For the first time, a book of photographs focuses entirely on one of the grandest and best- preserved bath complexes surviving from Antiquity including the latest phase of restoration in the substructures and the Mithraeum.
Opened in 216 AD in the southern part of Rome on the initiative of Emperor Caracalla, the Thermae Antoninae (Antonine Baths), as it was known, survived only for three centuries. However, the baths have always been famous on account of the splendour of their decoration and the exceptional artistic quality of the artworks used to embellish them. A typical example of the so-called ‘grand Imperial baths’, the complex is built on a rectangular plan with rooms arranged along a single axis. They were conceived as a setting for bathing, sport and body care, but people also went there to stroll and study. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the baths, approaching them through six broad themes: for example, the buildings themselves, the architectural decoration, the art works found there – including the monumental sculptures, many of which ended up in the Farnese Collection – everyday life at the baths, including an update on the latest phase of restoration in the substructures, and the Mithraeum, the largest ever found in Rome.