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Wellness in Antiquity – Bathing culture in Aquincum

The exhibition presents the bathing habits of the Romans, which were not only about the needs of daily hygiene, but also about ‘being well’ and ‘feeling good’. Baths were the place of recreation for both body and spirit. Although in Aquincum all that remained of this are some stones, bricks, mortar, metal- and ceramic fragments, but with the help of ancient eye-witnesses, all this gets filled with the clamorous life of old times.

Temporary exhibition, 16.11.2015.–11.2016.

We know of twenty-four baths from Aquincum. These were supplied with water, at least partly, from the springs of the modern-day Római Open-air Bath, through the North-South aqueduct.  The catchment basins were discovered during excavations. In all well-houses, built around the catchment basins, stood altars dedicated to healing deities; and sacrificial gifts thrown into the springs have also been found there. The exhibition presents the relics of medical activity connected to the baths and of the uses of water from thermal springs.

Finds discovered in Aquincum and reconstruction drawings present the very thoughtful and logical operation of the typical Roman baths: the tripartite system – consisting of a cold-water bath, a warm room, and a highly humid hot-water room –, the floor heating and the connected heating of water, the water supply and sewage management. This architectural frame was filled with life by everyday real people, who used the baths. We can, of course, only imagine the noise, the hubbub, and racket, but everyday objects used at the baths have been found during excavations, and these are presented in the showcases.

Visitors to the exhibition can also find out about what we have inherited from the Romans. Please follow us to Aquincum’s baths, let us explore Roman wellness!

Sponsored by Budapest Waterworks