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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.



Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Aquae Sulis

Aquae Sulis is the Roman name for Bath. Many people mistakenly think that it is the name for the baths themselves, but it is actually the name of the Roman settlement which became Bath. The name ‘Bath’ dates to the 6th century.

The city of Bath has been continuously occupied since Roman times, although the area had been lived in long before that. In the Saxon period the place name was first Aquaemann, which was a name designed to not be associated with a religion (as Aquae Sulis was associated with the Celtic and Roman religions as Sulis was a Celtic goddess and Minerva a Roman goddess). Mann was an Old Welsh word meaning place, so the new name meant 'place of the waters'. However, Bath was also known by the Saxons as Akemannceaster, which references the healing powers of the waters, and 'Hat Bathu'. The modern version of the Saxon name, Bath, evolved from the latter.

As you can see, Bath has had many names throughout the ages, but it has been a constant presence, mostly due to its natural hot springs, which throughout history have been said to have healing powers. However, the city itself began as Aquae Sulis.

The Sacred Waters and Baths in Aquae Sulis

Much of Aquae Sulis, or Roman Bath, was destroyed (while in ruins) by King Alfred the Great and his son who reorganised Bath and provided it with a new street layout.

The Baths and Temples of Aquae Sulis

Aquae Sulis translates as ‘the waters of Sulis,’ so you can see why many people make the mistake of thinking it refers to the baths.


Katrina Elizabeth

2 comments:

  1. They should have kept Aquaemann as the name. Then all the residents could claim to be Aquaman!

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousJuly 15, 2013

    Thanks this was helpful!

    ReplyDelete