EBK Activity Sheets


Hypocaust Heated Roman Baths in Britain
The Height of Roman Luxury

Roman Baths & Hypocaust Heating System -  Nash Ford Publishing

  • The Romans liked nothing better than to keep clean.
  • In town, their favourite way of doing this was to go to the Public Baths.
  • The baths were like a gym or a spa. There were lots of different things to do there:
    • First, you'd enter the changing room (A) and strip off - no shorts and t-shirt here. Everyone went naked.
    • Then you could go and work-out in the exercise hall (through door B).
    • Afterwards, you could rest in the tepidarium (C warm room) and perhaps cover yourself in oil.
    • Then it was time for a big sweat in the steamy caldarium (D hot room).
    • Next you could have the oil scraped off (C) by a slave (and all the dirt went too - it was just like soap).
    • Lastly, you'd take a dip in the plunge pool in the frigidarium (E cold room) to cool you down.
    • But before you leave, why not buy a snack.
  • The caldarium was heated by a furnace outside (F). The hot air could pass through ducts (G) in the walls as well as under the floor between pillars of tiles called a 'hypocaust' (H). In cold Britain, this central heating system was also popular under triclinia (dining rooms) in people's homes.
  • The baths were often decorated with underwater gods and sea-creatures painted on the walls and made in mosaic on the floors.
  • The most famous baths in Britannia were those at Aquae Sulis (Bath in Somerset). The whole town was centred on the baths and its temple area. They were built on very rare natural hot springs.
  • Men and women usually bathed separately:
    • The baths might have different times for each.
    • Big towns like Londinium (London) might have baths especially for men and baths especially for women.
    • But, in some places, they just bathed together.
  • Rich Romans might have their own private baths attached to their villa (country house).


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