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Lecture 12

Lecture 12

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University of Toronto St. George
B Ewald

Baths of Caracalla • Bathing followed a certain choreography but there is dispute in how this worked • Early 3 cent CE and used for a few centuries - gradually fell out of use • Some parts used until 6th century CE • The central bath complex where main rooms located for actual bathing • Surrounding structures not entirely finished. When inaugurated under Caracalla the baths not finished entirely • Larger than the average roman town • 6-10,000 bathers at one time • Whole complex built by caracalla in an area that was not really wealthy • So it was an expression of liberalitas • Brought the new fangled thing called bathing to these impoverished fellows • Central bathing complex and surrounding structures on an enormous platform. Substructures had to be built into the hill, parts of which had to be levelled • As a result a lot of 2 century hadrianic houses are preserved under the bath • A: interpreted as a stadium which housed running competitions • Another inrepretation says it is part of a fountain strcuture • Behind it we have a series of cisterns where water was collected • Aqueduct fed the cisterns • Other surrounding rooms (liek G) are unclear. Roofed, but don’t knw the purpose. Probably for presentations, for example by star orator, or perhaps musical performances • Mythraium (?) • Underground • Sanctuary of Mithras • Cult for only men, popular in roman army • Library • One for greek, one for roman Bath complex • Today you enter through south side, where the warm, hot rooms are placed where you can take advantage of the position of the sun to keep water warm • Assumption is that these rooms had large windows openng toward the south to let the light in • Aid in maintaining adequate temperature • In antiquity you would have netered in various entrances, (4 in total) and these rooms would lead into a vestebule fromw hich you had a view of a large swimming pool (natatio) • Olympic size swimmign pool, but not deep (1m deep). Rather a pool where you coudl stand and hang out in • The first room you could enter was the dressing room, where people could undress • We know there was a lot of theft going on in the baths • People left their belongings with slaves to guard them • Another slave would accompany you to scrub your back • Had a variety of choices from where to go next • Excercise courts • Or actual bathign rooms • Or the natatio • This is one of the advantages/main featurs of thee imprial baths as they allow multiple different paths of circulation unlike the smaller baths in roman cities • Division of sexes was uncommon • Took place more in smaller neighborhood baths • Not imperial baths • But perhaps they had different times of bathing (rather than locations) • (2) open courtyard where peopel could exercise • Frgidarium had huge vaulted ceiling (20m high) had two pairs of cold chambers • Also a fountain basin • Niches richly decorated with statues - 120 in total I the baths • Tipidarium • Two large basins ont he side • Lukewarm • Coldrium • Circular • Covered by a dome • Number of plunge baths • Series of large windows to the south • Hot rooms on south side • (21 and 16) were sudatoria, or sweat rooms • Palaestra with exedraw and central niche • Walls covered with coloured marbles • Balconies on second floor? You could look into the palaestra and see what was going on • Coudl excercise here? • Green and red mosaic which decorated the floor • Soem mosaic decor felll in from second floor • Natatio • Interior wall has niches for statues • Smaller columns that framed the niches • Elaborate facade of coloured mabrles • Three storeys (simliar architecture to flavium amphitheatre) • Plunge baths mimick wine vats in which grapes were stomped on • Metal handle imitations which would, as a vat, be used to pick it up • The lion head woudl have served as a spout for wine vets • So it has a dionysiac context • Dionysus as the representation of bliss and well being • Mosaic from second floor • Black and white • Dolphin (far left) - friends of human, musical. So positively charge decoration • Middle - eros standing on a sea creature: Half fish half other animal and is an expression of the power of love (in a water theme) • Love tames teh sea creature • Exterior moulds ons outh side is damaged • So reconstruction of appearance of south side is not entirely cettain, but usually assumed that there were large windows to take control of natural light • What is left from coladrium: • Exterior is kind of gone • Huge brick and concrete pillars to hold up the vault • Very high • Small rooms but v. High (30m) lik Curia • Librry and sgairs lead to the aventine hill where it was densely populated Statues • Franesse bull • Sshows the punishment of Dirce byAmphion and Zetos • Punishing her for her mistreatment of their mother • Seems to have been a fountain (water came out of their soles) • Connection with water as it is a fountain • Violent theme, tries to stir up emotions • Heracles Farnese • Resting after his pursuits (labors?) • Copy of greek work • Caracalla modelled himself after Heracles • His representation here rsnoated with people using th epaths • He is resting not being heroic • Hes leaning on his club, covered with lion skin • Resonated with people execising • Men w
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