Latrina
The Latrine of Senex Caecilius

Many private homes depend upon public rather than private latrines. Chamber pots are used when it is inconvenient to go outside. Like public facilities (foricae), a private privy allows use by more than one person at a time, for example, the one shown on the left. Often it is located in the kitchen, but sometimes it is situated under a staircase or in a separate cubicle. The latrine is provided with a flow of water that empties directly into the sewer in the nearby street. The water is delivered from an aqueduct to a distribution tank and from there to the individual households by way of pipes made of lead, ceramic, or even wood. Householders must pay for the water service based on the diameter of the supply pipe, the standard measuring unit being the calix, or nozzle.

If you want something to read, here are some facts about the aqueducts that supplied Rome.

  • Aqueducts in Rome totaled nine in number by the time Vespasian was emperor.
  • Aqueducts delivered a supply of water that could be diverted but not stopped.
  • Aqueducts supplied Rome with approximately 35 million cubic feet of water daily.

    An excellent article on water and wastewater systems of imperial Rome provides a thorough account of both.

    Here's a sponge on a stick (tersorium) for your personal hygiene.


    Some of the preceding information comes from A History of Private Life (Volume I: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium), edited by Philippe Ariès and Georges Duby and published in 1996 by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (Cambridge).

    Vicus | Ianua | Fauces | Atrium | Library | Tablinum | Kitchen | Triclinium | Lavatory | Cubiculum
    Taberna | Viridarium | Museum | Mausoleum | Tabularium | Odeum | Scriptorium | Tropaeum
    Exedra | Peristylium | Hortus | Lararium | Baths | Farm | Ludi | Album | Schola