In ancient Rome, thermae (from Greek θερμός thermos, “hot”) and balneae (from Greek βαλανεῖον balaneion) were facilities for bathing. Thermae usually refers to the large imperial bath complexes, while balneae were smaller-scale facilities, public or private, that existed in great numbers throughout Rome. Most Roman cities had at least one, if not many, such buildings, which were centres not only for bathing, but socializing. Roman bath-houses were also provided for private villas, town houses, and forts. They were supplied with water from an adjacent river or stream, or more normally, by an aqueduct. The water would be heated by a log fire before being channelled into the hot bathing rooms. The design of baths is discussed by Vitruvius in De Architectura.
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