Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Baths and bathing were a very important institution for the inhabitants of Ostia and the Roman Empire in general. They served the general populace not only as a place to wash, but also fulfilled important social functions and often offered a number of other services besides those directly connected to bathing. There are several different types of Roman Bath buildings that have been identified and they are usually classified according to size and layout. Most research to date has concentrated on the larger bath types.
This thesis is concerned with a group of baths in a medium size-range that are intricately interconnected with their immediate neighbourhood, often in both a social and physical way. For this reason they are given the name Neighbourhood Baths. On the basis of both literary and archaeological evidence it can be concluded that these baths were privately owned businesses open to the public.
The Terme del Faro, a building that has received little scholarly attention, serves as the representative example of a Neighbourhood Bath. Although unique in layout, it shares a number of the features that tie Neighbourhood Baths together as a group.
These common features include similarities in decoration. Many of the baths have painted decorations, stucco and mosaic floors. Although never identical, this decoration is often very similar from one bath to another. This suggests that in order to attract business Neighbourhood Baths had to cater to the tastes of their customers.
Neighbourhood Baths were usually fully integrated into their surroundings, often fused together with apartment buildings and located on busy streets. Their very placement, often in locations with large population density, suggests not only how important they were for those who lived around them, but also that they had the potential for being lucrative businesses and good investment opportunities.
A number of literary and epigraphic sources provide scattered information on names, costs, building regulations, possible owners and leaseholders, employees and customers.
The thesis on the Tenne del Faro and the Neighbourhood Baths of Ostia is divided into six chapters. The first is an introduction to Ostia, Neighbourhood Baths and the general technical terminology of Roman baths. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the Tenne del Faro. The third and f0U11h chapters offer a detailed discussion of the architecture and decoration of Neighbourhood Baths. The fifth chapter considers their social and urban context, and the last chapter deals with the economics of such a bath.
Lardi, Joelle Lisa, "The Tenne del Faro and the Neighbourhood Baths of Ostia: Their Architecture, Decoration, Urban Context and Economics" (2006). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5340.
McMaster University Library