Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Most Roman cities had at least one, if not many, such buildings, which were centers of public bathing and socialization.
Origin of the term
Within the building the baths were divided according to gender. Each gender had three pools: a hot one, a lukewarm one and a cool one. They were respectively called:
- the caldarium (L. cal(i)dus, -a,-um "hot" cf. calor orig, calos, caloris m)
- the tepidarium (L. tepidus,-a,-um "lukewarm" cf. L. tepeo)
- the frigidarium (Latin frigidus,-a,-um "cold")
- sometimes there was also a steam bath: the sudatorium
The baths often included, aside from the three main rooms, listed above, a palaestra, or outdoor gymnasium where men would engage in various ball games and exercises. There, inter alia, weights were lifted and the discus thrown. Men would oil themselves and removes the excess with a strigil (c.f. the well known Apoxyomenus of Lysippus from the Vatican Museum).
The changing room was known as the apotyterium (Greek apotyterion, apo + duo "to take off" here of clothing).
Baths sprung up all over the empire. Where natural hot springs existed (as in Bath, England) thermae were built around them. Alternatively a system of hypocausta (Greek hypocauston < hypo "below" + kaio "to burn") were utilized to heat the waters.
Remains of Roman baths
- Bath - Roman Baths
- Bearsden, Greater Glasgow area, Scotland
- Exeter, Devon
- Jewry Wall, in Leicester
- Tripontium, near today's Rugby, Warwickshire
- Benevento, Campania
- Capua, Campania
- Cefalù, Sicily
- Rome - Baths of Caracalla
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