Pompeians were squeaky clean, no doubt about it. There were multiple public baths in Pompeii and a good ol' soak was part of the daily routine. It was a bit of a ritual involving exercise, warm soak, a sauna, oiling and scrape-down, massage and more soakings in both warm and cold pools. They must have been one relaxed and happy bunch of folks with our equivalent of a spa treatment every day? I wonder how they got anything else accomplished...
The baths were inexpensive enough for almost anyone to use and were divided into separate areas for men and women. While a few of the very rich had private bathrooms at home, the public baths were a place for everyone else to relax, socialize and even do a little business.
The pictures are a sample of some of the lavish decoration in the Forum baths. This was a particularly impressive structure but too mobbed to really get any pictures of the rooms.
The Stabian Baths get their name as they lie on the corner of the Via Stabiana and the Via dell'Abbondanza. They are the oldest baths in Pompeii, built in the 4th century BC, although they have been restored and enlarged several times.
At the centre of the baths is a large Peristyle. The Eastern section of the complex contained the seperate men and women's rooms, with the furnace inbetween.
The Forum Baths in Pompeii are among the best preserved roman baths in the world. Situated just north of the forum, these Baths are the oldest in Pompeii.
As with many bath houses, there are seperate rooms for the men and women. The men's rooms are remarkably preserved, especially the Barrel Vault of the Tepidarium which still bears the 1st century stuco. The bronze brazier used to heat the room also survives.
The House of the Tragic Poet shows a typical layout of a Pompeiian house. The house is famous for its elaborate mosaics and frescos depicting scenes from mythology. There are fresco's of Zeus and Hera on Mount Ida, and on of Aphrodite (although this is now almost completely destroyed) on the south wall of the atrium. The eastern wall has scenes of Achilles and Briseis and of Helen and Paris from the Illiad. The West wall shows imaged of Amphritite and Poseidon, and also Achilles and Agamemnon.
The house gets its name from the elaborate mosaic in the centre of the Tablinum, showing one actor dressing and another playing the flute, while others surround a box of masks.
However, the most famous mosaic in the house is in the vestibule. It depicts a dog and has the words 'Cave Canem', meaning Beware of the Dog.
The Forum Baths are one of 2 bath complexes in Pompeii. It is very well preserved and contains some wonderful decor in the frigidorium and other rooms. The baths of course, were as throughout the Roman World, not only a place to bathe, but also a meeting place to discuss the events of the day.
Terme Suburbane (in English, suburban baths) were built in a private property in the first century B.C. on a artificial terrace in front of the sea and close to the town walls. The thermal rooms are sompteusement decorated. Here you can see a basin for the hot water and a small one for the cold water with nice frescos on the walls. Here you can see the ruins of an artificial waterfall which sprang water from an artificial cave. Above it you can see a fantastic mosaiques representing the god Mars and small courtships. In the frigidarium (cold room) you can see a decoration made with stucco. In the changing room you can see many interesting frescos showing erotic scenes, among which you can see the one representing 2 women in action which remains unique in the Roman painting.
Only few people every day can see it. You must book the visit on the site below.
Pompeii has a large amout of baths and Pomeians enjoyed going to them. They had all the facilities as well as dressing rooms for both woman and men. In the walls you get to see some frescos. Going to take a bath was also a social activity!
Your visit in the Terme del Foro continues across the tepidarium with the time adorned with plasters well preserved. The walls are decorated with telamons in ceramic; the large bronze brazier was realized, together to the seats, by Marco Nigidio Vaccula to whose surname alludes the cow modeled on the basin. In the calidarium you can see the bath for washing placed between 3 and 4 AD by the duoviri Cnaes Melissaeus Aper and Marcus Saius Rufus.
The Terme del Foro (in English, Forum's Bath) are along via del Foro and they were built at the beginning of the Roman colonization (80 B.C.). They are divided in the male and female sections.
The visit of the bath starts in via del Foro: walking through a small corridor you arrive in the the men's locker room were you can see niches for the suits and seats of attended. On the right wall you can see the FRIGIDARIUM decorated with plaster reliefs.
The Terme Centrali (central thermal baths) were built in 62 DC to replace the Terme Stabiane, but they were never completed. On the north and west side there were a series of shops. From the road you can see the great outdoor gym and the natatio not yet dressed with marbles.
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