Bathing in Public in the Roman World
For Romans, bathing was a social event. Public baths, in fact, were one of the few places where large numbers of Romans gathered daily in an informal context. They went to meet friends, drink wine, pick up sexual partners, and generally while away the idle afternoon hours. Despite the disapproval of the morally superior, the popularity of the baths endured for over a millennium and spread to every corner of the Roman world.
This book is the first to study the Roman public bathing experience primarily as a historical, social, and cultural phenomenon rather than a technological or architectural one. As a result, many issues are developed here that have to date been addressed only superficially. Fagan reconstructs what a trip to a Roman bath was like. He asks when and why the baths became popular at Rome, who built and maintained the abundant bathing establishments, and what sociological function the baths played in the Roman empire's rigidly hierarchical social order.
To throw light on these everyday topics the author deploys a wide variety of evidence, including literary allusions; the remains of the baths themselves, graffiti scribbled on bathroom walls; and, above all, formal inscriptions that throw light on the ubiquitous bathing culture.
In the course of this study Fagan challenges some widely held beliefs about baths, ranging from such broad notions of baths as palaces of public hygiene or places where the social identity of the bathers broke down, to more mundane matters such as the habitual donning of bathing costumes.
This volume will be of great interest for those studying luxury and public ostentation, municipal life, and the meaning of Roman leisure. Comparative evidence from other bathing cultures will also interest social anthropologists and historical sociologists.
Garret Fagan is Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Pennsylvania State University.
What people are saying - Write a review
A Visit to the Baths with Martial
The Growth of the Bathing Habit
Accounting for the Popularity of Public Baths
Baths and Roman Medicine
Bath Benefactors 1 Rome
Bath Benefactors 2 Italy and the Provinces
The Physical Environment Splendor and Squalor
The Spread of Public Bathing in the Italian Peninsula to ca AD 100
The Distribution of Nonimperial Baths in Rome
Parts of Baths Mentioned in the Epigraphic Sample
Index of Names
aedile ancient appears aqueduct Asclepiades attested Augustan Augustus Aurelius balnea Balneum bath benefactions bathers bathhouse bathing culture bathing habit baths are known Baths built building Campania century B.C. chapter Coarelli commemorated construction curator Curiosum decoration decurions dedicated dedit denarii Duncan-Jones duovir emperors Empire entries Ephesos epigraphic sample evidence facilities Flavius Forum Baths fragmentary free bathing Frontinus Greek Hadrian Herculaneum Hispania Tarraconensis Historia Augusta Ilvir inscription Italy located LTUR Lycia Manderscheid Martial mention Nielsen note the portion Notitia Numidia Ostia palaestra patron pecunia period PIR2 Plautus Pliny HN Pliny the Elder PLRE Pompeii portion that reads possible private benefactors public baths quattuorvir references Regio Republican restored Roman baths Rome second century senatorial sesterces slaves social Stabian Baths status Suburban Baths suggests text is cited Thermae of Agrippa thermarum third century tion town Trajan Trans Undated Yegiil
Poetry for Patrons: Literary Communication in the Age of Domitian
Ruurd R. Nauta
Limited preview - 2002
All Book Search results »
Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece
Limited preview - 2004