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Baths in Rome

roman BathOne of the pastimes in Ancient Rome was going to the baths. In smaller towns, women scheduled times during the day when they could use the baths. Men had the time after work designated for them. In larger towns, the baths had separate areas for the men and women to use. The baths were free in some cases, or very reasonably priced so that most Romans could have access to them. The city of Rome itself had over 800 public baths, including 11 very large imperial baths, which held hundreds of people at the same time. The very wealthy had private baths in their own homes.

Most baths in Roman times had several common characteristics. There was a changing room called an apodyterium where they left their clothes and took a towel into the bath area. The next room was a warm room know as the tepidarium. Here they sat and allowed their bodies to adjust to the temperature of the next room, the caldarium, which was know as the hot room. This room was not only hot but also steamy. These rooms were heated by a heating system under the floor called a hypocaust. Here the Romans used an instrument known as a strigil to scrape off the dirt on their bodies. After this, they proceeded to the cold room, or the frigidarium, where they took a quick dip into a cold pool of water to wash off the rest of the dirt. After their cool dip, a slave applied scented oils to their bodies. Then the clean Romans went to a courtyard and socialized.


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