Frigidarium, Baths of Caracalla, Rome


Stato attuale e restauro della grande sala “Frigidarium.
(Current state and restoration of the great “Frigidarium”)

On the back:
Les Thermes de Caracalla. A L’etat actuel et en restauration. De L’oeuvre recemment publiée. Par Le Chev. J. Ripostelli
La Grande Salle Avec Le Bassin Pour Les Bains. | D’eau Froide Frigidarium

(The Baths of Caracalla. At the current state and in restoration. From the newly published work* by the Chev. J. Ripostelli
The Great Room With The Basin For The Baths | Cold Water Frigidarium)
c.1910

The Baths of Caracalla are here, if you want to have a look.

Built between the years 212 and 216 under the direction of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, more commonly known as Emperor Caracalla, the Baths of Caracalla were one of the greatest and most spectacular thermal complexes in ancient times.

Covered with marble and decorated with valued works of art, the Baths of Caracalla were the most sumptuous baths to be built in ancient times.
Rome Travel Guide

These baths built by Emperor Caracalla (A.D.188-217) were inspired in their design by the Baths of Trajan. The enormous complex, which could hold up to 10,000 people at a time, was surrounded by a high wall and included a central bathing block surrounded by gardens. The bath block held an enormous swimming pool, exercise areas, and the usual warm and hot rooms. The complex was popular and was still in use in the time of Theodoric (A.D. 493-526). In the medieval period, the site was stripped of its valuable building materials. Under the Farnese Pope Paul III (mid-16th century), colossal statues such as the Hercules Farnese and the Farnese Bull were excavated from the baths and installed in the Farnese palace in Rome.
Rome Reborn, University of Virginia

The Baths of Caracalla, built for Emperor Caracalla between 211 and 216 AD, were the second of larger Imperial bath houses of Rome (following the baths of Trajan – opposite the Colosseum). The size of these baths is still captivating. The platform on which the baths were built covers an area of 100,000 metres square. Estimates suggest that for the five year period, 9,000 people were employed each day. When completed, the baths accommodated somewhere in the region of 10,000 people at once. The baths continued to be used as such until the sixth century.

Repairs were made to the Baths towards the beginning of the fourth century, and they continued in use until well into the sixth century, soon after the Goths cut off the water supply to Rome. Thereafter, as with many of the Roman sites, the baths fell into disrepair and became a source of materials for Middle Ages builders.
Archaeology Travel

In 1824, excavations at the baths were conducted by Count Egidio di Velo, whose findings included the mosaics showing athletes now at the Vatican Museums. Further work followed by Luigi Canina in the frigidarium (until the mid-19th century) and then by Battista Guidi (1860–7).

From 1866 to 1869 restoration work in the central part of the complex revealed a torso of Hercules, porphyr columns and figure-adorned capitals. In 1870 the area became the property of the Italian government and Pietro Rosa conducted excavations in the eastern palaestra. In 1878/9, Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered mosaics in the caldarium and western palaestra.[3]:14

From the early 20th century, excavations expanded into the outer areas of the complex and downward, revealing the subterranean passages, including a mithraeum (see below). Systematic work on the galleries, started in the 18th and 19th centuries, resumed after 1901.
Wikipedia

Artworks of ruins
Reconstructions.
Modern (mostly) photos

Video reconstruction (you have to look at that one)

Piranesi in Rome


*The newly published work might be (Les) thermes de Caracalla à l’époque romaine et de nos jours: histoire et description, avec une préface sur l’origine des bains à Rome, by Joseph Ripostelli published in 1908. There’s an English edition from 1914, The Thermae of Caracalla in Roman times and at the present day : history and description together with a preface on the origin of the baths in Rome

 

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