Scholastic socialization

We took a little zag off Curetes street in the ruined city of Ephesus and suddenly we were in a little maze of paths which were part of a public bath from the 4th century CE. Right next to the entrance, in a niche by itself is the headless statue (featured photo) of the person who’s said to have refurbished this old 1st century CE building into a bath: a lady called Scholastica. We wandered through the changing room (the apodyterium), the unheated room (frigidarium), the warm room (tepidarium), glanced at the pool and the hot room (caldarium).

The Family and I suddenly realized that this was a Turkish Hamam from a time before there was Turkey. The chattering classes of Ephesus would arrive, along with their attendants, and proceed to be massaged and bathed as they socialized. Must have been quite a nice investment for Scholastica. This structure was discovered in a dig in 1926. I found a little hole in the floor through which one could see part of the earthen pipes through which steam circulated. Did men and women bathe together? A long article that I found presents evidence for and against. It is interesting to read this article along with one on sexual relations during the Roman empire.