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Rome Reborn

Baths of Titus

Baths of Titus

These baths were built by Titus (A.D. 39-81) at the time of the dedication (A.D. 80) of the Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater). Both complexes returned to public use land seized by Nero for the “Golden House,” his sumptuous and vast private palace in the heart of the city.

Thermae Titi

From Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, rev. Thomas Ashby. Oxford: 1929, p. 533-534.

Built by Titus in great haste at the time of the dedication of the Colosseum, and opened with magnificent games (Suet. Tit. 7: amphitheatro dedicato thermisque iuxta celeriter extructis munus edidit apparatissimum; Cass. Dio LXVI.25.1: τὸ τε βαλανεῖον τὶ ἐπώνυμον αὐτοῦ; Chron. 146; Hier. a. Abr. 2105). These baths were in Region III (Not.), near the Colosseum and within the precinct of Nero's Domus Aurea (q.v.) (Mart. Spect. 2: hic ubi miramur velocia munera thermas abstulerat miseris tecta superbus ager), but no actual buildings of the domus seem to have been removed to make room for them. In 238 A.D. some restoration was evidently contemplated (Hist. Aug. Max. et Balb. 1), and incidental references to them occur in Martial (III.20.15; 36.6) and in later inscriptions (CIL VI.9797 = AL 29.4; IG xiv.956 B 15: παρἀ τἀς Τιτιανἁς).

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Additional source material

  • Ancient Library Sources (from Peter Aicher, Rome Alive: A Source Guide to the Ancient City, vol. 1, Bolchazy-Carducci: 2004) [Works cited]

    68.6.

    Where now the Sun's Colossus has its closer view of the stars

    And towering scaffolds loom above the street,

    The hated entrance halls of that wild king once gleamed

    And a single dwelling stood in all the city.

    Where now the venerable mass of the Amphitheater rises

    High above Rome, the pond of Nero spread.

    Where now we gaze in wonder on the sudden Baths of Titus,

    A haughty estate deprived the people of homes.

    Where now the Claudian colonnade unfolds its spreading shade

    The furthest part of the palace came to an end.

    Rome has been restored to Rome, Titus, with you as her defender,

    And pleasures grabbed by a tyrant return to the people.

    Martial, On Spectacles 2

    [More primary sources and commentary]

  • Thermae Titi in Katherine Rinne's Aquae Urbis Romae: The Waters of the City of Rome, an on-line cartographic history of nearly 2800 years of water infrastructure and urban development in Rome.
  • Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project
  • German Archaeological Institute
  • Flickr images
  • Wikipedia

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