Latin Essay


The Romans had public baths as the majority of Romans/Pompeian’s did not have bathrooms so went to the baths every afternoon to wash and relax out of the sun’s rays. They used to work hard all morning, when the sun was not as hot, and then in the afternoon they would go to the baths and chat to their friends and discuss local/national events or about the morning’s business. The Romans did this usually everyday as they had no other way to properly wash and it was a social occasion.


At the baths the Romans didn’t just go to the baths to lie and bathe in the hot tubs. There was a variety or activities that they did to manicure or exercise themselves. To begin with you would go into the entrance hall and enter the changing room, (apodyterium) take off your tunic and put it in one of the holes in the walls, next you would go into the exercise area (palistra) and build up a sweat. This was also very good fitness training and kept the Romans in good shape. They used to do exercises like throwing a discus or wrestling.


After building up a light sweat the citizens would go into the tepidarium. This is a room where they would sit in a bath for a short time that was quite warm, to prepare themselves for the caldarium (where the hot tub was situated). In here the Romans would get into the hot tub. They would stay in here for quite a while chatting or relaxing. They also would rub oil all over themselves then would scrape it of with stringls. The oil would be scraped off along with all the dirt trapped in the skin. After a nice long soak in the ‘hot tub’ the Romans would usually, if they were up to it, jump into the frigidarium (the cold plunge bath). This was a freeing cold pool of water that would wake the citizens up. People would walk around the baths offering to pluck out hair or sell you food.


The Romans developed an ingenious way of heating their baths. They used a ‘Hypocaust heating system’ or an under floor system to heat their pools and floors. There were huge furnaces below the ground which heated air, this air rose and travelled around under the floor between small columns under the floor. This in turn rapidly heated up the floor. In some baths the floor got so hot that the bathers had to wear sandals so they didn’t burn their feet!