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SUBURBAN BATH - POMPEII

SUBURBAN BATH - POMPEII

These stood just outside the town walls, which can be seen to the left on the road leading to the Porta Marina Gate, and possibly near a canal port, which is suggested by the mooring rings set in stone blocks. The baths are laid out on three levels and are now visible in all their former glory thanks to recent restoration work. The baths complex was not actually very big and was probably used by people coming from outside the town. The entrance hall stood on a terrace with colonnade which could be reached by a flight of stairs. All the rooms in the complex had window looking out over the Gulf of Naples and were laid out according to the classic criteria for the bathing chambers which here culminate in a large hot-water pool. Thus we find the entrance hall followed by the changing room (apodyterium), two rooms for taking cold baths (frigidarium) a heated chamber (tepidarium) which enabled bathers to get acclimatized to the change in temperature before entering the hot-water bath (calidarium). The walls of the changing room were decorated with eight fresco paintings of a highly erotic nature. This initially led archaeologists to the conclusion that this area must have been a brothel annexed to the bath, but this apparently obvious interpretation has been rejected in favour of another explanation. In this case, the erotic frescoes were probably a humorous method of reminding customers where they had left their clothes by assigning a number and an amusing painting to each of the various chambers.

 
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