Roman Baths, built in the first few decades of Roman Britain were well-known for the regular flow of the hot mineral springs. They were built at the Aquae Sulis – the city of Bath, which itself was founded upon the natural hot springs.
The first shrine was built by Dobunni, a tribe belonging to an Iron Age. The Dobunnis honored Goddess Sulis as their prime Goddess with healing powers and dedicated the shrine to her.
However, the Romans took over the site in 43 AD, and the famous Aquae Sulis, along with the famous Roman Bath, was built by the end of 75 AD.
The primary purpose of Roman Baths was to bath and to relax. All the rooms in the Bath included unique designs made with unique techniques. They used hypocaust, a Roman system on the floor to heat the bath by circulating hot air.
The most visited parts of the Bath are the swimming pools, reading area, socializing area, and exercise area.
However, after the end of the Roman Rule around the 5th Century, the Roman Baths have been used mainly for four purposes: temple, sacred spring, museum, and bathhouse.
Here is the list of top 10 fun facts about the famous Roman Bath
10. Romans conversed with Goddess Sulis Minerva – the Goddess of the Baths
Goddess Sulis Minerva was the hybrid of the Roman and Celtic religions. Individually, Sulis was the Celtic Goddess of sacred waters and healing, while Minerva was the Roman Goddess of wisdom, arts, and handicrafts.
The hybrid Goddess was considered the Goddess of justice, for that people went to her to fetch justice. People who had their belongings stolen went to the Roman Bath to sought her help in findings their lost belongings.
The ultimate belief of the Romans was that goddess Minerva would punish the thief and get their lost items back.
Some people talked to the Goddess while some wrote a note on a soft lead, folded it, and threw it on the spring, which was taken by the Goddess. She then read the note and grant their wish by creating a miracle in finding the stolen belonging.
Apart from justice, she was also honored as the Goddess of healing powers and peace. People went to her to seek happiness, peace, and good health for their family members and loved ones.
People worldwide, especially the Romans, would visit her and honor her with precious jewels, coins, bracelets, jugs, and stones.
9. Roman Bath was known for its healing powers
The healing powers of Roman Bath came to the notice of the Romans after the bath in it cured the leprosy of Blaudud. Blaudud, son of England’s King, had leprosy which was not cured even after numerous trials. However, the bath on the famous Roman Bath miraculously cured his leprosy.
The legend made people believe that the hot springs had healing powers in them and any diseases could be cured by taking a bath in them.
King Blaudud, happy with the result, created the city of Bath, where numerous spring pools with natural mineral water were opened. The collections could be used by the general public as well as the people of the noble class.
The other reason was the presence of Goddess Sulis Minerva at the bath. As she had the powers to heal, according to the ancient tribe, Dobunni.
8. Presence of the Victorian statues of Roman Emperors and Governors
Roman Bath was made with perfect engineering from all sides. The inner portion had a pool with hot spring water, whereas the outer part, mainly the terrace, was lined with victorian statues of governors of Britain and the greatest Roman Emperors.
The statues include the statue of Roman Emperor Claudius, Emperor Vespasian, Julius Caesar, Emperor Hadrian, Emperor Constantine, and the statue of Agricola. The statues were made in 1894, and the grand opening was done in 1897.
The original statue of Julius Caesar was vandalized around the 1980s and was made again about 18 years ago.
Apart from the Emperors, statues of a few kings are also present there, including the statues of Kine Edgar and King Cole, made in the 15th Century. Edgar became the King on the 11th of May, 973 AD, while Cole became the King in 125 AD.
However, the most attractive part of the Bath is placing the statues of numerous deities above the sea, making the site look unique and engaging.
The statue of Julius Caesar was about 18 years old since the original statue was vandalized around the 1980s and was made again.
7. Roman Bath was rediscovered in the 18th Century
The remains of the Roman Baths were discovered by Major Charles Edward Davis, a city surveyor architect, in 1878. The excavation was done after the leakage from the King’s Bath spring, and the ground of the Bath had to be explored tested.
Though the discovery was made in 1878, uncovering took about two years and was finally uncovered in 1880. The site was made public to general people in 1897 after the final discovery. It was then extended and now is the most visited monument in the world.
6. Presence of Gorgon in the Roman Bath
Gorgon is the monster that resides in the underworld. There were three Gorgons in Greek mythology, including Medusa – the Queen, Stheno – the mighty, and Euryale – the Far Springer.
These three Gorgons’ looked monstrous with hair like snakes, enormous wings, sharp claws, and a body covered with dragon-like scales. People were scared to look at Gorgon’s face thinking the look would kill them or turn them into a stone.
The Entrance of the Roman Bath’s Temple was made that looked similar to the face of a Gorgon. People believed that anyone doing a wrong deed could be turned into a stone by looking at the face of the Gorgon.
5. Presence of numerous artifacts in the museum
Since Ancient Rome was well-known for its creativity in making unique architectures and artifacts, many artifacts have been discovered around the Roman Baths area, including precious stones, around 12000 Roman currency coins, bracelets, and bronze materials.
These discovered artifacts are kept safely in the museum to be displayed to the tourists and visitors of the Roman Bath Museum.
People were visiting the spring, and the Bath threw jewels, coins, and precious stones to seek justice from Goddess Sulis Minerva and honor her.
Apart from the precious objects, the gilt bronze head of the sacred Goddess Sulis Minerva was also discovered in 1727 and housed in the museum. The museum also houses the remains of the hypocaust heating system that served the sweat rooms during the Roman Era.
4. Roman Bath is considered unsafe for taking a bath
The Roman Bath was initially built and opened for the public to bathe and relax. The Bath used heating spring water, healing numerous diseases, cleaning, and relaxing the body.
Since its early days, the Romans bathe in the Roman Bath once a year as a part of their festival. However, bathing in the Roman Baths was stopped during the end of the Rome Rule in Britain around the 5th Century AD.
Bathing still is prohibited as the water passes through pipes made with leads. Also, the water is unfiltered and intreated and is considered unsafe even to touch.
3. Presence of hot room – Laconicum
One of the main reasons for the Roman Bath to be famous was its rooms known as the Laconicum. This room was small yet intense with dry heat that could be turned into steam just by splashing water all around.
This room was one of the most unusual rooms of the Roman Bath. It was made in a circular shape covered with a conical roof and a circular opening at the top. The specialty of this room was the dry sweating facilities it served to the people visiting the room.
2. Roman Bath, one of the major tourists’ attraction
The Roman Bath is one of the exemplary structures of Roman Architecture for including hot springs that worked as a place of rejuvenation and relaxation. Situated in the heart of the Bath World Heritage site is one of the most preserved religious spas of ancient Rome and the Ancient World.
About 1 million visitors visit the Roman baths every year, making it one of the most visited sites in the United Kingdom. The most attractive part of the Bath is still the flow of naturally hot water.
Besides, people also enjoy visiting and exploring the remains of the famous Temple of Goddess Sulis Minerva. The walls and numerous portions of the Roman Bath display stories and events of ancient Rome dating from the 1st to the 4th Century.
1. The use of Roman Bath in a unique manner
The Roman Bath built during the Roman Era has the natural spring water that still runs into the local Avon River and the drains of Rome. Numerous tourists come every year to visit the Roman Bath due to the unique structure where the many statues of goddesses rise above the water level giving the baths a unique and mysterious feel.
Besides, creating pools amid the wood is another factor making the Bath a unique one. Initially, the pools were made without the roof, but the ceilings were added on eventually with time.
The other unique factor is the burning of the fire every day and night to make it look attractive and honor the Goddess Sulis Minerva.
The water that we see now in the Roman Baths is the water that fell as rain on the Mendip Hills thousands of years ago. However, the same water collection has attracted millions of visitors with its unique designs and innovative ideas.
Like many other places and sites, the Roman Baths is also one of the most visited Roman sites in one of the most important Roman cities.