Pass the Soap…

The American Professor Darius Arya has just finished a ten week excavation of an exceptionally well preserved Roman Bath Complex that dates to the Second Century.  Originally thought to be part of the magnificent residence of the “billionaire” of the day, Quintus Servius Pudens, new evidence has produced another theory.

The two story building which extends for at least 5 acres, comprised of several rooms, some small and others grand, and serviced by a maze of underground passageways… was merely the central piece of a greater complex with the surrounding grounds filled with gardens and sporting fields. 

Arya speculates that the Baths were in fact a type of “Club House”, and the entire complex was a “Country Club” where the wealthy had membership entitling them to use of the Baths, the gaming rooms, the Feasts and outdoor entertainments.

Emperor Hadrian was a Member of the Bath, as was most of the Senate.

A tablet with an elaborate set of “rules” was unearthed in the early phases of the excavation provides a invaluable insight to the customs of the day.

“No Running or diving”

“No glass receptacles”

“Not responsible for loss of personal property”

“No peeing in the bath”

“One towel per member”

“No reserving of stone benches”

“No bathing past 9:00PM on week nights”

“No tipping of servants”

Elsewhere in the complex remains have discovered of the Ancient Egyptian game “jackals and hounds” have been found.  Professor Arya has proposed that there were rooms dedicated to the playing of games, not unlike cards or mah jong rooms that would exist in a Country Club today.

Arya also points out that it is difficult to think of baths in our current frame of reference.  “It’s not like you hop in the tub, lather up, rinse off… hop out, towel dry, get into jammies and hit the sack.

“Romans would spend the entire day in the Baths… going from rooms that featured cold water, then hot water, then maybe a bubble bath, to a steam room, grab a snack, sit on a bench, gossip with a neighbor, take a snooze, perhaps a game of jackals and hounds, take a stroll thru through the gardens and then begin a cyle of bathing again.  This could continue to the wee hours of the day.

“But”, Arya is quick to point out “you would be hard pressed to find a bar of soap or a bottle of shampoo.”  Arya also added, “Not a lot got done in those days; but for the lucky, it was a helluva life.”

Work on the site will continue in the Spring with the hope of one day returning a portion of the Bath Complex to its original state of grandeur.  Professor Arya concludes, “it would be quite an achievement to restore the one of the rooms to working condition… I might take a bath myself!”

This entry was posted in History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *