Baths Of Caracalla, Regal Roman Architecture

Constructed in Rome, around AD 212 to 215, the Baths of Caracalla were the second largest public bath houses, or 'thermae.' Quite an impressive sight to behold now, one can only imagine the sight it must have been then.

baths of caracalla

The Roman Baths of Caracalla were much more than a few pools that the citizens of Rome could take a quick dip in.

In fact, the main bath house was about 750 feet long and 380 feet wide. During this period, it was quite common for all Roman citizens to visit the thermae, except, of course, for children, who were not allowed.

Women were typically allowed in during the morning to early afternoon hours, as husbands were busying themselves with the day's work.

After Noon, women were not permitted and it was the men's turn to monopolize the steaming hot pools and refreshing cold pools, or 'frigidariums.'

Typically, women and men would visit the bath houses not only for hygienic reasons, but to relax, discuss business, spend relaxing time with a suitor or socialize in some other way.

While men and women, nobility and the poor could enjoy the steam rooms, the hot pools and the cold pools, in the Baths of Caracalla, there was quite a bit more to enjoy. For instance, the 'natatio,' at the North end of the bath building.

A natatio is simply a swimming pool. Here, there was no roof and bronze mirrors which were mounted to the walls were directed in such a way to reflect more sunlight toward the pool. Interested spectators could gather in one of the two 'palaestras' and watch an exciting wrestling or sparring match. Others who were less interested in violence and more interested in say, literature or education could visit the library with in the complex.

Divided into two rooms, one housed texts in Greek and the other contained Latin volumes. Noble or well to do ladies might have visited the shops in order to find something interesting and citizens of all social and financial status regularly enjoyed the amenities of the bath houses.

baths-of-caracalla-entranceThe Baths of Caracalla were heated by a quite complex system called a 'hypocaust.' Water which flowed from the springs in the hills near Subiaco flowed into the aqueducts and was then heated by a very large furnace.

This furnace burned coal and wood under ground and the bath houses were build in such a way as to sit above these furnaces.

This system was actually functional up until the 19th century. Quite a beautiful and awe-inspiring design, the Baths of Caracalla became inspiration for such designs as the Pennsylvania Station in New York City and the National Assembly Building in Bangladesh.

What may be even more awe-inspiring is the resonating story that the baths tell about the day to day life of the Ancient Roman people.

The Baths of Caracalla surely must have been one of the most regal structures in Ancient Rome, as it maintains an aura of majestic beauty even to this day for Roman architecture.

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