Original Caption: Elevation des thermes de l'Empereur Diocletien…. Elevation of the baths of the Emperor Diocletian .... Engravings from the first comparative history of world architecture.
Whether you needed a bath or just wanted to hang out, the Baths of Diocletian in Ancient Rome were the place to be. Built in 298 CE, the Baths were public, social spaces where people could gather and discuss politics, business, or simply gossip. The most important part of the Roman baths was the series of pools for lounging: the cold bath, the lukewarm bath, and the hot bath, which were ritually taken in that order. In addition, a Roman bath would also feature a swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, and library. Following the Sack of Rome in 537, the Goths cut off the aqueducts that supplied water to the Baths of Diocletian. Since they could no longer be used, the Baths fell into disrepair and began to be incorporated into other buildings, most notably the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, which features work by Michelangelo. In 1889, the Museo Nazionale Romano (National Roman Museum) was founded, and the Baths’ site was selected for its home. Since then, restoration has been in progress to restore the enormous complex.
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