Today the class visited the Baths of Caracalla. Will Skinner presented on the baths. We were there for a while and got to walk around the ruins, although some portions had been blocked off. Will explained in detail the way in which a Roman bathhouse would have worked. Women had hours in the morning and men had hours in the afternoon to take their daily bath. They would first go into the caldarium (hot bath) and end with the frigidarium (cold bath). Not only were the Romans able to heat the bathhouse; they could also heat the stone floor so that people could walk comfortably from one room to another. At one point in time, mosaics would have decorated the floors of the baths, and a large statue of Hercules (now in the museum at Naples) would have stood in the center of the baths. Will also told the class about the waterfalls that would have been around the baths. These waterfalls would have brought water from the hot baths to the cold and vice versa.
Next we went to the Circus Maximus where Aundra Miller presented. She explained the Circus Maximus was more like a bloody version of NASCAR than what we would think of a modern circus. Chariots in four colors (representing the four seasons) would race around the track. Aundra also talked about the gladiatorial fights at the Coliseum. She explained that there were different types of gladiators. Gladiators were sorted based on the type of armor they wore and the weapons that they carried. Previously on the trip, we went to the Coliseum. We took a tour and learned that there was an intricate web of tunnels under the stage which allowed for trap doors in the floor to bring up wild animals and different scenery. They had many types of fights that lasted throughout the day. There were fights between men and animals, as well as men against one another, and there were plays in which prisoners would be killed to make the stories seem more realistic.
Deana Furman and Anthony Arico
Being as I was presenting on them, I only have a few pictures from a prior
night during which I attempted to scope out the baths from their perimeter:
(Here you can see straight through to the natatio, or swimming pool, room.)
(This was the western palaestra, an open courtyard for gymnastics and wrestling.)
(This was one of two main entrances which Roman bathers would have used; from here they would have passed on to the apodyterium, a changing room with lockers.)
(All that remains of the Circus Maximus is this track made up of loose gravel; a lap around this and my legs were on fire as I could barely stand. I clocked 3:30 though.)
(I presume you’ve all seen this picture before. Nevertheless, the Coliseum.)
(Here you can see through the floor to the below-ground passageways.)