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Ephesus Baths

Ephesus Baths

In the Roman period, baths served purposes other than bathing. People played sports here, read books, took massages, or conversed. After that, they would go the hot, cold, and warm rooms to enjoy the baths. Relaxation in the baths could last for hours, during which people could hold serious political conversations över hot or cold spiced wine. For important meetings, people usually met in the baths. One would first undress in the apodyterium, then go to sweat in the sudotorium, and finally wash off in the calidarium. After the bath, people would meet in the tepidarium for light conversation or political discussions. Before leaving the baths, they would swim in the frigidarium a bit to freshen up.

The Scholastikia Baths had two entrances, one from Kouretes Street, and one from the smaller roofed Street. Both of them led into the apodyterium, an impressive hail decorated with columns and niches. In one of these niches, there was a statuof a rich Ephesian woman named Scholastikia, who renovated the baths in the fourth century CE for the final time. The frigidarium and apodyterium are in the west. The oval pool of cold water is exactly in the çenter. On the north side of the apodyterium, an arched door leads into the tepidarium, the vvalls and floor of which were heated by hot air through pipes of kiln-fired clay. A small part of the original mosaic floor is visible against the eastern wall. In the final renovation, the mosaic floor was paved över with slabs of marble. A small door leads from the tepidarium into the calidarium. This part of the bath is stili preserved to its original height. During various repairs, these walls were patched up with slabs of marble or tiles. Supports of kiln-fired bricks lay beneath the slabs that covered the floor and served as channcls for the hot air. The heating room for the hot air (hypocaust) is in the western area. After the Roman period, these baths lost their importance in public life. Only in the Selçuk and Ottoman periods did the custom of going to the baths revive again.