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In front of Frigidarium at the Terme di Caracalla (Baths of Caracalla)

In the board in front of the Frigidariums it is written:

"The Frigidarium was a monumental hall similar to a Basilica. It has inspired the architecture of many subsequent public buildings, such as the Baths of Diocletian, and the Basilica of Maxentius, but its influence did not stop with imperial buildings. In fact the architects who built, in the 1800s the Chicago Railroad Station and Pennsylvania Station in New York copied its architecture perfectly."

Emperor Antonius Caracalla built this bath, the largest the Rome had ever seen till then (25 acres), in 212 AD, to be finished in 216 AD. Public works of large magnitude were known to generate support of the people. Hence Septimus and his son Caracalla decided to imitate Vespasian (the Colosseum) and Trajan (the Basilica Ulpia) and built this mammoth bath. The sober exterior concealed a constrastingly rich interior: floors paved with marble and mosaic, walls covered with mosaic and gilded stucco work, the white marble capitals and cornices contrasting with multicolored marble, porphyry and granite of the columns. It offered facilities for 1600 bathers at one time and was able to cater for 6000 people a day. Along with the bathing rooms, there were libraries (Greek and Latin), art galleries, meeting halls, and a stadium. The Baths of Caracalla were used till 537AD when Goths under Witgis damaged the aqueducts which supplied water to Rome. Plundered repeatedly over the centuries litle is left of the Baths' original grandeur.


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Last Revised September 28, 2007

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