Posted by CLaire on July 03, 1997 at 16:12:54:
In reply to Re: NA & Roman baths posted by Caroline on July 02, 1997 at 23:09:20
] ] But I don't recall ever discussing the group bathing. Would the sexes have bathed together as they are shown in the film? Anyone know anything about the customs of the Roman Baths in JA's time?
] Cheryl, your request has gone unanswered and lonely for two days, and I feel compelled to say something, but the answer is that I don't know much at all! Sorry!
] This is what I do know
] 1. The real Roman Bath wasn't discoverd until after Ja's time. The georgian one was built in georgian time.
] 2. Most people's cure involved drinking the stuff(and it tastes disgusting, by the way!)
] 3. I think, with no real proof, that they would have had the different sexes bathe at different times.
] That's it, I'm afraid!Sorry!(maybe I'll find a bit more one of these days!)
] I did a bit of research on the baths prior to a trip some five years ago. While I didn't find out about both sexes bathing at the same time, I didn't search for that, since all the information I found seem to indicate it was a given. The descriptions used were semi-public and communal. I do know mixed bathing existed in Europe, especially Germany, where there are many such spas, particularly during during the medieval ages.
Further, I found interesting other facts: the spas went out of fashion in the early 19th century, when sea bathing became popular. Interest was renewed briefly when the Roman baths were discovered in the 1880's. Cross Bath, so named because an ancient cross stood beside the spring -- one of three crosses in the heart of the city. And I feel sure the bath shown in NA is the King's Bath in the Pump Room.
I recall an anecdote about a visit that Pepy's made: He arrived very early before dawn in 1668, to avoid crowds, his purpose being medical treatment, it seems, and his experience led him to surmise that the baths had to be for pleasure, because it probably did more harm than good to be in the same wather with so many unwashed bodies, and there was a bizarre custom of spectators throwing piglets and cats in the water. This was 1668, a while before the NA scene, of course.
And in addition to the other baths there are the remains of the Hot Bath, or the old Royal Bath of the mid 1770's.
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