Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bathing and luxury in the Roman world

Bathing was a popular form of relaxation in the Roman world, here's the atrium in the Suburban Baths at Herculaneum. The quote today is taken from Martialis epigrams and describe what could happen in and around the baths.

"When recently a miserable bow-legged slave need to carry Aper's linen to the bath for him, and a one-eyed old woman sat on his paltry toga to guard it, while a herniose bathing man supplied him with his drop of oil, he used to be a severe and unsparing censor of drunkards. "Break your cups, and throw away your Falernian," he would exclaim to any knight who drank anything on leaving the bath. But since three hundred thousand sesterces came to him from his old uncle, he cannot go home from the warm baths sober. Oh what power jewelled cups and a retinue of five long-haired servants have! Aper, as long as he was a poor man, did not suffer from thirst."

Martialis - Epigrams LXX
Bohn Edition 1897

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