It’s interesting to visit historical places with pre-conceived notions and leave looking at things afresh. When I visited the ancient Roman baths of Bath, England I wasn’t sure what to expect. I went with a scene from a film adaptation of Northanger Abbey in my mind, where the characters wore dresses, with the delicate fabric afloat around them and drank tea while enjoying the warmth and therapeutic benefits of the mineral baths.
|Poster in the elegant lobby of the Roman baths.|
What I hadn’t considered is that an ancient town of Aquae Sulis once thrived in the area. The mineral baths weren’t just for healing, but also part of a temple system built for the worship of a pagan goddess, Sulis Minerva, combining both Celtic and Roman traditions. Sulis was a Celtic goddess of fertility and Minerva a Roman deity of healing.
|One of the statues of an ancient Roman|
leader, added during the 19th century.
|Collection of Roman coins.|
|Bronze head of Sulis Minerva statue.|
Other objects of note in the museum are a collection of over 12,000 Roman coins, gems found caught in one of the drains, many ancient Roman artifacts, and a large bronze head from the statue of Sulis Minerva, encased in glass.
While the coins were tossed
into the sacred spring as an offering so were sheets of lead or pewter with
curses written on them. They were often written outcries for justice against
thieves who took the clothes of those who were enjoying their time in the baths!
|View of one of the baths.|
Making my way through the museum was rather overwhelming as there was so much to take in. I saw pieces of the temple pediment, models of the temple complex, and walked through the enclosed building block ruins of the courtyard.
While the large pool is still filled with the rich mineral water, visitors aren’t allowed in, but you can sample a cup of the water. I missed out on this. If you’re especially fortunate you may run into one of the costumed actors. I spoke with a "merchant" who had come from another country and happily shared with me about the healing powers of urine from Portugal!
There were other rooms on the level of the bath, containing areas where once stood a cooling pool to dip into after your 115 degree soak. There was also a room once used as a sauna.
|Traveling merchant with some of his wares.|
Kathleen Rouser has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She desires to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She is a long time member in good standing of ACFW and a former board member of its Great Lakes Chapter. Kathleen has been published in anthologies, including the Amazon bestseller, Christmas Treasures, as well as in both print and online magazines. Her debut full-length novel, Rumors and Promises, was recently published by Heritage Beacon Fiction in April, 2016.
Previously a home-school mom of three, she has more recently been a college student and a mild-mannered dental assistant. Along with her sassy tail-less cat, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of 34 years, who not only listens to her stories, but also cooks for her.
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