The Roman Bath House
Today, we as Americans look at bathing to be a very personal and private experience. We do it in the privacy of our own homes and on most occasions, by ourselves. We tend to be more modest than other countries. So one might think of bathing with several other people at the same time would definitely be an awkward situation. But for the Romans, it was a social norm. It was far from simply being a place for people to cleanse themselves, the Roman baths provided an opportunity for citizens to socialize, exercise, and unwind after a day's or week's worth of work. Some bath houses even offered extra activities to do rather than just a place to bathe.
Roman bath houses were a feature of engineering at the time. They drew off of the natural hot springs from under the ground, and a system of pumps brought water up which was then put in a pool. Heaters were created to maintain the warm temperatures in the baths. Although Roman bath houses were intended for use by everyone, there were separate houses designated for men and women, so bathing together was not an option. Obviously men and women both used the bathhouse, but at different times during the day. Each group had a scheduled time, but the women's scheduled time was shorter than the men’s. Although the women got hours to bathe compared to the men, their fee was twice as high as the men's.
For the most part, the history of the Roman bath reflects the idea that the baths were a community gathering place. In addition, many bathhouses also had workout equipment nearby for men to strength train with weights or toss around a discus.
Men brought and used oils after bathing, and those in the upper classes brought along servants to carry their towels, oils, and clothing. Most bath houses were pretty large holding up to 3,000 people so obviously theft was always a
possibility. The wealthy citizens almost always bathed daily, were as the lower class citizens bathed maybe weekly. In order...