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Roman Life At The Baths



For centuries, the human race has been obsessed with beauty and improving cleanliness. After a day in the city or a walk in the heat, it’s hard to think about anything else but having a wash or jumping under the shower. Or, even better, taking some time out for yourself to luxuriate in a relaxing bath.

Of course, now we have some remarkable products and organic bath oils to make your bathing experience that much more vibrant. The Ancient Romans loved their bath times, too, but took them a bit more seriously. Similarly, they were used to using oils, albeit in a slightly different way. Let’s take a look at the way the Romans took their bathtimes in a bit more detail.

Roman Organic Bath Oils

While the wealthier Roman people had their bathrooms, it was far more customary to attend the public bathhouses. The purpose of bathing for hygiene reasons was almost secondary, as nearly all business and organization was carried out between the walls of the baths. People would spend long hours discussing the course of industry, finance, sports, and everything else at this incredible social location. The Romans began their working day first thing in the morning, officially finishing at noon, but they would continue with meetings at the baths.

Both men and women attended the baths, although women were charged a one copper coin for entry, and men a ½ copper coin. The first port of call was an exercise area, which often included a swimming pool, but there could also be a weight lifting and wrestling area too, along with track and field events for larger baths and recreational spaces. The attendees would change out of their day clothes, apply olive oil all over their body, and wear garments for exercise.

The Beauty Of Roman Technology

After a period of exercise, those getting ready to go into the baths would take off their clothing, and scrape the oil and dirt from the skin. This was done in the presence of a slave who would bring towels and oil flasks, as a strigil was used to scrape the oil. A strigil was a knife-like tool, designed to lift the dirt and oil as it was dragged firmly against the skin.

Thanks to the hypocaust, a superheated channel fed by a furnace running under the floors of individual buildings, the Romans managed to manipulate effective heating. By doing this, they could regulate the temperature of water, creating therapeutic pools of different temperatures. Bathers might take their first dip in the tepidarium (warm bath), then the caldarium (hot tub). After another dip in the tepidarium, they would probably take a final dip in the cold bath or frigidarium. There were also steam rooms and saunas, and tables for massage, where Roman bath-goers would be rubbed with scented oils.

Before leaving the baths, the oils would again be scraped from the skin of the bather, and he or she would be ready to go home. The bathrooms were integral to Roman civilization, and perhaps there hasn’t been such a dedication to this bathing regiment since although we can steal a little bit of this luxury with a soak in organic bath oils, or a trip to the spa!