The Famous Baths of the Roman Empire

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Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 15 June 2023

Roman Baths were designed for bathing and relaxing and were a common feature of cities throughout the Roman empire. Baths included a wide diversity of rooms with different temperatures, as well as swimming pools and places to read, relax, and socialise. Roman baths, with their large covered spaces, were important drivers in architectural innovation, notably in the use of domes.

Baths and the need to create large airy rooms with lofty ceilings brought the development of the architectural dome. The earliest surviving dome in Roman architecture is from the frigidarium of the Stabian Baths at Pompeii, which dates to the 2nd century BCE. The development of concrete in the form of stiff mortared rubble allowed unsupported walls to be built ever wider apart, as did hollow brick barrel vaults supported by buttress arches and the use of iron tie bars. These features would become widely used in other public buildings and especially in large constructions such as basilicae. Even in modern times Roman baths have continued to influence designers, for example, both the Chicago Railroad Station and the Pennsylvania Station in New York have perfectly copied the architecture of the great frigidarium of the Baths of Caracalla.



0:00​ Introduction
0:56 The Roman Baths
4:42 Elements of Roman Bathing Complexes
6:10 Engineering and Architecture
8:45 Outro

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

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#history #ancientrome #romanhistory #romanbaths

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, June 15). The Famous Baths of the Roman Empire. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Famous Baths of the Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified June 15, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Famous Baths of the Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 15 Jun 2023. Web. 12 Jul 2024.