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Pompeii (Campania), Italy

Forum Baths

The Forum Baths are placed at the intersection between the Via del Foro and the Via di Nola; they came back to light in 1823.

Built after 80 BC, they were modeled after the larger Stabian Baths. Like all bath complexes they were divided into two zones: one for men and one for women, sharing central heating. A short corridor led to the dressing room with wooden lockers and seats.

Continuing on, the first room was the frigidarium with a circular tub for cold bathing and an open roof for lighting. On the right side was the tepidarium, heated by a large bronze brazer. Finally, the caldarium was heated by a wall cavity system with hot air, generated by a furnace, circulating inside.

Bronze lettering on an elegant marble tub calls out the names of the Duumviri (highest judicial magistrates) who funded the construction of the baths.

The gymnasium with porticos was accessed from either the Via del Foro or through the men's dressing rooms. The niches, storing oils and tools, were separated by the Atlantes (sculptures representing muscular male figures).

The vaulted ceiling was decorated with stucco geometric shapes and mythological figures, placed there  when the baths were refurbished in 62 AD. Public baths were affordable and very popular, they were also a place for all Roman people to socialize.