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Some Roman bathhouses were built on natural hot springs, which were known for their healing properties. According to writings and the ritual offerings found in excavations that the water, usually as hot as forty-six degrees Centigrade, that the healing was thought to be the work of the gods. Some ancient Roman bathhouses had temples built either on the site or very close to it, thus they became sacred places. For example, Sulis was the Celtic goddess of the spring, and when the Romans arrived, they worshipped her too. They recognized her with their own goddess of healing, Minerva. On the hot spring, the baths were built, and next to it, a temple to Sulis-Minerva in a walled enclosure. There were no services in the temple, but priests sacrificed animals, and after that, people went in for private prayers. They prayed standing in front of the statue with their hands out, palms up, and when they finished they kissed the statue’s feet. Most ancient Roman baths were places of entertainment rather than worship.


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