Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


16.6.10
  Bathing Habits

After the arrival of the Romans, some Germans no longer liked their bathrooms.

I'm cold. -- Don't be so sensitive.
I'm going to marry a Roman, then I'll go to the public baths every morning.

Well, you can't really blame her if you look at the baths in Colonia Ulpia Traiana, today known as Xanten.

The baths in Colonia Traiana, seen from the second floor of the museum

The remains of the baths are covered with a metal and glass structure that represents the original size of the building. It's an amazing mix of old stones and modern design that works pretty well. There will be a post dedicated to those baths, with more pics.

The baths in Colonia Traiana, outside view

Baths that size could only be found in Roman towns; a good example are the Imperial Baths in Trier. In Rome, public baths often were gifts from emperors (for example Caracalla), in the provincial towns they were usually paid for by rich citizens.

But those times weren't to last.

A bath house at the Siegfriedspektakel in Xanten

I've mentioned the Mediaeval renfair that took place in Xanten while I was there. Among the many fun things was a bath house.

At least the water in those tubs was warm, but it's still a far cry from Roman baths, even the smaller ones like the reconstructed baths of the inn in Colonia Ulpia Traiana.

One of the rooms in the baths of the inn, reconstruction in the AP Xanten

That one reminds a bit of the baths in Segedunum; a bath of smaller scale you'd find the in the Roman border forts. But those were still larger than the Middle Age tubs - not to mention the latter were lacking the ingenious hypocaust construction for heating the rooms.

Another photo of the Mediaeval bath house

You could take a bath in those tubs but I prefered the shower in my hotel. Though for the renactors who lived in tents for four days it was an option, esp. considering the cold weather.
 
Comments:
My idea of a perfect bath is one you stepd down in, Roman style, not one you climb in!
 
Yeah, those are much nicer. Though some of the smaller Roman baths had a sort of jacuzi tubs rather than pools.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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