Energy and Water Needs of the Roman Bath

T. Goulianou, Energy and Water Needs of the Roman Bath, Diploma thesis, 130 pages, March 2020.



The use of baths has been known throughout Greece since prehistoric times as an integral part of people's daily lives. The buildings and the bathing process in ancient times are called "balanion" (βαλανείον). The Greeks' love for the baths was inherited and developed by the Romans. The Romans loved bathing. The Roman baths, in every corner of the empire, were huge and luxurious and functioned, inter alia, as places of communication and entertainment. Due to the high water consumption of the thermal facilities during the Roman period, the construction of the aqueducts came to excellent perfection. The purpose of this thesis is to try to assess its energy and water needs. The means of achieving this goal is the study of ancient texts and the attempt to calculate energy and water needs, based on archaeological reconstructions, archaeological findings and references. Initially, through ancient sources we tried to assess the water supply needs of antiquity. Specifically, Plutarch provides information on ancient Athens, while Frontinus provides information on ancient Rome as well as quinaria, which corresponds to a capacity of approximately 41.5 m3/day. Then, the structure of the Roman bath spaces was investigated and the room and water heating system was analyzed in more detail, and in particular the way in which the hypocaust was operated. The Turkish hammam was also studied as the Ottomans exploited the tradition of the Romans and the Byzantines in the way the bath was operated. Particular interest was given to the assessment of the type of fuel and its use in the ancient Roman economy. An attempt was made to measure the fuel consumption of baths through ancient reports and archaeological reconstructions. Furthermore, through archaeological findings, bathing water needs have been attempted to assess. In conclusion, as the efforts to investigate the Roman bath energy and water needs are completed, important conclusions have been drawn regarding the first approach of the investigation and many topics of future research have been revealed.

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