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Regio III - Insula XVI - Terme della Trinacria (III,XVI,7)

The Baths of the Trinacria were named after a depiction in mosaic of the symbol of Sicily: a female head with three legs (triskeles). The baths were erected during the reign of Hadrian, to the east of the Via del Serapide. The suspensurae were restored during the reign of Commodus. The baths could be entered trough a corridor from Via della Foce (1), through a vestibule with a bench set against the south wall (2), and through wide openings from Via del Serapide. The latter led to a courtyard, that also served as frigidarium (3). To the east of the frigidarium is a large basin with niches (4). In the corridor to the south of the frigidarium (5) is the mosaic after which the building was named.

Further to the south are the heated rooms (6-9). In exedra 6 is a mosaic with marine motifs: a Nereid, dolphins, etcetera. At the south end of room 7 the mosaic contains the text:


It has been explained as an ironic comment on the offices, stationes, on the famous Piazzale delle Corporazioni (II,VII,4). Kleijwegt suggests that it was the unofficial nickname of a iuventus-type organisation. Panciera draws our attention to the placement of the inscription in front of a bench, and to the fact that it was planned as an element of the mosaic pavement. He suggests that it had a serious purpose, and that the inscription marks a place in the bath where men who offered cunnilingus as an act of prostitution could be found. In room 8 is a mosaic of three athletes, of which only the upper part has been preserved.

Further towards the south are the heating installations (10). There is another furnace in room 11. Waterwheels were operated in the west part of room 3, and at the south end of the building.

On the north part of Via della Foce still lies a large part of the collapsed north facade of the building.

Plan of the baths. After SO I.


Vestibule 2, seen from the east. Note the bench to the left.
Photograph: Eric Taylor.

Frigidarium 3, seen from the west.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Mosaic in corridor 5 to the south of the frigidarium.
The female head with three legs (triskeles) is the Trinacria,
i.e. the personification of Sicily. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Mosaic with marine scenes in exedra 6. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Mosaic with the text STATIO CVNNVLINGIORVM in heated room 7.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Mosaic of three athletes in tepidarium 8.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

Detail of the previous photograph.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The furnace at the south end of the building (room 11).
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The collapsed north facade, lying on Via della Foce. Seen from the east.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

[jthb - 6-Oct-2007 - FECI]