The Excavations of Roman Baths at Bath eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 42 pages of information about The Excavations of Roman Baths at Bath.
across by the angular fountain are similar wearings, marking “a short cut” into the northern schola; and this is continued in a less degree to the other doors,—­save the north-western one, where the upper paving in part exists, showing that this doorway was closed before the baths were allowed to get so shamefully out of repair.  This sadly dilapidated pavement must have caused considerable inconvenience to the bathers, and could only have been put up with by those too poor to incur the expenses of repair; the baths therefore were continued to be used by less prosperous citizens than those who provided them.  Is not this a strong argument that the Romans left behind them, when they abandoned Britain (A.D. 420), a people almost as great lovers of the baths as themselves, with, however, less ability to maintain them; and that the residents of Aquae Sulis daily frequented them during the 150 years that succeeded until the city was overthrown by our more immediate ancestors, who destroyed before abandoning it to desolation?

The springs flooded the courts and corridors of the Thermae until the washings of the land filled them.  Rushes, withies, and trees grew beneath the shadow of its ruins.  Bathancastra (Akemancastra) was founded;[26] the memory of the baths was lost; its architectural magnificence was the quarry of the builders, who little dreamt that beneath the soil was buried the rich treasure which we in this century, and those who have preceded us in the last, have had the privilege of laying bare.

[Footnote 26:  “The foundation of a monastery by an under-King of the Hwiccas [Osric, Nov. 6, A.D. 676,] within its walls, reveals to us the springing up of a new life in another of the cities which had been wrecked by Ceawlin’s inroad, the city of Bath.”—­Green’s “Making of England,” p. 356.

Professor Earle throws some doubt on the authenticity of the record.]

The Romans left behind them in Bath a Palace of Health and Luxury unequalled except in Italy.

* * * * *

In making some excavations (1885) beneath the Cross Bath, the walls of the Roman well were found, and at a considerable depth two altars, which are placed for exhibition in the Great Bath.  One of these is a plain rectangular altar; the other is carved on three sides, having on the front face two figures (AEsculapius offering a lamb to Hegiea), on another side a serpent coiled round the trunk of a tree, and on the third sculptured side a dog with a curly tail (see Professor Sayce and Rev. Preb.  Scarth).

* * * * *





* * * * *

FOUNDED by the Romans in the First Century.

BATHERS DURING 1889, 104,597.

Daily yield 507,600 gallons at 120 deg.  Fah.

Project Gutenberg
The Excavations of Roman Baths at Bath from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook