The act of the bath stems from religious factors. The earliest recorded mention of bathing dates back to about 3000 BC. The act of bathing was seen as a way to purify body and soul before entering locations of religious importance. In different cultures the water was often heated or kept cold depending on the belief of the local culture. While some ancient baths were very much like the Roman public ones, evidence of private baths also exist. One such example dates to 1700 BC and is from Crete.
Of course if you are trying to get through the process of US Immigration by getting a US Visa you might find it relaxing to read your Immigration news while in the bath. It used to be that such experiences were communal to keep the spirits loosened by bathing away from the home and from causing trouble. Now days, bathing is considered a private act, however. Perhaps this stems from the ancient stories of special attributes being shared among those who bathed together as much as the changes in moral perspective?
Roman culture marked a change in the nature of bathing. The culture embraced the bath as a social activity, and in so doing created many large thermal baths for the public to use. These baths are similar to modern heated pools or spas, in that people came to relax and rejuvenate more so then to be purified. Additionally not only was news and information shared between those who gathered at the bath, but often times there were some form of entertainment provided by various professionals who would ply their trades there. Of course, wealthy Romans could and did build private baths also.
The decline of the Romans did not spell the end of the Bath. Indeed it was during the era between the fall of Rome and the advent of the Renaissance that soap was invented and saw widespread manufacture. Bathing may have stopped being a social affair, but it moved into the realm of the private and for many people was a necessary part of their grooming. At some point in the sixteenth century water became feared as the carrier of disease. It was this fear that finally wiped out the public bath for good in Europe, although in Japan the tradition remains alive and well.
Remember while you are on your quest for US Immigration and needing to fill out applications for your US Visa that the bath remains a relaxing place to read up on your Immigration news, although in private. Thankfully modern bathing does not see water as the source of disease (and it is not except for very rare situations), so we can enjoy a hot soak in the tub whenever we feel the need to do so. Bathing connects us to our ancient roots, purifying our souls in a totally unexpected way, by allowing us to drop the day’s cares and relax. When you enjoy your next bath remember this remarkable connection to civilizations that have passed away into the mists of time.
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