Heating Systems of Greek Baths: New Evidences from Egypt


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Heating Systems of Greek Baths: New Evidences from Egypt
  greek baths and bathing culture neW discOVeries and aPPrOaches e ys k. lo  Mo tmp Peeterslv - P - Wpo, Ma2013  c Ontents s andra k. l ucOre M Onika t rüMPer aowmM Onika t rüMPer iooa drian s tähli Wom b Displaying Female Attractiveness on Greek Vases r ebecca F leMMing b  b  g MM Onika t rüMPer u co of g P bF ikret k. Y egül tm M: i l of  g  rom b  b cV assilis t siOlis t b  F   to fom Balaneion o Balneum g iOVanna g recO c arMelO d i n icuOlO t h b  VM aria t eresa i annelli F rancescO c uteri co – Mo M: h b   b   ‘cm’c laudiO s abbiOne a nwy if g b b  lo epzfs andra k. l ucOre b  ho syd aniele n aPOlitani k en s aitO am   b: no Oy O ec hristian r ussenberger a nw b w hypo  Py ho 2  Mo ioP OlYxeni a daM -V eleni t h Balaneion   rom Fom of toe Manuele g recOand P aOlO V itti t b comp  hp (lmo)c Ornelia r öMer t g b   Fym  em  tp: a Pmy rpoVii11123337389113131143151181189201211229  t hibaud F Ournet b érangère r edOn h sym of g b New Evidence from Egypt t hibaud F Ournet Mp: loo of g P bM Onika t rüMPer co of g b Introduction t hibaud F Ournet  , s andra k. l ucOre  , b érangère r edOn  , M Onika t rüMPer cobopyl of coo239264265269335349  The French Archaeological Mission of TaposirisMagna (MFFTM), directed by Marie-FrançoiseBoussac (Univ. Nanterre Paris Ouest) and funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, started,in 2003, under the direction of the authors, thearchaeological and architectural examination of an exceptionally well preserved bath building. 1 Since 2008, we have focused our work on a com-plex heating system (  fig. 1 ), which has led us tore-examine the issue of the heating techniques of Greek baths in Egypt, based on papyrologicalsources and archaeological remains.Thanks to the discovery of this heating system,it is now possible to critically reassess the gener-ally accepted view that Greek baths in Egypt wereheated minimally, or not at all, in contrast to theirequivalents in Greece and Sicily. Indeed, the re-view of the still poorly known Egyptian examplesallows distinguishing a real Greco-Egyptian bathtype, whose srcinality is essentially based on itsheating devices.Thus, Egypt finally finds its place in the long-standing discussion about the transition fromGreek to Roman baths. We will try to clarify therole that the bath in Taposiris Magna, and Egyp-tian baths in general, played in the chain of tech-nological innovations that resulted in the wide-spread appearance of hypocaust systems in theMediterranean area.S TATEOFTHE Q UESTION René Ginouvès, in his fundamental work  Balaneu-tikè  , provided the first overview of the heatingsystem of Greek baths. 2 Since then, other scholars- particularly Janet DeLaine, Garrett J. Fagan,Fikret Yegül, Inge Nielsen, Henri Broise and YvonThébert - have discussed this issue, often focus-ing on the Greek heating system and its relationto the evolution to the Roman bath. 3 Recently,Monika Trümper presented in 2006 in Alexandria 4 a stimulating synthesis of the Greek baths andtheir evolution in the Hellenistic period,mainlythanks to advances in the scholarship due to theearly work of Henri Broise on Sicilian baths, 5 andmore recently the multiplication of discoveries andthe renewed excavation of previously partiallyexcavated buildings. 6 She has identified three bath models, eachcharacterized by their relaxing bathing forms,more or less directly dependent on heating:-The first model is developed in the easternMediterranean, mainly in Greece, in the 2 nd century BCE (or late 3 rd century BCE). 7 It com- bines two types of relaxation bath, both heated(by subterranean ring-shaped installations orchannels): individual immersion bathtubs onthe one hand, and a round sweat bath on theother. The best-known example of this type is239 Heating Systems of Greek Baths New Evidence from Egypt Thibaud Fournet and Bérangère Redon AbstractIn 2003, the French Mission of Taposiris Magna (Egypt, west of Alexandria) renewed the study and excava-tion of an exceptionally well-preserved bathing complex which dates to the Hellenistic period and which wasabandoned by the end of the Ptolemaic era. Partly cut into the rock, the building comprises a cleansing section,with two tholoi  for individual bathing in hip-bathtubs; and a relaxing section, with one room equipped withindividual immersion bathtubs. Since 2008, the mission has focused on the heating system, a rare feature of Egyptian baths but one that is comparable to those of certain Sicilian/south Italian and Greek contemporaryestablishments. Consisting of a deep and large underground furnace, it was used both to produce hot water ina boiler and to heat the surrounding rooms. In particular, a heating wall heated the room with immersion bath-tubs by the process of convection. This important discovery led the authors to re-examine the issue of heatingdevices in Greek baths, in Egypt as well as in the rest of the Mediterranean world, through papyrological sourcesand archaeological remains. Finally, they attempt to define the place of the baths of Taposiris Magna, and more generally of the Egyptian baths, in the series of technological innovations that led to the full development of hypocaust systems in the Mediterranean from the 3 rd century BCE onwards.**   located at Gortys (usually dated to the mid-3 rd century BCE, but Trümper has proposed a datein the 2 nd century BCE); 8 the other examplesare found also in Greece, including Olympia(‘Speisepavillon’, middle of the 2 nd centuryBCE) and Thessaloniki (end of 3 rd /early 2 nd ?century BCE).-The second type is exclusively established inEgypt and its sphere of influence; it is charac-terized by the presence, alongside tholoi withhip-bathtubs, of unheated individual immer-sion bathtubs. Two subgroups are emerging: onone side, small baths, with few hip-bathtubsand immersion bathtubs, placed in the sameroom or separated into two rooms; on the other,large tholos -baths, with a variable number of hip-bathtubs (6 to approximately 50), accompa-nied by numerous individual immersion bath-tubs located in rectangular rooms (from one toten, averaging three to five in a room). The dateof the introduction and spread of this Egyptianmodel, as well as of its abandonment, cannot bedetermined securely because only a very few buildings have been securely dated by archae-ologists.-The third type developed in the western Medi-terranean and is characterized by the presence,in addition to hip-bathtubs, of large collectiveimmersion pools, heated by a hypocaust sys-tem(a simple subterranean heating channel).Immersion basins are located in large roomsthat could also be provided with a labrum . Thistype includes the Sicilian buildings of MegaraHy blaea, Syracuse Morgantina (North Baths),and possibly also Gela; the example in Velia (south Italy); and probably also the baths of Fregellae (Latium, phase 1) and Marseille (France  ,phase 2).All scholars mentioned above agree that the sys-tem of heated floors (sometimes called ‘proto-hypocausts’) appeared during the 3 rd century BCEin Greece and in the West, whereas Egypt seemsto be characterized by the absence of comparableinstallations.Although the precise modalities of the transi-tion between Greek and Roman baths are still being debated, all scholars emphasize the signif-icance of Hellenistic technological inventions inthe development of the ‘Roman’ hypocaust sys-tem during the 2 nd century BCE. The develop-ment of ‘Roman’ hypocausts was preceded bythe introduction of heated collective immersionpools for relaxing baths in the 3 rd century BCE,which appear in Greek as well as Roman bathsand would become the default bathing form of Roman baths. 9 While the discussion of heating systems is usu-ally confined to technological studies, its assess-ment significantly helps to reconstruct bathingpractices and their development, as the followingreassessment of the archaeological and papyrolog-ical evidence from Egypt will show. Comparingthe Egyptian examples with their equivalents inGreece and the western Mediterranean allows usto reconsider the development and distribution of the different Mediterranean models and add an‘oriental chapter’ to the history of Greek andearly Roman baths.240 Fig. 1. Taposiris Magna Baths:overview of heating system; from southeast.
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