Stabian Baths of Pompeii

Stabian Baths of Pompeii



Location: Regio VII


Description of Stabian Paths in Pompeii

 Stabian Baths of Pompeii   Stabian Baths of Pompeii  Stabian Baths of Pompeii  Stabian Baths of Pompeii

Stabian Baths of PompeiiStabian 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.


 Stabian Baths of Pompeii  Stabian Baths of Pompeii  Stabian Baths of Pompeii


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.

Stabian Baths of Pompeii

Stabian Baths of Pompeii  Stabian Baths of Pompeii


After locker 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 steam room.


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.