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BATHS

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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 515 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BATHS. In the ordinary acceptation of the word a bath is the immersion of the body in a, medium different from the ordinary one of atmospheric air, which medium is usually common water in some form. In another sense it includes the different media that may be used, and the various arrangements by which they are applied. Ancient Baths.—Bathing, as serving both for cleanliness and for pleasure, has been almost instinctively practised by nearly every people. The most ancient records mention bathing in the rivers Nile and Ganges. From an early period the Jews bathed in running water, used both hot and cold baths, and employed oils and ointments. So also did the Greeks; their earliest and commonest form of bathing was swimming in rivers, and bathing in them was practised by both sexes. Warm baths were, according'to Homer, used after fatigue or exercise. The Athenians appear for a long time to have had only private baths, but after-wards they had public ones: the latter seem to have originated among the Lacedaemonians, who invented the hot-air bath, at least the form of it called after them the laconicum. Although the baths of the Greeks were not so luxurious as those of some other nations, yet effeminate people were accused among them of using warm baths in excess; and the bath servants appear to have been rogues and thieves, as in later and larger establishments. The Persians must have had handsomely equipped baths, for Alexander the Great admired the luxury of the bath of Darius. But the baths of the Greeks, and probably of all Eastern nations, were on a small scale as compared with those which eventually sprang up among the Romans. In early times the Romans used after exercise to throw themselves into the Tiber. Next, When ample supplies of water were brought into the city, large piscinae, or cold swimming baths, were constructed, theearliest of which appear to have been the piscina publics 6'2 B.C.), near the Circus Maximus, supplied by the Appian aqueduct, the lavacrum of Agrippina, and a bath at the end of the Clivus Capitolinus. Next, small public as well as private baths were built; and with the empire more luxurious forms of bathing were introduced, and warm became far more popular than cold baths. Public baths (balneae) were first built in Rome after Clodius brought in the supply of water from Praeneste. After that date baths began to be common both in Rome and in other Italian cities; and private baths, which gradually came into use, were attached to the villas of the wealthy citizens. Maecenas was one of the first who built public baths at his own expense. After his time each emperor, as he wished to ingratiate himself with the people, lavished the revenues of the state in the construction of enormous buildings, which not only contained suites of bathing apartments, but included gymnasia, and sometimes even theatres and libraries: Such enormous establishments went by the name of thermae. The principal thermae were those of Agrippa 21 B.C., of Nero 65 A.D., of Titus 8x, of Domitian 95, of Commodus 185, of Caracalla 217, and still later those of Diocletian. 302, and of Constantine. The technical skill displayed by the Romans in rendering their walls and the sides of reservoirs impervious to moisture, in conveying and heating water, and in constructing flues for the conveyance of hot air through the walls, was of the highest order. The Roman baths contained swimming baths, warm baths, baths of hot air, and vapour baths. The chief rooms (which in the largest baths appear to have been mostly distinct, whereas in smaller baths one chamber was made to do duty for more than a single purpose) were the following:—(1) The apodyterium or spoliatorium, where the bathers undressed; (2) the alipterium or unctuarium, where oils and ointments were kept (although the bathers often brought their own pomades), and where the aliptae anointed the bathers; (3) the frigidarium, or cool room', cella frigida, in which usually was the cold bath, the piscine o; baptisterium; (4) the tepidarium, a room moderately heated, in which the bathers rested for a time, but which was not meant for bathing; (5) the calidarium or heating room, over the hypocaustum or furnace; this in its commonest arrangement had at one end a warm bath, the alveus or calida lavatio; at the other end in a sort of alcove was (6) the sudatorium or laconicum, which usually had a labrum or large vessel containing water, with which bathers sprinkled themselves to help in rubbing off the perspiration. In the largest baths the laconicum was probably a separate chamber, a circular domical room with recesses in the sides, and a large openirtrg in the top; but there is no well-preserved specimen, unless that at Pisa may be so regarded. In the drawing of baths from the thermae of Titus (fig. 1), the laconicum is represented as a small cupola rising in a corner of the calidarium. It is known that the temperature of the laconicum was regulated by drawing up- or down a metallic plate or clypeus. Some think that this clypeus was directly over the flames of the hypocaustum, and that when it was withdrawn; the flames must have sprung into the laconicum. Others, and apparently they have Vitruvius on their side, think that the clypeus was drawn up or down only from the aperture in the roof, and that it regulated the temperature simply by giving more or less free exit to the hot air. If the laconicum was only one end• of the calidarium, it is difficult to see how that end of the room was kept so much hotter than the rest of it; on the other hand, to have had flames actually issuing from the laconicum must have caused smoke and soot, and have been very unpleasant. The most usual order in which the rooms were employed seems to have been the following, but there does not appear to have been any absolute uniformity of practice then, any more than in modern Egyptian and Turkish baths. Celsus recommends the bather first to sweat a little in the tepidarium with his clothes on, to be anointed there, and then to pass into the calidarium; after he has sweated freely there he is not to descend into the solium or cold bath, but to have plenty of water poured over him from his head,—first warm, then tepid, and then cold water—the water being poured longer over his head than on the rest of the body; next to be scraped with the strigil, and lastly to be rubbed and anointed. The warmest of the heated rooms, i.e. the calidarium and laconicum, were heated directly from the hypocaustum, over which they were built or suspended (suspensura) ; while from the hypocaustum tubes of brass, or lead, or pottery carried the hot air or vapour to the walls of the other rooms. The walls were usually hollow, so that the hot air could readily circulate. The water was heated ingeniously. Close to the furnace, about 4 in. off, was placed the calidarium, the copper (ahenum) for boiling water, near which, with the same interval between them, was the copper for warm water, the tepidarium, and at the distance of 2 ft. from this was the receptacle for cold water; or the frigidarium, often a plastered reservoir. A constant communication was kept up between these vessels,so that as fast as hot water was drawn off from the calidarium a supply was obtained from the tepidarium, which, being already heated, but slightly reduced the temperature of the hotter boiler. The tepidarium, again, wag supplied from the frigidariurn, and that from an aqueduct.; In this way the heat which was not taken up by the first boiler passed on to the second, and instead of being wasted, helped to heat the second-a principle which has only lately been introduced into modern furnaces. In the case of the large thermae the water of an aqueduct was brought to the castellum or top of the building and was allowed to descend into chambers over the hypocaustum, where it was heated and transmitted in pipes to the central buildings. Remains of this arrangement are to be seen in the baths of Caracalla. The general plan of such buildings may be more clearly understood by the accompanying illustrations. In the well-known drawing (fig. I) found in the baths of Titus, the name of each part of the building is inscribed on it. The small dome inscribed laconicum directly over the furnace, and having the clypeus over it, will be observed in the corner of the chamber named concamerata sudatio. The vessels for water are inscribed, according to their temperature, with the same names as some of - the chambers, frigidarium, tepidarium and calidarium. The baths of Pompeii (as shown in fig. 2)were a double set, and were surrounded with tabernae or shops, which are marked by a lighter shade. There were streets on four sides; and the reservoir supplying water was across the street in the building on the left hand of the cut. There were three public entrances—2 la, 2Ib, aIC—to the men's baths and one to the women's. The furnaces (q) heated water, which was conveyed on one side to the larger baths of the men, on the other to the women's. Entering from the street at 2IC there was a latrina on the left hand (22). From this entrance it was usual to proceed to a court (20) surrounded by pillars, where servants were in attendance. There is some doubt as to the purpose to which the room (ig) was devoted. Leaving the hall a passage conducted to the apodyterium or dressing-room (I7), at one end of it is the frigidarium, baptisterium or cold plunge bath (18). Entering out of the apodyterium is the tepidarium or warming-room (15), which most probably was also used as the alipterium or anointing-room. From it bathers passed into the hot room or calidarium (12), which had at one end the alveus or calida iavatio (13), at the other end the labrum (14). This end of the calidarium served as the laconicum. The arrange-ments of the women's baths were similar, but on a smaller scale. The calidarium (5) had the labrum (q) at one end, and the alveus (6) was in one side of the room. The general arrangements of a the fornax; and the passages in the roof and walls for the escape of heated air will be observed. A clear idea of the relative position of the different rooms, and some slight indication of their ornamentation, will be obtained from fig. 4. The flues under the calidarium and the labrum (I) may be observed, as also the opening in the roof above. (2), (3) and (4) mark the vessels for water which are placed between the men's baths on the left and the women's on the right. The arrangements of the thermae were mainly those 'of the balneae on a larger scale. Some idea of their size may be gathered
End of Article: BATHS
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