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Aquae Sulis facts for kids

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Roman Baths in Bath Spa, England - July 2006
The Great Bath. Everything above the level of the pillar bases is of a later date.

Aquae Sulis (Latin for Waters of Sulis) was a small town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is the English city of Bath, Somerset. The Antonine Itinerary register of Roman roads lists the town as Aquis Sulis. Ptolemy records the town as Aquae calidae (warm waters) in his 2nd-century work Geographia.

Medieval legend

In medieval times, the Roman temple at Bath was incorporated into British legend. The thermal springs at Bath were said to have been dedicated to Minerva by the legendary King Bladud and the temple there endowed with an eternal flame.

An 8th century poem in Old English, The Ruin, describing the ruinous changes that had overtaken a Roman hot-water spring, is assumed to be a reference to Aquae Sulis. The poem was copied in the Exeter Book for transmission to future generations.


Bath bains gorgone
The Gorgon at Roman Baths Museum

Rediscovered from the 18th century onward, the city's Roman remains have become one of the city's main attractions. They may be viewed almost exclusively at the Roman Baths Museum, which houses:

  • Artefacts recovered from the Baths and the Roman town. There is a fine collection of stone sculptures.
  • Excavated remains of the main temple courtyard.
  • The Roman Baths themselves, though some lie below 18th century stonework. Of particular note is the original Roman Great Bath still lead-lined and fed by the sacred spring through Roman lead pipes.
  • A hoard of 30,000 silver coins, one of the largest discovered in Britain, was unearthed in an archaeological dig in 2012. The coins, believed to date from the 3rd century, were found not far away from the Roman baths.

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