Roman hygiene: urine as detergent

With a few weeks to go until Time of Troubles is due with the press, I am engaged in intensive reading and writing, which absorbs me for most of the day. Every now and then, I come across a delightful insight. This one comes from a study of Roman bathhouses.

People urinated into buckets in the middle of the street (and the urine was then used as detergent), men and women shared open toilets at the public latrines. Overall, in this pre‐underwear age, body parts that we today tend to conceal were much more on display.

From Yaron Eliav, ‘Bathhouses as Places of Social and Cultural Interaction’ (2010).

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One thought on “Roman hygiene: urine as detergent

  1. At least they had toilets, shared or not. And sewage systems too. I expect that Ancient Britons were defecating in bushes and peeing up trees during the same period.
    It must have been a sight to see (but not smell) with slaves around helping, and communal ‘sponges on sticks’ used by all and sundry. Fascinating times indeed, Roland.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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