Scholastikia Baths

Located a little below the Fountain of Trajan, the Scholastikia Baths are one of the important buildings of the Curetes Street. As it was located in the city centre, it must have been a bath where the distinguished famillies of the city, rather than ordinary people, washed and cleaned themselves and then talked about daily matters.

In the Roman period it was in general a tradition to go to the baths in the afternoon. Bathing directly after lunch has caused many a famed Roman to lose his life in the baths. The noble and the rich would usually come to the baths in groups with their servants, be massaged and perfumed, then rest for hours in the section called the tepidarium of the baths discussing meanwhile the important current events. The baths had a great role in the evolution of Roman philosophy.

Together with the ground floor the Scholastikia Baths were built in three storeys. There are practically no remains from the third floor. Therefore it is difficult to say for what purpose and how it was used. The building had two entrances, the first from the Curetes Street and the other from the side street. One entered directly into the cold section called the frigidarium. The statue found together with its base in the east corner belongs to Scholastikia after whom the baths were named and who was the person who had the baths repaired around 400 AD.

The building had been built at least 200 years before Scholastikia and was repaired several times. The stepped pool to the west of the cold section was the cold water pool and was used to gain vigour when coming out of the baths as well as when first entering them. Of the hot section called the caldarium the floor paving was ruined but the brick feet supporting the floor and through which the heated air ran were preserved. The greatest particularity of Roman baths is certainly their being heated by hot air circulating below the floor. The hot air coming from the furnace would run through the feet in this section and come to the flues in the walls and after heating the walls would go out.

Baths which developed and reached a climax in the Roman period also survived in the Byzantine era but were totally forgotten in the Middle Ages only to return to monumentality under the Seljuk and Ottoman turks. The Ottoman baths in use in present day Turkey have the same system of heating.

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