The Dirt on Roman Baths

Keeping clean has been important for thousands of years. The Ancient Romans had very unique ways of washing and bathing.

In the town of Bath, in Britain, natural hot springs made it a perfect location for bathing. Large public baths were a great attraction for many people all over the Roman Empire because of their health-giving minerals. Water from the hot springs bubbled up from the rocks at temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. In places without hot springs, the rooms and the water were heated by furnaces under the floor.

Each bather would often have a jug of olive oil and two metal tools, called strigils, attached to it. People would coat themselves in olive oil, instead of soap. They would scrape the oil off with a strigil.

The public bath houses had much more than just baths. There were also exercise areas, changing rooms, and a sauna. People would meet and socialize with friends or come to exercise, play games or just relax. Sometimes businessmen would hold meetings in the baths.

After the bath, the bathers would often go to the frigidarium, or the cold room, to take a quick dip in the chilled pool. The frigidarium was often partly in open-air.

Some of these bath houses have been found by archeologists. These findings not only help us understand how the Ancient Romans kept clean, but also teach us more about their culture and daily life.

The language and culture of Ancient Rome has affected modern society in many ways, but maybe it's a good thing that holding business meetings in the bath didn’t catch on.

[Source: Encyclopedia of the Ancient World ]