England: Romans in Bath
I’ve never been a big fan of the Roman Empire, as has been recounted elsewhere in this blog. As conquering proto-fascists, they certainly made the trains run on time, so to speak, but they also exploited vast numbers of their subject races and trammeled human rights into the dust, all the while indulging in their decadent and fanciful lifestyles back home.
But in Bath, so named for the obvious reasons, they enjoyed a level of luxury unsurpassed elsewhere in Europe at the time.
These baths are justly famous and I first heard of them during Eighth Grade history class and vowed that I would one day visit the scene. Today the location is much lower than the current street level, reflecting the passage of millennia.
Superimposed on the Roman remains, which extend upward to roughly chest level, Victorian Englishmen superimposed their own version of leisure class architecture which gives the place a surreal aura of finality. The faux Romanesque statues on the second-floor level are quite humorous in execution, too.
Yet cynical observations do not lessen the effect of beautiful mosaics and other symbolic decorations that once graced the floors and walls here.
To our surprise we discovered that the ruins are far more extensive than our school history books indicated so long ago.
The Roman spa featured different baths for different purposes along with a sophisticated systems of heating ducts.
I guess you could say that the leisure class continues to visit.