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Stabian Baths of Pompeii
Description of Stabian Paths in Pompeii
Baths of Pompeii is undoubtedly one of the most interesting
structures in the ancient Pompeii. Baths survived despite the
natural cataclysm that befell on the city. Interior of Stabian Baths
is covered by beautiful frescoes, carvings and statues. All
residents of the city visited some type of bath. Stabian baths were
reserved for some of the richest member of Pompeii society. Original
Stabian Baths appeared on this side in the 4th century BC. However
its current building was constructed in the 1st century BC by the
order of Roman governors of Pompeii, Julius and Publius Anisius,
appointed by Sulla. Its layout and architecture clearly indicates
influence of the Roman Republic that took possession of the city.
Stabian Baths is a complex of
buildings constructed a central area for exercise that is known as
palaestra. Here you could take a breath of fresh cold air, read, or
exercise. Two small rooms on each side of the open air gym were used
for rubbing sand and oil. It was a sneaky way to escape your
opponent in a wrestling match. Additionally palaestra of the Stabian
Baths had a swimming pool that measures 15 by 8 by 1.5 meters. It is
not exactly Olympic size pool, but it is of descent length. Statues
of Zeus, mythical hero Hercules and Satire was also present
indicated that the cult of masculinity and strength played a key
role in the lives of Pompeii residents.
Pompeii Stabian Baths were
divided into men's and women's parts as it was customary for the
time period. You could enter men's quarters through two entrances
from palaestra and from street Via dell'Abbondanza. The first room
they would enter was the locker room of baths. Walls were lined with
niches that stored clothes and personal belongings. Ceilings and
walls of the locker room is covered by beautiful frescoes and
figures of mythical creatures. Ancient paints didn't fade despite
hot temperatures and centuries of erosion.
Take a note at the bodies
those plaster molds were made within Pompeii Stabian Baths.
Surprisingly some residents of Pompeii were completely unaware of
the dangers that volcano eruption carried for the city. Apparently
they decided that natural cataclysm is a great time to visit local
baths. There are no line and entrance fee had to be dirt cheap.
Judging by the fact that bodies carried wooden flops on their legs
during their death, it indicates that these unfortunate victims were
in the hot room, when they decided to finally flee the city. Image
below shows part of the leg with remains of wooden flops with a
strap that was probably made from natural animal skin.
room visitors went into tepidarium (warm baths). Roman baths had a
double floor. The upper one stood on numerous pillars and supported
visitors. The space between upper and lower floor was a narrow space
that was warmed by fire. Workers of these Pompeii baths had to keep
burning firewood to keep the heat inside the steam room. Naturally
the floor got hot and the only way to walk across the floor was by
wearing wooden flops that were given to all visitors.
Visitors emerged from heated
steam room into a frigidarium. As the name suggest it was a cold
room. Women's section of Stabian Baths didn't have a separate frigidarium. Instead
they had a small bath in their own locker room along with a separate
Romans liked their public buildings and frequently
visited Stabian Baths. However it wasn't as clean as some people might
think. One of the best places to witness this is in the bath's small
pool. There is a lead pipe in the corner that brought water to the
Jacuzzi styled bath. However there is no outflow for the water. That
means that Romans rested, bathed and did their things in a water with no
circulation. Needless to stay it is somewhat controversial whether they
were cleaner or actually dirtier after they left the Baths. In fact one
of the Roman medical doctors advised his patients not to go to baths if
they had an open wound. Otherwise they would certainly die of gangrene.