Taking a bath in Roman times

May 12, 2020 3:04 pm

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In our age of modern plumbing we take it for granted that if we want to have a bath we just turn on the tap, pour in some bubble bath or salts for preference and off we go, that’s a good half hour to an hour sorted. Not so in the Roman times having a bath was quite a long winded process that had definite social aspects and even business aspects as well. You could be looking at a nice 3 to 4 hour process. What did they find the time to do?

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First they had to go to either the public baths or they had their own if they were very rich. One of the best examples is at Chedworth Roman Villa which has the whole lot. If the lord of the Villa stated they wanted a bath the Slaves and servants started to get the fires going to warm up the huge bath of water ready for the process to begin. Hopefully the pipes from the spring were ok otherwise they’d be Finding a good plumber in Gloucester to come and have a look. A Gloucester Plumber, or Glevum as it was then called, would be a few hours getting their sadly.

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The bathing process was to go into a sauna and sweat out the dirt from the pores. Then they would get in the warm bath followed by a jump into the cold bath water. The final stage was to coat the body in oil, not soap, and scrape it with a blunt hook.