Public Roman Latrines (Toilets) in Ephesus

During our Private Ephesus Tours, one of the places our guests are most curious about is Public Roman Latrine in Ephesus.

Given that the Ancient Romans build up their civilization roughly 1000 years after the ancient Greeks, It makes sense that they borrowed some techniques on the toilet as well. The technique associated with building a toilet was actually quite simple. Long benches with holes were placed above the channels of flowing water.

Roman Public toilet latrine

How did Romans Use Latrines ?

As interesting as it may sound, public latrines were one of the places where Romans socialized. So that there was no separator between the single-occupant toilet seat in the latrines which means they were sitting side by side without any separator while doing their business. So how did they clean their behind when they finished their business? Clean water was constantly flowing through the channel in front of where they were sitting. They would clean their behinds with a sea sponge attached to a stick by dipping it in clean flowing water. Also, latrines were not free of charge. You had to pay an entrance fee.

A Part of the Latrine in Ephesus
A Part of the Latrine in Ephesus

Latrine in Ephesus

On the west side of the Scholastica Baths, there is a narrow street with a vaulted covering. The door of the Latrina which was the public toilet of the city opens onto this street. In the center of the structure, there is a square pool, and a row of stone toilet bowls are located on the sides. In front of the stone toilets, there is a water channel, and the floor of the Latrina is covered with mosaic. The pool is not covered but it is enclosed by walls. The four columns at the corners of the pool support the roof of the Latrina.

Scholastica Baths in Ephesus
Scholastica Baths in Ephesus

Latrine in Ephesus which was built in the first century A.D. was a part of the Scholastica Baths complex. During the Roman period, the population of Ephesus was about 250000. So latrines were ideal for Roman people as not everyone had a toilet at home. There was a fountain in the middle of the latrina in Ephesus and the top of the latrine was covered with a wooden roof. It also had a capacity of 48 people.

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