The Ancient Library

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describes the public baths as obscura et gregali teclorio inducta, and as so simple in their arrange­ments that the aedile judged of the proper tem­perature by his hands. These were baths of warm water; but the practice of heating an apartment with warm air by flues placed immediately under it, so as to produce a vapour bath, is stated by Va­lerius Maximus (ix. 1. § 1) and by Pliny (H. N. ix. 54. s. 79) to have been invented by Sergius Grata, who lived in the age of L. Crassus, the orator, before the Marsic war. The expression used by Valerius Maximus is balnea pensilia, and by Pliny lalineas pensiles^ which is differently explained by different commentators ; but a single glance at the plans inserted below will be sufficient in order to comprehend the manner in which the flooring of the chambers was suspended over the hollow cells of the hypocaust, called by Vitruvius suspensura caldariorum (v. 11), so as to leave no doubt as to the precise meaning of the invention, which is more fully exemplified in the following passage of Au-sonius (Mosell. 337):—

" Quid (memorem) quae sulphurea substructa cre-

pidine fumant

Balnea, fervent! cum Mulciber haustus operto, Volvit anhelatas tectoria per cava flammas, Inclusum glomerans aestu exspirante vaporem ? "

By the time of Cicero, the use of baths, both public and private, of warm water and hot air, had become general (Epist. ad Q. Frat. iii. 1) ; and we learn from one of his orations that there were already baths (balneas Senias) at Rome, which were open to the public upon payment of a small sum (Pro Gael 25, 26).

In the earlier ages of Roman history a much greater delicacy was observed with respect to bath­ing, even amongst the men, than was usual among the Greeks ; for according to Valerius Maximus (ii. 1. § 7) it was deemed indecent for a father to bathe in company with his own son after he had attained the age of puberty, or a son-in-law with his father-in-law. (Comp. Cic. De Off. i. 35, De Orat. ii. 55.) But virtue passed away as wealth increased ; and when the thermae came into use, not only did the men bathe together in numbers, but even men and women stripped and bathed promiscuously in the same bath. It is true, how­ever, that the public establishments often con­tained separate baths for both sexes adjoining to each other (Vitruv. v. 10 ; Varro,De Ling. Lat. ix. 68), as will be seen to have been the case at the baths of Pompeii. Aulus Gellius (x. 3) relates a story of a consul's wife who took a whim to bathe at Teanum (Teano), a small provincial town of Campania in the men's baths (balneis virilibus) ; probably, because in a small town, the female de­partment, like that at Pompeii, was more confined and less convenient than that assigned to the men ; and an order was consequently given to the Quaes­tor, M. Marius, to turn the men out. But whether the men and women were allowed to use each other's chambers indiscriminately, or that some of the public establishments had only one common set of baths for both, the custom prevailed under the Empire of men and women bathing indiscrimi­nately together. (Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 12. s. 54.) This custom was forbidden by Hadrian (Spart. ftadr. c. 1), and by M. Aurelius Antoninus (Capi-tolin. Anton. c. 23) ; and Alexander Severus pro­hibited any baths, common to both sexes (balnea


miocta), from being opened in Rome. (Lamprid. Aleoc. Sev. c. 42.)

When the public baths (balneae") were first in­stituted, they were only for the lower orders, who alone bathed in public; the people of wealth, as well as those who formed the equestrian and sena-torian orders, used private baths in their own houses. But as early even as the time of Julius Caesar we find no less a personage than the mother of Augustus making use of the public establish­ments (Suet. Aug. 94) ; and in process of time even the emperors themselves bathed in public with the meanest of the people. (Spart. ffadr. c. 17 ; Trebell. Pollio, De Gallien. duob. c. 17.)

The baths were opened at sunrise, and closed at sunset; but in the time of Alexander Severus, it would appear that they were kept open nearly all night. (Lamp. Alex. Sev. I. c.) The allusion in Juvenal (balnea node subit. Sat. vi. 419) pro­bably refers to private baths.

The price of a bath was a quadrans, the smallest piece of coined money, from the age of Cicero down wards (Cic. Pro Cael. 26 ; Hor. Sat. i. 3. 137 ; Juv. Sat. vi. 447), which was paid to the keeper of the bath (balneator) ; and hence it is termed by Cicero, in the oration just cited, quadrantaria per-mutatiO) and by Seneca (Ep. 86) res quadrantaria. Children below a certain age were admitted free. (Juv. Sat. ii. 152.)

Strangers, also, and foreigners were admitted to some of the baths, if not to all, without payment, as we learn from an inscription found at Rome, and quoted by Pitiscus. (Lex Antiq.)




The baths were closed when any misfortune happened to the republic (Fabr. Descr. Urb. Rom. c. 18); and Suetonius says that the Emperor Caligula made it a capital offence to indulge in the luxury of bathing upon any religious holiday. (/&.) They were originally placed under the superintendence of the aediles, whose business it was to keep them in repair, and to see that they were kept clean and of a proper temperature. (Ib.; Sen. Ep. 8 6.) In the provinces the same duty seems to have devolved upon the quaestor, as may be inferred from the passage already quoted from Aulus Gellius (x. 3).

The time usually assigned by the Romans for taking the bath was the eighth hour, or shortly afterwards. (Mart. Ep. x. 48, xi. 52.) Before that time none but invalids were allowed to bathe in public. (Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 24.) Vitruvius reckons the hours best adapted for bathing to be from mid-day until about sunset (v. 10). Pliny took his bath at the ninth hour in summer, and at the eighth in winter (Ep. iii. 1, 8) ; and Martial speaks of taking a bath when fatigued and weary, at the tenth hour, and even later. (Epig. iii. 36, x.70.)

When the water was ready, and the baths pre­pared, notice was given by the sound of a bell — aes thermarum. (Mart. Ep. xiv. 163.) One of these bells, with the inscription firmi balnea-toris, was found in the thermae Diocletianae, in the year 1548, and came into the possession of the learned Fulvius Ursinus. (Append, ad Ciaccon. de Triclin.)

Whilst the bath was used for health merely or cleanliness, a single one was considered sufficient

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