El ritual del baño en Roma: Higiene, ocio y relaciones sociales

20.Jun - 21.Jun

Cod. F01-19

Official language of the activity: Spanish

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Roman culture imposed itself throughout the length and breadth of the conquered territories. From Hadrian’s Wall to the Libyan Desert, and from the Columns of Hercules to the Euphrates, a lifestyle spread that managed to standardise daily habits; currency, language, clothing, gastronomy, gods and spectacles became common elements shared by the millions of people who lived within the borders of the Empire. And among these common cultural aspects the ritual surrounding bathing particularly stands out.

Rome combined the Italic tradition with the concept of Greek bathing at the Gymnasium and out of this hybrid created a new programme that was accompanied by certain installations: the Roman baths. The early republican baths were expanded until they became huge complexes covering up to thousands of square metres in which there were also shops, restaurants, auditoria and libraries. There were public and private baths, and they also formed an essential part of important mansions. In Oiasso (Irun), without having to go any further, public baths have been discovered with an outstanding architectural programme and a built-up complex covering about 1,000 square metres.

At the baths people exercised, played games, received massages, bathed in cold, warm or hot water and completed a circuit in which activities related to bathing and the sauna were perfectly well defined. However, this was more than a matter of hygiene and it formed part of the daily social programme of most city residents, of the soldiers garrisoned on the most remote frontiers and even of those people who lived in rural areas. They did business, ate and drank in the company of friends; in those that were fairly important they could go to concerts and take part in cultural programmes.

The course aims to include the very latest research in this field, by stressing the social significance of the bathing ritual.


Making the bathing ritual, which was a totally Roman custom that spread all over the Empire, better known, and adding aspects regarding its social impact to a purely archaeological viewpoint. 

Placing the thermal installations in context by focusing on their architectural design, their urban surroundings and regional considerations.

Analysing the characteristics of bathing, passing through cold and heated rooms, the uses of the facilities for sports, massages and other activities on offer that were related to the use of thermal baths.

Activity directed to

  • University students
  • Non-university students
  • Teachers
  • Professionals
  • All public
  • Researchers


  • Ayuntamiento de Irun
  • Oiasso Museoa
  • Course
    • History
    • uik Ibiltariak
  • 20.Jun - 21.Jun
  • Gordailua (morning) /Museo Romano Oiasso (afternoon)
  • Spanish
  • Academic Validity: 20 hours