Roman Baths in Ephesus

The Difference between the Republican Period and the Imperial Period in Roman Baths

cross-section of the baths at Pompeii
cross-section of the baths at Pompeii by Marc Henniquiau

Another structure we visit in Kusadasi Shore Excursions is the Roman Baths in Ephesus. Roman baths were an indispensable part of daily life in Ancient Rome. So the Romans used the baths for cleaning as well as socializing. Also, in order to prevent epidemics, those who entered the city from the outside had to ensure that they were cleaned in the baths first. The frequent use of Roman baths raises the following question. Could women and men enter the bath at the same time in ancient Rome? During the republican period of Rome, there were separate sections for men and women in the baths. There was even a separate section for slaves in some baths. Therefore, men and women did not come together. However, during the Roman imperial period, there were no longer separate sections for men and women, and they used the bath together at the same time. Some associate it with the moral decline of the Roman Empire.

Varius Baths - Ephesus
Varius Baths – Ephesus

Roman Baths in the Period of Emperor Trajan

Emperor Trajan comes to the throne in 117 AD. and finds a solution for the Roman baths, where immorality is increasing day by day. According to the Trajan inscription found in the Ephesus Archaeological Museum, only women can use the bath from early in the morning until 2 o’clock in the afternoon. From 2 o’clock until the evening, only men can enter the bath.

Basic Elements of Roman Baths

A typical Roman bath consists of the following elements ;

Scholastikia Baths - Ephesus
Scholastica Baths – Ephesus
  • Apodyterium – Dressing rooms.
  • Palaestra – An open-air garden used for exercise.
  • Natatio – Swimming pool.
  • Laconica and Sudatoria – superheated wet and dry sweating rooms similar to modern saunas and steam rooms.
  • Calidarium – Hot room
  • Tepidarium – Warm room
  • Frigidarium – Cool room
  • Massage Rooms etc.

In addition to the basics, some Roman baths may have toilets, private baths, cold-water plunge pools, lecture halls, libraries, fountains, and outdoor gardens.

Roman Bath’s Heating Systems and Baths of Ephesus

Roman Baths Heating System
Roman Baths Heating System

In Roman baths, water must flow continuously. This water flow is provided by aqueducts and requires sophisticated engineering skills. Early baths in ancient Rome often used natural hot springs to provide hot water. Still, from the 1st century BC more sophisticated heating systems were used, such as underfloor (hypocaustic) heating powered by wood-burning furnaces, called prafurniae. There are many Roman baths using these systems in the city of Ephesus. The ones that have been unearthed so far are the Scholastica Baths, Varius Baths, The Baths of Constantine also known as Harbor Baths, and The baths at the East Gymnasium.

The history of Roman Baths is much more detailed and long. We haven’t invented the time machine yet, but we can take you back 2000 years by joining our Private Ephesus Tours.

Private Ephesus Tours from Port of Kusadasi and Hotels.

Private Ephesus Tours from Port of Izmir and Hotels.

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