Cities of Vesuvius



- Syllabus Content -


Everyday life: leisure activities, food and dining, clothing, health, baths, water supply and sanitation

Baths

Few people had private bathing facilities.

A number of public baths have been discovered in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

A visit to the baths was a social occasion. See p134-5 for sources relating to activities within the baths.

Pompeii:
  • Stabian Baths (oldest)
  • Forum Baths
  • Central Baths (under construction at the time of the eruption)
  • Sarno Baths
  • Suburban Baths (Just outside Porta Marina)
  • Baths of Marcus Crassus Frugi – known from an inscription – these have not been located.

Herculaneum:
  • Forum Baths
  • Suburban Baths

Features of a bathing complex:
  • Different sections for men and women or different bathing hours for each gender.
  • Vaulted ceilings, walls and ceilings decorated in stucco, floors in mosaics.
  • Various rooms:
    • Apodyterium – changing and waiting room with niches
    • Frigidarium – circular cold bath
    • Tepidarium – warm room for transition from hot to cold and vice versa – laconium sometimes off the tepidarium
    • Caldarium – hot room, rectangular heated bath (alverus – could hold ten people, marble) and large circular basin (labrum) for cold water. Heating was provided by a hypocaust system.
  • An exercise area.
  • Stabian and Forum Baths in Pompeii and Forum Baths in Herculaneum had public toilets
  • Heating system - furnaces provide heat, heated air is sent through a hypocaust system to the caldarium and sometimes the tepidarium


Pompeii – Forum Baths
Forum_Baths_plan.jpg

Note: the plan on page 132 is of the Forum Baths in Pompeii NOT Herculaneum.

Links: Soprintendenza di Pompeii; images at Pompeiiinpictures; the Pompeii Forum Project has a plan and set of videos

  • Built around 80 BC by Lucius Caesius (duovir) and Caius Occius and Lucius Niraemius (aediles) according to two inscriptions
  • Uncovered in 1824
  • Only baths in operation at the time of the eruption in AD 79 as they had been repaired quickly after the earthquake of AD 62
  • Separated into men and women’s section; the men’s section was much larger and more ornately decorated
  • Palaestra in men’s section
  • Three entrances to the men’s section: Via delle Terme, Via del Foro, Vicolo delle Terme

Features

Apodyterium:
  • Had vaulted ceiling with stucco decorations, little of which remains
  • Walls didn’t contain recesses, so clothes were probably stored in a pile on the benches
  • Pavement of white mosaic with black band around edges
1531_pompei_forum_baths_apodyterium.jpg1533_pompei_forum_baths_apodyterium.jpg

Frigidarium:
  • Round room with dome skylight
  • Walls decorated with stucco friezes and pictorial representations of gardens and cupids
1534_pompei_forum_baths_frigidarium.jpg1535_pompei_forum_baths_frigidarium.jpg

Tepidarium:
  • Attractive room, ornamented with stucco panels along the ceiling of mythological scenes such as Eros with his bow, Apollo riding a griffin and Ganymede carried off by the eagle
  • Series of recesses along the walls, framed by terracotta Atlases, with entwining plant motifs also decorating walls
  • Large bronze brazier in the centre, that heated the entire room, decorated with insignia of donor Marcus Nigidius Vaccula who also donated three bronze seats, decorated with cow heads
1537_pompei_forum_baths_tepidarium.jpg1536_pompei_forum_baths_tepidarium.jpg

1545_pompei_forum_baths.jpgCaldarium:
  • Constructed so warm air could circulate to heat the entire room
  • Stucco roof
  • End wall features labrum in the centre
  • Labrum was provided in 3 - 4 AD
  • Alverus on opposite side
1543_pompei_forum_baths_caldarium.jpg1544_pompei_forum_baths_caldarium.jpg

Palaestra
1530_pompei_forum_baths_palaestra.jpg



forum_baths_herculaneum_small.jpgHerculaneum – Forum Baths

Men’s Section
A Apodyterium
B Frigidarium
C Tepidarium
D Caldarium

Women’s Section
E Waiting room
F Apodyterium
G Tepidarium
H Caldarium

Note: the plan on page 132 is of the Forum Baths in Pompeii NOT Herculaneum.

  • Built around 10 BC
  • Women’s section was smallest and least decorated, but has best preserved structure
  • Palaestra in men’s section
  • Figures of fish decorated vaulted ceiling of frigidarium

Women's section - apodyterium
The floor is decorated with a mosaic of Triton and sea creatures.
1963_female_baths_apodyterium.jpg1980_female_baths_apodyterium.jpg

Women's section - tepidarium
1973_female_baths_tepidarium.jpg1972_female_baths_tepidarium.jpg

Women's section - caldarium
1977_female_baths_caldarium.jpg1976_female_baths_caldarium.jpg

Men's section - entrance and palaestra
1982_male_baths_entrance.jpg1983_male_baths_palaestra.jpg

Men's section - apodyterium
1986_male_baths_apodyterium.jpg1987_male_baths_apodyterium.jpg

Men's section - frigidarium
2003_male_baths_frigidarium.jpg

Men's section - tepidarium
Floor mosaic of "galloping triton" - hypocaust can be seen at the base of the walls.
1992_male_baths_tepidarium.jpg1991_male_baths_tepidarium.jpg

Men's section - caldarium
1997_male_baths_caldarium.jpg1995_male_baths_caldarium.jpg

http://space.reggionet.it/pompei/ercolanoqtvr/tour.htm