A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities

By William Smith; Charles Anthon | Go to book overview

BALNEUM.

was called Natatio. Natatorium, Piscina, Baptisterium, or Puteus.

3. Tepidarium would seem from the preceding cut to have been a bathing room, for a person is there apparently represented pouring water over a bather. But there is good reason for thinking that this was not the case. In most cases the tepidarium contained no water at all, but was a room merely heated with warm air of an agreeable temperature, in order to prepare the body for the great heat of the vapour and warm baths, and upon returning from the latter, to obviate the danger of a too sudden transition to the open air.

4. The Caldarium or Concamerata Sudatio contained at one extremity the vapour bath (Laconicum), and at the other the warm bath (balneum or calda lavatio), while the centre space between the two ends was termed sudatio or sudatorium. In larger establishments the vapour bath and warm bath were in two separate cells, as we see in the preceding cut: in such cases the former part alone was called concamerata sudatio. The whole rested on a suspended pavement (suspensura), under which was a fire (hypocaustum), so that the flames might heat the whole apartment. (See cut.)

The warm water bath (balneum or calda lavatio), which is also called piscina or calida piscina, labrum and solium, appears to have been a capacious marble vase, sometimes standing upon the floor, like that in the preceding cut, and sometimes either partly elevated above the floor, as it was at Pompeii, or entirely sunk into it.

After having gone through the regular course of perspiration, the Romans made use of instruments called strigiles or strigles, to scrape off the perspiration. The strigil was also used by the Greeks, who called it stlengis (στλεγγίς) or xystra (ξα+03C3τρα). One of the figures in the cut on p. 47, is represented with a strigil in his hand. As the strigil was not a blunt instrument, its edge was softened by the application of oil, which was dropped upon it from a small vessel called guttus or ampulla, which had a narrow neck, so as to discharge its contents drop by drop, whence the name is taken. A representation of a guttus is given in the annexed cut, together with some strigils.

In the Thermae, spoken of above the baths were of secondary importance. They were a Roman adaptation of the Greek gymnasium, contained exedrae for the philosophers and rhetoricians to lecture in, porticoes for the idle, and libraries for the learned, and were adorned with marbles, fountains, and shaded walks and plantations. M. Agrippa, in the


BARATHRON.

reign of Augustus, was the first who afforded these luxuries to his countrymen, by be-

Strigiles, and Guttus.

queathing to them the thermae and gardens which he had erected in the Campus Martius. The example set by Agrippa was followed by Nero, and afterwards by Titus, the ruins of whose thermae are still visible, covering a vast extent, partly underground, and partly above the Esquiline hill. Thermae were also erected by Trajan, Caracalla, and Diocletian of the two last of which ample remains still exist.

Previously to the erection of these establishments for the use of the population, it was customary for those who sought the favour of the people to give them a day's bathing free of expense. From thence it is fair to infer that the quadrant paid for admission into the balneae was not exacted at the thermae, which, as being the works of the emperors, would naturally be opened with imperial generosity to all, and without any charge.

BA׳LTEUS (τεBBαμών), a belt, a shoulder belt, was used to suspend the sword. See the figs. on p. 38. In the Homeric times the Greeks used a belt to support the shield. The balteus was likewise employed to suspend the quiver, and sometimes together with it the bow. More commonly the belt, whether employed to support the sword, the shield, or the quiver, was made of leather, and was frequently ornamented with gold, silver, and precious stones. In a general sense balteus was applied not only to the belt, which passed over the shoulder, but also to the girdle (cingulum), which encompassed the waist.

BANISHMENT. [EXSILIUM.]

BANKER. [ARGENTARII; MENSARII.]

BARATHRON (ßάρααθρον), a deep cavern or chasm, like the Ceadas at Sparta, behind the Acropolis at Athens, into which criminals were thrown. [CEADAS.]

-49-

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A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Preface to the American Edition iv
  • School-Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities 1
  • Index of Greek Words 367
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