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Baths and Bathing

The culture of bathing and the baths and thermae in Palestine from the Hasmoneans to the Moslem Conquest: With an appendix on Jewish Ritual baths (miqva’ot)

Stefanie Hoss


In this volume the author studies Roman baths in Israel, including a section on the miqveh (ritual Jewish bath), which first appears in the 2nd century BCE and becomes a fairly common feature both of Hellenistic private baths and other areas such as cemeteries, oil or wine presses and synagogues in Palestine in the 1st century BCE. The geographical limits of this study are set by the ancient identification of Palestine that is Cis- and Transjordania and the scope covers the time between the reign of Alexander Jannai (103-76 BCE) and the Muslim conquest (640 CE). The author draws a picture of the development of Roman baths and thermae in Palestine using a combination of literary and archaeological sources. This includes not only an account of the purely architectural development of the buildings, but also an account of the development of the institution of “bathing the Roman way” itself and the utilisation of the Roman baths and thermae in Palestine. The book concludes with a complete catalogue of baths in Roman Palestine and a selective catalogue of Miqva'ot in Roman Palestine.