Baths of Caracalla

Baths of Caracalla

Overview
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 were Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 public baths, or thermae
Thermae
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

, built in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

.

The baths remained in use until the 6th century when the complex was taken by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War
Gothic War (535–552)
The Gothic War between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy was fought from 535 until 554 in Italy, Dalmatia, Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica. It is commonly divided into two phases. The first phase lasted from 535 to 540 and ended with the fall of Ravenna and the apparent...

, at which time the hydraulic installations were destroyed. The bath was free and open to the public.

In the early 20th century, the design of the baths was used as the inspiration for several modern structures, including Pennsylvania Station
Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station—commonly known as Penn Station—is the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. It is one of the busiest rail stations in the world, and a hub for inbound and outbound railroad traffic in New York City. The New York City Subway system also...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

At the 1960 Summer Olympics
1960 Summer Olympics
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960 in Rome, Italy...

, the venue hosted the gymnastics
Gymnastics at the 1960 Summer Olympics
At the 1960 Summer Olympics, fourteen different artistic gymnastics events were contested, eight for men and six for women. All events were held in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome from September 5 through 10th.-Format of competition:...

 events.

The baths were the only archaeological site in Rome damaged by an earthquake near L'Aquila in 2009.

The extensive ruins of the baths have become a popular tourist attraction.
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Encyclopedia
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 were Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 public baths, or thermae
Thermae
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

, built in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

.

History


The baths remained in use until the 6th century when the complex was taken by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War
Gothic War (535–552)
The Gothic War between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy was fought from 535 until 554 in Italy, Dalmatia, Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica. It is commonly divided into two phases. The first phase lasted from 535 to 540 and ended with the fall of Ravenna and the apparent...

, at which time the hydraulic installations were destroyed. The bath was free and open to the public.

In the early 20th century, the design of the baths was used as the inspiration for several modern structures, including Pennsylvania Station
Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station—commonly known as Penn Station—is the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. It is one of the busiest rail stations in the world, and a hub for inbound and outbound railroad traffic in New York City. The New York City Subway system also...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

At the 1960 Summer Olympics
1960 Summer Olympics
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960 in Rome, Italy...

, the venue hosted the gymnastics
Gymnastics at the 1960 Summer Olympics
At the 1960 Summer Olympics, fourteen different artistic gymnastics events were contested, eight for men and six for women. All events were held in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome from September 5 through 10th.-Format of competition:...

 events.

The baths were the only archaeological site in Rome damaged by an earthquake near L'Aquila in 2009.

Visiting


The extensive ruins of the baths have become a popular tourist attraction. The baths are open to the public for an admission fee of 6 Euros, which does not apply to students or pensioners from the EU.

Opening hours are 9:00 - 19:00 on all days except Monday. (On Monday the site closes at 14:00.)

Access is limited to certain areas to avoid damage to the mosaic floors, although such damage is already clearly visible. Also, a total of 22 well-preserved columns from the ruins are found in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Santa Maria in Trastevere
The Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere is a titular minor basilica, one of the oldest churches in Rome, and perhaps the first in which mass was openly celebrated...

, taken there in the 12th century.

Grounds


The bath complex covered approximately 25 hectares (33 ac). The bath building was 228 metres (750 ft) long, 116 metres (380 ft) wide and 38.5 metres (125 ft) estimated height, and could hold an estimated 1,600 bathers.

Interior



The Caracalla bath complex of buildings was more a leisure centre than just a series of baths. The "baths" were the second to have a public library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 within the complex. Like other public libraries in Rome, there were two separate and equal sized rooms or buildings; one for Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 texts and one for Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 language texts.

The baths consisted of a central 55.7 by 24 metre (183x79 ft) frigidarium
Frigidarium
A frigidarium is a large cold pool of Roman baths. It would be entered after the Caldarium and the Tepidarium, which were used to open the pores of the skin. The cold water would close the pores. There would be a small pool of cold water or sometimes a large Swimming pool...

(cold room) under three 32.9 meter (108 ft) high groin vault
Groin vault
A groin vault or groined vault is produced by the intersection at right angles of two barrel vaults. The word groin refers to the edge between the intersecting vaults; cf. ribbed vault. Sometimes the arches of groin vaults are pointed instead of round...

s, a double pool tepidarium
Tepidarium
The tepidarium was the warm bathroom of the Roman baths heated by a hypocaust or underfloor heating system.The specialty of a tepidarium is the pleasant feeling of constant radiant heat which directly affects the human body from the walls and floor.There is an interesting example at Pompeii; this...

(medium), and a 35 meter (115 ft) diameter caldarium
Caldarium
right|thumb|230px|Caldarium from the Roman Baths at [[Bath, England]]. The floor has been removed to reveal the empty space where the hot air flowed through to heat the floor....

(hot room), as well as two palaestra
Palaestra
The palaestra was the ancient Greek wrestling school. The events that did not require a lot of space, such as boxing and wrestling, were practised there...

s (gyms where wrestling and boxing was practised). The north end of the bath building contained a natatio or swimming pool. The natatio was roofless with bronze mirrors mounted overhead to direct sunlight into the pool area. The entire bath building was on a 6 metre (20 ft) high raised platform to allow for storage and furnaces under the building.

The libraries were located in exedra
Exedra
In architecture, an exedra is a semicircular recess or plinth, often crowned by a semi-dome, which is sometimes set into a building's facade. The original Greek sense was applied to a room that opened onto a stoa, ringed with curved high-backed stone benches, a suitable place for a philosophical...

e on the east and west sides of the bath complex. The entire north wall of the complex was devoted to shops. The reservoirs on the south wall of the complex were fed with water from the Marcian Aqueduct
Aqua Marcia
The Aqua Marcia was the longest of the 11 aqueducts that supplied the city of ancient Rome. The still-functioning Acqua Felice from 1586 runs on long stretches along the route of the Aqua Marcia....

.

Dimensions



Principal dimensions

Precinct maximum: 412x393 m

Internal: 323x323 m

Central Block overall: 218x112 m

Swimming Pool: 54x23 m

Frigidarium: 59x24 m, height c. 41 m

Caldarium: 35M diameter height c. 44 m

Internal courts: 67x29 m
Quantities of materials

Pozzolanna: 341,000 m³

Quick lime: 35,000 m³

Tuff: 341,000 m³

Basalt for foundations: 150,000 m³

Brick pieces for facing: 17.5 million

Large Bricks: 520,000

Marble columns in Central block: 252

Marble for columns and decorations: 6,300 m³

Estimated average labour figures on site

Excavation: 5,200 men

Substructure: 9,500 men

Central Block: 4,500 men

Decoration: 1,800 men

One of many statues is the colossal 4 m statue of Asclepius
Asclepius
Asclepius is the God of Medicine and Healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia , Iaso , Aceso , Aglæa/Ægle , and Panacea...

.
The 12 m columns of the frigidarium were made of granite and they weighed close to 100 tons.
Chris Scarre provides a slightly longer construction period 211-217 AD.

They would have had to install over 2,000 tons of material every day for 6 years in order to complete it in this time period. Records show that the idea for the baths were drawn up by Septimius Severus, and merely completed or opened in the lifetime of Caracalla. This would allow for a longer construction time frame.

The building was heated by a hypocaust
Hypocaust
A hypocaust was an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt"...

, a system of burning coal and wood underneath the ground to heat water provided by a dedicated aqueduct. It was in use up to the 19th century.

See also



External links