Thermae Of Caracalla


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Thermae Of Caracalla

  1. 1. Thermae of Caracalla<br />The elder son of Emperor Septimius Severus was born 188 C.E. as Lucius Septimius Bassianus. After his death in February, 211, Septimus left his two sons, Lucius and Geta, squabbling over his throne. Only months had passed when Lucius murdered his brother in December in order to gain power. This man would later be called Caracalla, and he built the second largest bathhouse in the Roman Empire.<br />The Thermae of Caracalla was supposedly built just before or just after Caracalla's murder in 217, from 212-216 C.E. The bathhouse site was located in Rome, just to the Northeastern side of the present day Viale Guido Baccelli. The identity of the architect of the baths, however, has slipped out of recorded history. Historians are also unable to identify why the bathhouse was built. Theories include a tourist attraction, a monument for Caracalla, or simply a display of Caracalla's wealth and power. The history of why was lost with the fall of Rome.<br />Like all the thermae of the Empire, these baths included a frigidarium, or cold room, a tepidarium, the luke-warm room and a caldarium, the hot room. The Thermae of Caracalla contained extra rooms, two of which were palaestras, or boxing and wrestling gyms. The other was a library. The Caracalla bathhouse was the second thermae to incorporate a library. Its organization was that of regular libraries of time. The library was divided into two equivalent buildings, one for Greek texts and one for ancient Latin texts. <br />Externally, the baths measured about 412x393 meters. Its internal chamber measured 323x323 meters. Resources to build the thermae included 341,000 cubic meters of Pozzolana (a slag from volcanic refuse), 35,000 cubic meters of Quick Lime, 341,000 cubic meters of Tufa (rock from the bottom of a lake or pond), 150,000 cubic meters of Basalt for foundations, 17.5 million bricks for facing, 520,000 large bricks, 252 marble columns, 6,300 cubic meters of marble for ornamentation. At most, nearly 1,000 men worked on site at a time. The construction of the bathhouse walls was of masonry brick. The arches of the building were bound together with concrete mortar.<br />To supply the baths with water and to heat to tubs were impressive technological feats in Roman times. Luckily, the Empire was able to accomplish these tasks with the Hypocaust and the Aqua Marcia. The latter was the largest aqueduct in Rome. It supported various tributaries, such as the Marcia Iovia and the Marcia Tepula Iulia. Its main branch supplied the bathhouse with water. The Hypocaust was the system used to heat the baths. The lower floor of the thermae was the fire room, which contained a furnace. The gases and heat of the furnace would be allowed passage to the higher rooms, warming them. This made the tubs farther away from the fire room colder. Therefore, the frigidarium was always positioned the farthest away from the furnace chamber.<br />The baths still stand to this day, but they have not been used since the 6th Century when a tribe of Ostrogoths sacked Rome and demolished its plumbing installations. In the present day, the ruins of the baths are a popular tourist site. ۩<br />Bibliography<br />• " Aqua Marcia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <>.<br />• " THE AQUEDUCTS." THE AQUEDUCTS. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <>.<br />•" Baths of Caracalla." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <>.<br />• " Hypocaust." Encyclopaedia Britanncia. Encyclopaedia Britanncia, 2010. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <>.<br />• Matthews, Kevin. " Thermae of Caracalla." Great Buildings. 1994. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <>.<br /> •Mayer, Tanna. " Baths of Caracalla, Regal Roman Architecture." Beauty and the Bath. 2008. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <>.<br />