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Public Toilets (Foricae) and Sanitation in the Ancient Roman World

Case studies in Greece and North Africa

Antonella Patricia Merletto
Publication Year:
308 pages, Illustrated throughout in black & white, and colour
BAR number:


This monograph studies the architectural history of ancient public toilets, called foricae. Using comparative data and historical, archaeological and literary sources, this comprehensive analysis of foricae offers a deeper understanding of their origin in the Hellenistic period. It also examines their diffusion in the ancient Roman world through advances in hydraulic technology and building techniques. Foricae became characteristic features of many Roman cities, playing an important civic and hygienic role. The study of their features reveals various plans, of which the peristyle is undoubtedly the most original. The independent and freestanding peristyle forica of Kos (Greece) is the most opulent example, and the exhaustive survey of the peristyle foricae of the Hadrianic Baths of Lepcis Magna (Libya) and of Gortyn (Crete-Greece) prove the importance of this typology in the history of functional architecture in the Roman Empire.

Antonella Patricia Merletto teaches History of Architecture and Archaeology at various American universities in Rome. She is also an independent researcher who has worked on various archaeological excavations in Greece.

‘A comprehensive treatise that is destined to become a classic in the field.’ Professor David Deming, University of Oklahoma

‘This book contributes new information to the field. It adds further knowledge to the broad coverage that is available.’ Piers Mitchell, University of Cambridge

Introduction (S3131_Merletto_9781407360454_-_introduction.pdf, 453 Kb) [Download]

Table of Contents (S3131_Merletto_9781407360454_-_contents.pdf, 393 Kb) [Download]