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Lecture 10

CLA233H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Caldarium, Tepidarium, Frigidarium

Course Code
Michael J.Dewar

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CLA233 Lecture 10 Notes
Baths and Gymnasium
- average day – ancestors only washed arms and legs
- unknown exactly how often entire bodies were washed
- thought of hygiene ad health as exclusive
- Romans developed bathhouses – light began to enter the bath
- bathed at the end of the day – intensely connected with recreation
- choice of steam bathing, plunge bathing and exfoliation
- long, elaborate ritual
- depending on how large the bathing area was, they had multiple different
rooms for the bathing process
- series of rooms which are heated
- caldarium – hot room
- tepidarium – warm room
- frigidarium – cold room
- laconium – even hotter than the hot baths – “Laconium” – Spartans were
tough (Laconia)
- normal procedure is to go to the tepidarium, then to the frigidarium, and then
to the caldarium
- plunge baths often a choice of cold and hot
- sometimes there was a seawater option for bathing
- palaestra – recreational area – “wrestling room” – often games of catch or
dodgeball before or after bathing
- Roman obsession with perfume – both males and females – based on oil and
animal fat
- largest bathhouse – about 1600 people fit in a room
- caldarium – where everyone ended up – could skip some steps but this was
the one place they all went
- through the bounty of the Roman emperors, a commoner could enter for a
small fee and bathe like an emperor
- great imperial bathhouses – art, concerts, and leisure
- large number of prostitutes found in bathhouses
The Paradox of Life
- baths, wine, and sex – make you soft and ruin bodies
- notice the association of the three
- can get snacks and drinks at the baths
- bathing and dining are closely associated
Bathing and Dining
- letter by Cicero to a friend
- strange – refused visitors
- winter – days are shorter and therefore people bathed earlier while it was still
light out
- emetics – laxative cure
- normal routine to Cicero
- there were many bathhouses in Rome
- balnea thermae – imperial baths – hundreds and hundreds of people
- balnea – bathhouses of any kind – modestly sized – for a couple hundred
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