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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

IV. 

 

The Bath--Antagonism of Primitive Christianity to the Cult of the 

Skin--Its Cult of Personal Filth--The Reasons which Justified this 

Attitude--The World-wide Tendency to Association between Extreme 

Cleanliness and Sexual Licentiousness--The Immorality Associated with 

Public Baths in Europe down to Modern Times. 

 

 

The hygiene of the skin, as well as its special cult, consists in bathing. 

The bath, as is well known, attained under the Romans a degree of 

development which, in Europe at all events, it has never reached before or 

since, and the modern visitor to Rome carries away with him no more 

impressive memory than that of the Baths of Caracalla. Since the coming of 

Christianity the cult of the skin, and even its hygiene, have never again 

attained the same general and unquestioned exaltation. The Church killed 

the bath. St. Jerome tells us with approval that when the holy Paula noted 

that any of her nuns were too careful in this matter she would gravely 

reprove them, saying that "the purity of the body and its garments means 

the impurity of the soul."[21] Or, as the modern monk of Mount Athos still 

declares: "A man should live in dirt as in a coat of mail, so that his 

soul may sojourn more securely within." 

 

Our knowledge of the bathing arrangements of Roman days is 

chiefly derived from Pompeii. Three public baths (two for both 

men and women, who were also probably allowed to use the third 

occasionally) have so far been excavated in this small town, as 

well as at least three private bathing establishments (at least 

one of them for women), while about a dozen houses contain 

complete baths for private use. Even in a little farm house at 

Boscoreale (two miles out of Pompeii) there was an elaborate 

series of bathing rooms. It may be added that Pompeii was well 

supplied with water. All houses but the poorest had flowing 

jets, and some houses had as many as ten jets. (See Man's 

_Pompeii_, Chapters XXVI-XXVIII.) 

 

The Church succeeded to the domination of imperial Rome, and 

adopted many of the methods of its predecessor. But there could 

be no greater contrast than is presented by the attitude of 

Paganism and of Christianity toward the bath. 

 

As regards the tendencies of the public baths in imperial Rome, 

some of the evidence is brought together in the section on this 

subject in Rosenbaum's _Geschichte der Lustseuche im Alterthume_. 

As regards the attitude of the earliest Christian ascetics in 

this matter I may refer the reader to an interesting passage in 

Lecky's _History of European Morals_ (vol. ii, pp. 107-112), in 

which are brought together a number of highly instructive 

examples of the manner in which many of the most eminent of the 

early saints deliberately cultivated personal filth. 

 

In the middle ages, when the extreme excesses of the early 

ascetics had died out, and monasticiam became regulated, monks 


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