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Trier: Imperial Baths


The Imperial Baths. Photo Jona Lendering.
The Imperial Baths.
Augusta Treverorum: Roman city, modern Trier.
   
History Pictures

The complex that is known as the Imperial Baths consists of two parts, which we always find together: the real baths (thermae) and a field on which people could perform athletic exercises (palaestra). The latter measures 160 x 130 meter; the baths themselves were added to the west and are about 90 meter deep.

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Imperial Baths, Trier. Photo Jona Lendering.
The construction of this complex started before 300, and can be attributed to the emperor Constantius I Chlorus (293-306), who moved his residence to Trier. In the northwestern part of the palaestra, older houses were demolished to create space. In 316, the baths were not yet finished, but work came to an end; the complex was, in other words, never finished.

In 353, the usurper Magnentiusbesieged the city (in vain) and in 360, Germanic tribes sacked Trier. After this, the Imperial Baths were no longer in use, and the emperors Gratian and Valentinian II use them as barracks. The old caldarium became a shrine for the standards. It was to remain a castle during the Middle Ages, just like the Baths of Barbara.

A satellite photo can be found here.
Edge of Empire. The book Arjen Bosman and I wrote about Rome's Lower Rhine Frontier.
Edge of Empire. The book Arjen Bosman and I wrote about Rome's Lower Rhine Frontier (order; review)
Imperial Baths, Trier. Photo Jona Lendering. Model of the Imperial Baths. Landesmuseum, Trier (Germany). Photo Jona Lendering. Imperial Baths, Trier. Photo Jona Lendering.

Model of the Imperial Baths. Landesmuseum.

History Pictures
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2008
Revision: 7 Dec. 2008
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