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Baths of Caracalla (Rome, 3rd century)

Baths of Caracalla (Rome, 3rd century)

The magnificent bath complex of the Roman Emperor was built in the 3rd century AD.

History

Keywords

Caracalla, thermae, bath, World Heritage, Rome, Római Birodalom, antiquity, culture, building, edifice, marble, mosaic floor, frigidarium, apodyterium, tepidarium, underfloor heating, imperial period, architecture, ruler, promenade, history

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Questions

  • Is it true that there was no entrance fee in ancient Roman baths?
  • Who were not allowed to use ancient Roman baths?
  • Which of these could not be found in ancient Roman baths?
  • Which of these could not be found in ancient Roman baths?
  • Which service was not available in an average ancient Roman bath?
  • Which room was nearest to the entrance of a bath?
  • Is it true that ancient Roman baths were important centres of social life?
  • Is it true that there were no shops around the bath buildings?
  • Which of these was not typically found in ancient Roman baths?
  • What did women in ancient Rome wear in the bath?
  • Which dynasty of Emperors was Caracalla a member of?
  • In which century did Caracalla reign ?
  • Near which Roman city was the Bath of Caracalla built?
  • How many people could the Bath of Caracalla hold?
  • How many people visited the bath per day?
  • Is it true that we only know about the Bath of Caracalla from written historical records?
  • Why was the Bath of Caracalla in use only until the 6th century?
  • How large was the area of the baths (including the outer walls)?
  • How many cisterns were used to store water arriving from the aqueduct?
  • What were the pipes that led water to the Bath made of?
  • How many furnaces were used to heat the Bath of Caracalla?
  • How much wood was burnt per day on average?
  • Which room was the centre of the bath?
  • Was it a cold or a warm room that people used last in the bath?
  • Was it a cold or a warm room that people used first in the bath?
  • How many warm pools were there in the caldarium?
  • What was the total length of the underground passage system?
  • What was used to heat floors and walls in ancient Rome?
  • What was under the floor of rooms in ancient Roman baths?
  • What was the shape of the caldarium in the Baths of Caracalla?
  • What material was the floor made of in most of the ancient Roman baths?
  • What does the word ‘mosaic’ mean?
  • What was the ancient Roman word for ‘bath’?

Scenes

Baths of Caracalla

Cutaway

Parts of the bath

  • natatio - Cold-water, open-air swimming pool.
  • nymphaeum - Sanctuaries of the goddesses of springs, the nymphs.
  • caldarium - A hot, dry room with a hot tub (alveus) and a cold tub (labrum).
  • palestra - Sports rooms.
  • sudatorium - Sweating-room.
  • frigidarium - A large cold pool used before getting dressed.
  • apodyterium - Changing rooms with cubicles in the wall for storing clothes.
  • entrance
  • tepidarium - A warm room to prepare the body, sometimes with a warm pool.
  • garden
  • promenade
  • service buildings

Hypocaust

  • 90 cm
  • pillars (suspensurae)
  • hot air
  • layer of tiles
  • layer of concrete
  • mosaic floor
  • fireplace
  • brick wall with holes

Walk

Animation

  • natatio - Cold-water, open-air swimming pool.
  • caldarium - A hot, dry room with a hot tub (alveus) and a cold tub (labrum).
  • palestra - Sports rooms.
  • sudatorium - Sweating-room.
  • frigidarium - A large cold pool used before getting dressed.
  • apodyterium - Changing rooms with cubicles in the wall for storing clothes.
  • tepidarium - A warm room to prepare the body, sometimes with a warm pool.
  • garden
  • promenade
  • service buildings
  • 90 cm
  • pillars (suspensurae)
  • hot air
  • layer of tiles
  • layer of concrete
  • mosaic floor
  • fireplace
  • brick wall with holes

Narration

Among so many other things, the magnificence of ancient Roman culture and architecture is demonstrated by the baths, or thermae. Roman Emperors were eager to build more and more splendid and monumental thermae. The Baths of Caracalla were built in the south of Rome in the 3rd century AD.

The baths were situated on an area of about 300 m by 300 m. Service buildings were connected to the outer walls, there were shops and also a library. Inside the walls, there was a garden with promenades. The spa building was enormous; it measured more than 200 m in width and more than 100 m in length. The building consisted of several interconnected circular and polygonal halls covered by domes and groin vaults. The baths could hold up to 1,600 visitors at the same time.

There were rooms and pools of different temperatures, from cold to hot. Thermae offered varied services such as changing rooms, massage rooms, saunas and sports areas. The most important rooms in the baths were the frigidarium, with four cold pools; the open-air swimming pool (or natatio) and the caldarium, with seven warm pools. The walls were covered with marble and decorated with mosaics and statues.

Water was provided by an underground pipe system, through 18 cisterns. Rooms were usually heated with a hypocaust, an underground heating system. The floor was raised above the ground by pillars, and air heated by furnaces circulated in the space between them. Brick walls containing empty spaces inside or pipes could also be heated with this method. There were 50 furnaces to ensure continuous heating.

The bath complex of Caracalla is one of the best preserved Roman buildings of this kind. It was included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Cultural sites in 1980.

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