Ancient Rome's Terrorizing Toilets

From biting creatures to spontaneous flames, doing your duty in ancient Rome could be a frightening task.

Unlike the relaxation associated with Roman baths, ancient Roman bathrooms triggered trepidation. They consisted of dark, dank holes leading to sewer channels from which emerged biting creatures or even, because of methane buildup, naked flames. Independent archaeologist Gemma Jansen has studied these unsavory sites for the past 20 years, becoming one of the go-to latrine gurus among classical researchers.  In January 2013, beneath layers of architectural ruins in Rome’s Palatine Hill...

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