Wednesday, 27 April 2005
Public Lavatories in Rome
Public lavatories did exist in ancient Rome, but they were nothing like what we have today. For one thing, I am using the term 'public' in its most literal sense because there was no such thing as privacy. There were no cubicles to separate those making use of the facilities. The procedure was conducted in full public view. Moreover, it was considered perfectly normal for people to meet there, defecate and discuss the news and gossip of the day - discoursing from both orifices. Despite this openness the surroundings were extremely well decorated - who knows, perhaps in order to inspire the users. The lavatory seats were made of marble, around them there was a continuous flow of water, while above them one could often see niches with little statues of gods, heroes, etc. Sometimes there was even a fountain in the room. However, even at the imperial palace, where one would expect to find privacy in these situations, the lavatories had three seats, side by side.
Posted by Anna at Wednesday, April 27, 2005