An underground heating system of the water served as the heating for the building, which operated by burning coal. Though it’s hard to believe, this successful system operated from the time of the Romans until the middle of the 19th century.
In the various compounds of the baths were hot and cold baths, shops, brothels and a library. It became a popular location for wealthy citizens of the city, due to its huge size which enabled thousands of people to enjoy the luxurious experience. The green areas added to the pastoral atmosphere of the place.
Over the years, the baths underwent the usual wear and tear, similarly to most buildings in Rome. Earthquakes, such as the most recent one in 2009, also hit a place that has become a historic ruin.
Today the entire area serves as an amphitheater. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, concerts are held there.
When the preceding emperor, Septimius Severus, died in 211 AD, the brothers Caracalla and Publicus Septimius Geta ascended to power together. They took various actions to strengthen the Roman Empire, but beneath the surface there was a hidden competition between the brothers. It was a competition for control.
One day, Caracalla invited his brother Geta in the guise of reconciliation. In the middle of the conversation he sent his men to murder him in cold blood. Thus Caracalla became the single ruling emperor. Caracalla then took measures to ensure his status and popularity. One of the measures was establishing the baths in Rome.
The bath complex had a special channel that transported water. The baths themselves had a frigidarium (cold room), a tepidarium (a lukewarm room) and a calderium (hot room). In addition, the bathers were offered two options- a gyms or a boxing room.
However the baths didn’t only serve for bathing purposes. They filled the function of a resort and cultural center that included a public library of two rooms, as was customary at the time. One of them had Greek texts and the other Latin.