cleansing and relaxing time at the baths, the bather would stroll through the beautiful gardens admiring the immense statutes and mosaics, or enjoy an athletic event, or even go back to work. Regardless, the baths were a place of cleaning and relaxation for all Romans. Although slaves could use most of the baths, some of them charged a small admittence fee to keep the slaves and poor from being able to enjoy themselves in these baths. However, everyone could visit a bath if they desired. Many well-off Romans who had their own villas had their own small personal swimming
pool. There were even baths for soldiers at permanent forts.


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