When I first heard that we were going to the Roman Baths in England, I just thought that “baths” was a play on word for something else. Actually, they are the public baths (or at least they were way back when). The baths are located in Bath, England. In my opinion, who would want a city named Bath, even if it is named after something famous?
The Roman baths were founded in 860 BC. The Baths are big pools, and have water that is heated from the inside the Earth. It is basically a hot spring. The water comes up into a main pool, and flows through tunnels and into the separate baths. There is a cold pool, a warm pool, and a hot pool, but most visitors would go through all three. The water can get up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit!
Generally, a person would bathe, and then be massaged and oiled by a worker. They would be scrubbed by a tool made of metal or human bones, a stigil, and they say that it was an honor to work at the baths. The Baths were also the place where the men conducted business meetings and the ladies gossiped.
In the exhibit, there are penny sized gemstones in many colors that were found in the pool filters. The minerals in the water dissolved the wax used to hold the stones in ladies’ rings and they felt out. I wonder how relaxed they felt at the end of their bath when they realized their gemstone were missing?!
We listened with an audio tour while walking through the Baths, and I think that was the first time I have ever really enjoyed history. One thing is for sure: I’m very glad things have progressed since ancient times, and I don’t have to bathe in public!