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by Archaeology Newsroom

The care of the body’s cleanness and the baths in Byzantium

A great number of public and private baths in every town of the Byzantine Empire provided cleanness, social life and pleasure to most of the citizens, who according to litterary sources, were great lovers of bathing. All the urban baths did not, of course, meet the same high standards. Next to the reputable βαλανεία one could find inferior bathing installations – usually private ones- a meeting place of prostitutes, pimps and dissolute males.

The Early Christian baths were either subsidiary buildings, adjacent to basilicas or independent public edifices of utilitarian character that played an important role in the formation of the town-planning network. However, during the Middle Byzantine period this situation was drastically altered.The number, size and town-planning importance of baths was so diminished, that baths came to function as bathing places only.