An Elusive Legacy: The Discovery of Roman Baths in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Giacomo Savani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I investigate how eighteenth-century antiquarians engaged with the remains of Roman bath buildings in Britain and discuss their multifaceted attitude towards the ancient practice of bathing, focusing on the city of Bath. I also examine the interests and priorities of Georgian scholars in studying Roman baths and their structure, highlighting their sometimes uncritical use of Classical sources and tracking the origins of their misconceptions regarding the components and function of these facilities. Finally, I briefly address the elusive sociocultural legacy of Roman baths and bathing in eighteenth-century Britain, stressing influences and differences in practice and architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13–48
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Roman baths
  • Bath
  • Antiquarianism
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeological illustrations
  • Eighteenth Century
  • history of medicine


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