The Nature and Function of Water, Baths, Bathing and Hygiene from Antiquity through the Renaissance


Editors: Cynthia Kosso and Anne Scott
These essays offer scholars, teachers, and students a new basis for discussing attitudes toward, and technological expertise concerning, water in antiquity through the early Modern period, and they examine historical water use and ideology both diachronically and cross regionally. Topics include gender roles and water usage; attitudes, practices, and innovations in baths and bathing; water and the formation of identity and policy; ancient and medieval water sources and resources; and religious and literary water imagery. The authors describe how ideas about the nature and function of water created and shaped social relationships, and how religion, politics, and science transformed, and were themselves transformed by, the manipulation of, uses of, and disputes over water in daily life, ceremonies, and literature. Contributors are Rabun Taylor, Sandra Lucore, Robert F. Sutton, Jr., Cynthia K Kosso, Kevin Lawton, Evy Johanne Håland, Hélène Cazes, Alexandra Cuffel, Mark Munn, Brenda Longfellow, Gretchen Meyers, Sara Saba, Scott John McDonough, Etienne Dunant, E. J. Owens , Mehmet Taşlıalan, Deborah Chatr Aryamontri, John Stephenson, Lin A. Ferrand, Paul Trio, Anne Scott, Misty Rae Urban, Ruth Stevenson, Charles Connell, Alyce Jordan, Ronald Cooley, and Irene Matthews.
Restricted Access


EUR €198.00USD $258.00

Biographical Note

Cynthia K. Kosso, Ph.D. (1993) History and Classics from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She is a Professor of Ancient History in the Department of History at Northern Arizona University. She is author of The Archaeology of Public Policy in Late Roman Greece (2003). She co-edited, with A. Scott, Fear and Its Representations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2002). Anne Scott, Ph.D. (1988) in Literature, Brown University, is Associate Professor in English and Director of the Honors Program at Northern Arizona University. She has published on Chaucer, medieval romances, and saints’ legends. She has also co-edited, with C. Kosso, a volume of interdisciplinary essays on fear in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2002) and is, with Kosso, completing a co-edited volume on poverty and prosperity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (forthcoming)

Table of contents

Introduction Cynthia Kosso and Anne Scott Part One Gender Roles, Attitudes, Practices, and innovations in Baths and Bathing River Raptures: Containment and Control of Water in Greek and Roman Constructions of Identity Rabun Taylor Archimedes, the North Baths at Morgantina, and Early Developments in Vaulted Construction Sandra K. Lucore Female Bathers and the Emergence of the Female Nude in greek Art Robert F. Sutton J. Women at the Fountain and the Well: Imagining Experience Cynthia K. Kosso and Kevin Lawton “Take, Skamandros, My Virginity”: Ideas of Water in Connection with Rites of Passage in Greece, Modern and Ancient Evy Johanne Haland Bath, Scrubs, and Cuddles: How to Bathe Young Infants According to Simon de Vallambert (1564) Helene Cazes Polemicizing Women’s Bathing Among Medieval and Early Modern Muslims and Christians Alexandra Cuffel Part Two Water and the Formation of Identity and Policy Earth and Water: The Foundations of sovereignty in Ancient Thought Mark Munn The Legacy of Hadrian: Roman Monumental Civic Fountains in Greece Brenda Longfellow The Divine River: Ancient Roman Identity and the Image of Tiberinus Gretchen E. Meyers Cisterns in the Astynomoi Law from Pergamon Sara Saba “We and Thode Waters of the Sea Are One” Baptism, Bathing, and the Construction of Identity in Late Ancient Babylonia Scott John McDonough Part Three Ancient and Medieval Water Sources and Resources Natural Water Resources and the Sacred Attica Etienne Dunant “Beautiful and Useful”: The Water Supply of Pisidian Antioch and the Development of the Roman Colony E.J. Owens and Dr. Mehmet Tashalan Running Water: Advances in Urban Water Supply during the Roman Empire Deborah Chatr Aryamontri Villas and Aquatic Culture in Late Roman Spain John W. Stephenson The Hydrologic Cycle in Bede’s De Natura Rerum, Lin Ferrand Part Four Religious and Literary Imagery: Water in Medieval Through Early Modern Cultures Come Hell or High Water: Aqueous Moments in Medieval Epic Romance, Allegory and Fabliau Anne Scott Magical Fountains in Middle English Romance Misty Rae Urban Sea Change in Shakespeare’s Othello, Ruth Stevenson From Spiritual Necessity to Instrument of Torture: Water in the Middle Ages Charles W. Connell The “Water of Thomas Becket”: Water as Medium, Metaphor, and Rhelic Alyce A. Jordan “Almost Miraculous”: Lord North and the Healing Waters of Tunbridge Wells Ronald W. Cooley Waters of Paradise: A Brief Hydroloquy on the Gardens of Spain and New Spain Irene Matthews Index


All those interested in the history, literature and technology of water use from antiquity to the late middle ages, as well as archaelogists, philologists and environmental historians.