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Roman Baths at Bath

Roman Baths at Bath

Last updated on
7 /10

Place overview

Roman Baths at Bath
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Bathhouses were one of the most important social institutions of the Roman Empire. Here, citizens socialized and conducted business transactions – all while washing themselves.

One of the best-preserved bathhouses in the United Kingdom can be found in Bath in Somerset. The complex, known to the Romans as a thermae, was used extensively over the centuries during the Roman occupation of Britannia.

History

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The Roman Baths sprang up around the settlement of Aquae Sulis, which had been a Celtic religious center for centuries before the Romans arrived. The town was built around a sacred hot spring, which was dedicated to the localized Celtic goddess Sulis.

When the Romans took control of the area, they enacted their standard religious policy of merging local deities with Roman ones. Sulis became Sulis-Minerva, bonded with the Roman goddess of wisdom, and a temple was founded. Visitors would toss offerings into the spring and beseech Sulis-Minerva for aid.

The complex grew into a prominent bathhouse and survived up until the Romans left Britain in 410 AD before being falling into disrepair. At its largest extent in the 3rd Century AD, the bathhouse included a hot bath (caldarium), a tepid bath (tepidarium), and a cold bath (frigidarium) along with several other facilities.

Site features

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Now, the Baths are home to a dedicated Roman museum featuring objects excavated from the area such as the surviving temple decorations and the remains of a Roman underfloor heating system.

The site has a restaurant and toilet facilities and also preserves features from later periods.


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