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Copy of a stone plaque from a Roman bath, made in Europe, 1901-1950

Washing and cleansing were significant parts of everyday Roman life. The original plaque, of which this is a copy, was found at Qurbus, Tunisia. It recorded the building of a solarium or sun-bathing terrace at the Roman baths in Carthage, in 44-43 BCE. The translation of the inscription is “Decimus Laelius Balbus, son of Decimus, Quaestor for the Praetor, has attended the building of the sweating rooms [sauna], of the massage chamber and the solarium”. A quaestor and a praetor are Roman governmental officers.

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Glossary: hygiene

The science of health and how to maintain it. A condition or practice which promotes good health. The definition varies widely and differs across cultures.

Glossary: plaque

An ornamental tablet of metal, porcelain etc that depicts a person, scene or inscription. Often fixed to a building in commemoration of a person or notable historical occurence.