You’ve got to be clean, to be on the scene

April 28, 2011

Gibbon says of Caracalla (Emperor – 209-217 AD)

that Caracalla was the common enemy of mankind

that the repentance of Caracalla only prompted him to remove from the world whatever could remind him of his guilt, or recall the memory of his murdered brother

and refers to

the wild ambition and black passions of Caracalla’s soul

his  timid and brutal cruelty

and describes with some enjoyment, tempered by a little scepticism, how from the Caledonians under Fingal  he fled from his arms along the fields of his pride

also

how he killed 20,000 men and women who he suspected of being sympathetic to his murdered brother Geta

De Quincey suggests that on his subsequent wanderings over the empire he was

pursued into every region by the bloody image of his brother

So what would you do if you’d made such a filthy great stinking macchiato of your soul?

Build a rucking great bath.

The hot rooms to either side of the great circular caldarium offered a range of different kinds of dry heat. Their missing front walls were composed almost entirely of glass, taking advantage of natural solar energy. The surrounding surfaces on the outer facade wall were finished with coloured glass mosaic, so that the whole block will have shimmered in the afternoon sun.  All that survives of the caldarium proper (which equalled the Pantheon rotunda in height and was three-quarters its diameter) are two piers of brick-faced concrete 35m high. It contained seven plunge baths and the domed ceiling was probably lined with gilded sheet bronze.

The baths could seat ten thousand people.

Hot damn, wish I could have seen that.