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Hot Spring - Thermae

The terms balnea or thermae were the words the ancient Romans used for the buildings housing their public baths.

Most Roman cities had at least one, if not many, such buildings, which were centers of public bathing and socialization. Baths were extremely important for Romans. They stayed there for several hours and went daily.

They were accompanied by one or more slaves. When they paid their fee, they would strip naked and put on sandals to protect their feet from heated floors. The slaves carried around their masters towels and got drinks for them.

After bathing, they exercised. They did things such as running, mild weight-lifting, wrestling, and swimming. After exercising, oil and dirt got scraped off by servants.

Roman bath-houses were also provided for private villas, town houses and forts - these were also called thermae. They were supplied with water from an adjacent river or stream, or more normally, by an aqueduct. The design of baths is discussed by Vitruvius in De Architectura.

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