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In ancient Roman culture, bathing held a major significance in ancient Roman society. Bathing was a communal activity. Business deals, politics and even courtships between lovers were carried out in the public baths. The bathhouses even contained rooms for libraries, commercial stores like perfume shops, and theaters. There were also separate entrances for women, men and slaves.
The thermae were public bathhouses run by the state. The thermae were supplied by water from an aqueduct. Small bathhouses were called balneum and privately owned. Both types of baths required patrons to pay a fee before entering. The largest bathhouses were the Baths of Diocletian. This video shows the magnitude of this bathhouse :
Other great bathhouses are Baths of Caracalla. Only the ruins remain, but this bathhouse has been the inspiration for the architecture of Penn Station in New York :