Archive for November 2011

Roman Baths in the Ancient City of Rome   56 comments

 

Ancient Roman Baths

Ancient Roman Bath HouseThe history of the Roman baths began during the height of the Roman Empire and the larger public baths (thermae)were owned and operated by the government. Some large Roman baths could hold up to 3,000 people at any one time so the danger of theft was always a risk. There were no bars such as social and economic status to prevent anyone in Rome enjoying Roman public baths. A small admission fee was charged it but it was well within the means of even the poor people of Rome to visit weekly. The rich enjoyed the luxury of daily usage.

 Meeting with friends 3 balls and 3 people ball game_named TrigonMeaty cafe treats Board games called tabula_A favourite activity Roman baths were a central part of Roman social life busy, noisy and lively.Located in most Roman cities in Ancient Rome they also allowed the Roman citizens access to healthy exercise in the gym where the men enjoyed working out with strength training weights and the throwing of the discus. They also had a library and a café-type food area for treats such as fruit or cakes, oysters, meaty chops and spare ribs.

Men and women used separate bath houses, usually open at different times, as mixed bathing was considered unacceptable and was against bath house rules. Slaves were allowed, when taken by their masters/mistresses, to visit the baths, during which time the slaves servants to carry their towels, oils, and clothing and were expected to help them enjoy their bathing. They also stood guard over their clothes in the dressing rooms. The poor, for a fee could have their clothes watched over by bathhouses attendants. Children were not allowed to use them at all.

Heating the Baths

No exercising "in the niff!" Roman BathsIt is unlikely that the Romans, unlike the Greek men exercised “in the niff” Winking smile though they probably wore only light clothing whilst bathing. They also wore special thick-soled sandals for protection whilst bathing because the floors were heated.

Spring water flowing to BathsThis was achieved by a unique system of heating known as hypocaust, invented by roman engineers. Pillars raised the floor off the ground and wall cavities allowed hot air from the furnace (praefurnium) to circulate through them. Rooms requiring the most heat were placed closest to the furnace, whose heat could be increased by adding more wood. Roman bath houses were a feat of engineering at the time. Drawing on natural hot springs from beneath the ground, a pump system drew water up into the large pool, wherever springs existed. Heaters were also created to maintain warm temperatures in the baths.

Accompanied by a slave carrying their towels, oil flasks and strigils, bathers would progress through rooms of various temperature….. tepid, hot and dry, warm and steamy and a final cold plunge bath in the aptly named frigidarium.

Bathing Rooms

      Tepidarium (Warm Room)    Laconicum (another Hot Room):     Natatio     Apodyterium (Changing Room)     Caldarium (Hot Room)Cold Room (Frigidarium)

In the Tepidarium (Warm room) heated walls and floors and sometimes a pool warmed the water enough for the Romans to sit and relax in and also to rub themselves with olive oil. they would then move onto another hot room, the Laconium. This is a small round steam room acting like a sauna to encourage further sweating. Followed by the Natatio, a long warm water swimming pool served by the Spring. Towels were collected and clothes left in cupboards in the Apodyterium (Changing Rooms). closest to the furnace is the Caldarium (Hot room) consisting of a large tub or small pool full of super-heated hot water and a waist-high fountain (labrum) with cool water to splash on the face and neck. Finally the bather might return to the Tepidarium again before finishing in the Cold room (frigidarium) with a refreshing dip in the cold pool and massage with perfumed oils.

After exercise, bathers would have the dirt, sweat and oil scraped from their bodies with a strigil- a curved metaThe Stabian Baths a relatively small Republican bathousel scraper. They could then enjoy a stroll in the gardens, visit the library, be entertained by performing jugglers and acrobats, listen to a literary recital, or indulge in a well earned bite to eat.

Roman Bathhouse Latrines

Roman Bathhouses also had large public latrines, (‘loos’ for the unenlightened!) Usually consisting of marble seats perched over channels of continually flowing water they were the earliest toilets to be flushable. A shallow water channel At the forefront of the seats, with their on-stick sponges for the use of the Roman bather after use of said latrines there was also a channel of shallow water, presumably for the cleaning of said sponges Winking smile

                                                  The Roman Baths in the City of Bath

The walled town of Aquae Sulis

 

The splendid temple and bathing facility the Romans built around the only hot spring in Britain, still flows with natural hot water. The mystique of the Baths remains to this day attracting tourists from far and wide, drawn to the times when Roman citizens and centurions bathed in this pool and offered homage to the Minerva goddess of the waters.

Aquae Sulis (Latin for ‘waters of Sulis’)has three hot springs. The largest natural hot (46° C )Spring located central to the site is considered sacred to the goddess Sulis Minerva. An orange colour skirting the Spring is the a result of many different minerals such as iron dissolving. The spring is said to be a link to the Underworld, somewhere people would come to pray to the goddess Sulis Minerva throwing in gifts of jewellery and money , so the goddess would lookGifts thrown into the Spring for goddess after them and theirs.

Notes (‘curses’) written to the goddess on soft lead were also thrown in to the spring. For example, "To Minerva the goddess of Sulis I have given the thief who has stolen my hooded cloak, whether slave or free, whether man or woman. He is not to buy back this gift unless with his own blood."

Sometimes they were written back-to-front or in mirror-writing to make sure only the goddess could read them because it was believed that if the curse floated, it would spring back on the curse writer rather than the unfortunate victim it was meant for.

Plants and statues in the poolInside the bathsStatues of gods and goddesses stand in the water. Plants grow on the walls and sometimes birds fly through the windows. It seems more like a pool in a wood than a water tank in the town centre. Many ill people visit the baths because they believe they will get better if they swim in the waters of Sulis Minerva. All the rooms are roofed and many have high ceilings. They have colourful painted walls and some have mosaic floor.

Next to the Spring is the temple of the goddess SulisThe Courtyard Minerva.Roman Temple The Temple is in the middle of the open air Temple courtyard. This is where most of the ceremonies take place. In front of the Temple is the great altar where the priests make sacrifices to Sulis Minerva for example; cows, sheep and pigs. The gateway to the building housing the Spring contains at its peak an image of the sun . The adjacent building shows images of the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn.

Discrimination against Fukushima’s “Nuclear Refugees”   20 comments

Fukushima Residents Suffer Discrimination At Refugee Shelters

Japanese residents who fled the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are being rejected by shelters and evacuation centres for fear they may be radioactive and contaminate others. These displaced people-”nuclear refugees” had to leave their homes, their farms, their animals, because of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant number 1 now will require an official certificate proving they are not contaminated in order to have shelters accept them, as they are expected to accommodate all the homeless.

Displaced Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Refugees

Radiation Fears and Distrust Push Thousands From Homes

Many are already traumatized by the tsunami that swept away entire towns in northern Japan, leaving more than 15,000 dead or missing. They tell tales of gruelling journeys, of post-disaster shortages, of scrounging for gasoline, and arriving with only the clothes on their backs.

They are driven not just by suspicion of the government but also by a deep fear of radiation, in a nation where the word conjures images of the atomic devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As they flee, they enter a life in limbo, camped out on gym floors with hundreds of others, uncertain when or if they will ever be able to return to their homes.

 japanese-child-screened-radioactivity-fukushimaScreening_for_radioactivityScanning Nuclear Refugees_Fukushima Radiation

Each shelter set-up to accommodate the displaced “nuclear refugees” around Fukushima Prefecture, where the plants are, unlike the areas further North ravaged by the tsunami, is equipped with radiation detection equipment at its entrance and serves as an entry checkpoint for people. These are staffed with health officials in plastic body suits and masks who scan new arrivals with Geiger counters to check for radiation.

Scanning For Radiation At A Temporary Scanning Centre For Residents Living In Fukushima Prefecture, Japan

Scanning for Radiation_Fukushima sheltersjapan-radiation-dog-eg_temp scan centre for residents nr Fuk plantScanning for Radiation_Fukushima shelters

Japanese experts have stated that Fukushima evacuees are not a threat to others. Kosuke Yamagishi of the medical department of the prefecture of Fukushima stated that ordinary people from the area are not dangerous unless they are employees of the Daiichi plant.

fukushima fear

Ichiro Yamaguchi, head of the Testing Station in Yamagata also confirmed regular evacuees are registering only low-levels of radiation. But the people are fearful, and it is this fear that is leading to discrimination against Fukushima residents.

 

An eight-year old child who lived 20 kms. from the nuclear site was refused entry into a Fukushima hospital and their appointment at the hospital had been cancelled as she had no non-radioactivity certification; her shocked father told Japan’s Mainichi newspaper.

However, officials at evacuation centres are sticking to their guns:

Rad_check_point‘All persons residing within a radius of 30 km around the plant must provide a certificate; If they do not, they must submit to an on-site detection. This is so that other evacuees feel safe.’

Tens of thousands have been forced to leave an area of a ​​20-km radius around the Fukushima Daiichi plant or being confined to their homes in an are of 10 kms further. “How can you stay at home if you have to go out to get drinking water?” asked Kumiko Kowata, 45, a homemaker, after the earthquake knocked out water supplies to her home. The exodus has also been spurred by private companies in towns near the plants who chartered buses to help their employees and families flee to the shelter in Yamagata, even as the government has played down the effects. Many believe that the situation at the plants was twice as bad as authorities and the government were admitting. “We might be overreacting, but we also know Tokyo Electric” — the plants’ operator — “is not telling us everything,” says Hitoshi Suzuki, a 34-year-old construction worker.

Munehiro Okamoto, 36, who works for a drug making company, led a convoy of four cars and 15 people, and one golden retriever, to Yamagata from Namei, a town right by the Fukushima Daiichi plant. He described a situation in which the parents feared that their children would get radiation sickness. He said the group would reach a city, stop, then fear that it was not far enough, and resume their journey westward. “We didn’t want to keep panicking and moving on and then stopping again,” he said.

Prime Minister adviser Kenichi Matsumoto, told the press that the region surrounding the Fukushima central plant could be uninhabitable for 10 or 20 years+. But if Fukushima Daiichi becomes another Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl then they may never go back. In the meantime, people are furious at being refused shelter and medical services on the assumption that they are contaminated.

Fukushima Daiichi chernobyl_openpit3-Mile Island

Fire-Wolves of Io (©2010 Revised Re-post)   32 comments

Fire Wolves of Io (Revised Re-post)

Copyright Europa’s Icewolf – All Rights Reserved

 

Jupiter and moon Io (Copyright Europa's Icewolf)

Silent cosmic explosion of shattered worlds colliding. Volcanic furls of solar fire lighting up the burnt golden worldscape displaying in flaming bursts of moulton gold heralding the birth of the “Fire Wolves of Io.” Melting plumes of moon- fire moulding the dancing array of DNA into burning smouldering embers of life-giving essences, forming and changing in an altered reality, until the birthing cry of the founding Fire Wolf of Io resounded in a wild, agonised shriek through the roaring maelstrom of a world newly and violently born.

 

FirewolfBurnished gold orbs surveying the smouldering world the first of the Fire Wolves had been brutally and dreadfully born into. Its cindered moon- black mask was in startling eclipse to its sun-bronzed coat, an otherworldly glint caught the astral light, shadowing across the volcanic land forms dotted across the newly formed solar terrain. The air tasted hot and of sulphur, twisting pockets of flames still flaring from the cracks and crevices of the scorched surface ground. Shaking itself tentatively, testing each newly formed limb, tasting the alien atmosphere it was born to with sensitive nose it tensed in its own sense of power, feeling the call of its sun-fired heritage to run and hunt and know the furnace of exhilaration that threatened to explode from deep within its burning, sultry-golden form.

It uttered a strange and involuntary noise – a deep rumbling growl of anticipation. An unfamiliar sound to the new born of Io, before leaping away untouched by the pockets of flames that were an integral part of its Fire Wolf make-up. It moved in moulton luxury feeling the flow of bone and muscle, sliding under glittering cosmic coat, searing wind currents lifting it hotly as the star wolf itself flew on winged paws across red-tinged terrain, caught in the joy of being, of its own wild untamed vitality,untouched and all instinct and wild primal hunter. “FIRE WOLVES OF IO….”

All too often in life we cling with the utmost urgency onto the very thing we cannot keep hold of and even when we know it is lost to us our lives are shaped by that all-consuming longing and the fierce refusal to give ourselves over to the process of adaptation. So it is with those who become like fired moulton rock – they are trapped in an unchanging form. We force ourselves into the form of unyielding moulton rock because we FEAR TO CHANGE.