Monday, July 23, 2007

Need a bath?

One of the things ancient Rome is known for is its extensive system of baths, both public and private. They provided opportunities to discuss politics or philosophy, to relax or to engage in other, err, activities. Archaeologists are currently working their way through uncovering a massive bath complex in Rome which is believed to have belonged to a friend of Emperor Hadrian.

From the article: "[t]he exceptionally well-preserved two-story complex, which extends for at least five acres, includes ornate hot rooms, vaults, changing rooms, marble latrines and an underground room where slaves lit the fire to warm the baths." This sentence alone should help explain why I find this dig interesting. It is another key to understanding the world in which the early Christian Church grew in - the vast difference in wealth between the rich and the poor, their ultimate minority status, how ultimately contradictory their lives were called to be to the surrounding society. Certainly this is nothing new for those well-versed in the ancient world, but it is times and discoveries like this that can open the eyes of new generations.