Garrett Fagan says that toilets were less private in Roman times.


Toilets
It is most likely that you would have felt uncomfortable going to the bathroom at Caracalla—or any other Roman bath, for that matter.

Romans were far less shy about bodily functions than we are. In general, the Roman Empire was a much more communal world than ours. Acts we consider private—bathing and going to the toilet—were done by the Romans in public and without shame.

The seats of the toilets at Roman baths are close together. And there is little historical evidence that men and women had separate bathroom (or bathing) facilities. Some modicum of privacy was provided by the Roman's loose togas, since they were hiked up rather than pulled down.

"However," points out Garrett Fagan, an authority on life in the Roman baths, "that doesn't preclude the kinds of noises and odors that would disgust us. For modern-day Westerners, it would be a very embarrassing place to be, but the Romans didn't seem to mind."

Romans would wipe themselves using sponges on sticks. Before they left, they'd stop at a basin to wash their hands. The sewers passing underneath the baths—the last stop of water from the aqueducts—would wash their waste to the river.

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