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Baths of Pompeii
Location: Regio VII
Description of Forum Baths of Pompeii
Forum Baths of Pompeii don't impress with size or scope
of its structure. However it is one of the most elegant and well-
preserved baths in the city. Many murals, sculptures and interior
reliefs retained their freshness, while bright color pigments are still
visible on the walls and ceiling of Forum Baths.
Forum Baths of Pompeii were built by the orders of
duumvirs (Pompeii city officials) Lucius Caesius with participation of
aediles Caius Occius and Lucius Niraemius in the 1st century AD at the
crossroads of Via del Foro and Via delle Terme. Line most of the Roman
baths, the Forum Baths were divided into male (green on a image below
left) and female (light blue section) sections
separate from each other. Several narrow rooms (pink section) between these parts were
reserved for bath employees. They brought in firewood, water, wine and
anything rich visitors asked for. They had their own separate entrance
from Via della Terma street so they won't bother clients as they run
section of Forum Baths had its own dressing room, frigidarium (cold
room), tepidarium (hot room) and caldarium with two baths. One of these
baths is lined with beautiful white marble that still bears an
inscription in Latin that states that this beautiful bath was donated by
duumvirs Cn. Melissaeius Aper and M. Staius Rufus for the price of 5,250
sesterces, a huge sum by the standards of the day.
Archeologists didn't find any obvious niches in the wall.
Instead they discovered holes from nails that held wooden boxes.
Customers could leave their personal possessions and clothes while they
relaxed and socialized. Female section of Forum Baths had a small
charming garden where women could relax, read or simply breath some
fresh air. Forum Baths were located in a down town of the ancient
Pompeii, so the land was highly expensive. It prevented construction of
large palaestra or open air exercise space.
Plan of Forum Baths in Pompeii. In the green are the male part,
blue - female, pink - utility rooms for workers. The relative small
size of the Forum Baths gives the right to some historians to assert
that these baths were intended not for residents of the city of
Pompeii, but for guests. Of course it is a speculation. It is
possible that the Terms of the Forum simply could not be increased
due to other buildings that surrounded the baths.