Did you know it was only in the twentieth century that private bathrooms became popular? The bathrooms you know today with stylish rectangular baths, toilets and basins were not even thought of before then.
In fact baths were first introduced in the third century when the Greeks and Romans introduced bath houses. These were public baths and were very busy places sometimes enabling thousands of people to bathe at the same time. Public bath houses were a place the gladiators went to soak after a fight and servants would bathe them, feed them and run errands for them while they lay in the waters.
Actually the Romans were the ones that believed bathing was hygienic while the Greeks believed in a quick wash and only the women were expected to bathe in a bath submerged in water.
The Turks introduced the Turkish Baths, which are still popular today, these were hot baths and were spectacularly furnished with gold and silver finishes. Very spectacular and very luxurious.
The Muslims also introduced bath houses, these were located close to the Mosque because they believe in bathing before prayer. In fact if you travel to North Africa and visit Morocco or Tunisia you can still enjoy some pampering at one of these traditional baths which are still used today. These public baths are called hammams and produce steam, you let the steam soak into your skin while you bathe and finish off your cleaning process with a massage.
The public bath houses were short lived even though the Romans and Greeks ran aqueducts for their baths, disease soon spread through the water as you can well imagine with so many thousands of people all bathing in the same water.
Our Bathrooms Today
I must say that I am thankful I didn’t live all those thousands of years ago when it was customary to only bathe every few weeks, I love having my rectangular baths, my showers and toilet and not having to share my water with anyone else. I enjoy feeling clean when I get out of the bath.
To think that so many people were bathing in the same water makes you wonder how clean they really were when they were finished. They were washing themselves with other peoples dirt, no wonder disease spread so quickly back then.
Today we enjoy the luxury and convenience of our own private bathrooms with all the plumbing and water we need, but if it wasn’t for the Romans and Greeks, would the private bathroom have been introduced?