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The development of public baths in Campania Open Access


Other title
Public Baths
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Henderson, Tanya Kim
Supervisor and department
Fracchia, Helena (History and Classics)
Examining committee member and department
Rossiter, Jeremy (History and Classics)
De Angelis, Franco (Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies) University of British Columbia
Nagel, Rebecca (History and Classics)
Willoughby, Pamela (Anthropology)
Department of History and Classics

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This study traces the development of public baths in Campania from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. Previous studies contextualize these baths within either the Hellenizing process of Southern Italy linking them to developments in Greece or precipitately linking them to new modes of monumental Roman architecture, viewing them as an active agent in visually, culturally, and socially asserting Roman hegemony over subjugated Italic peoples. Neither of these methods address the active participation of indigenous peoples in selecting which social and cultural institutions and material culture they choose to use nor do they address how this cultural interaction can lead to ingenious new architectural forms. The form and function of the public baths in Campania are placed within this context of dynamic cultural interaction. I argue that the synthesis of features, such as heated communal immersion pools, the variation of bathing methods available to users, and space for moderate exercise is an indigenous contribution to the standard Greek Hellenistic public bath structure. Both the social customs of the Campanians and domestic bath architecture predating the first public baths in the area are analysed to demonstrate how these affected the form and the function of public baths in Campania. The physical evidence is then examined in three chronological periods: 200 BC to 89 BC; 88 BC to 27 BC; and finally, 26 BC to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The architectural development of the baths is then placed within the broader framework of the socio-political events occurring in the area during the developmental period of the baths.
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File title: Formated Draft
File author: Tanya Henderson
Page count: 312
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