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Come on in. Have a seat. Join the crowd.

I’ve blogged about the Roman baths (May 17, 2016) and the public urinals, for men anyway (December 13, 2016), so why not this? After all, my job here is to prepare you for life in the Roman Middle East, right?

Just like the baths, the latrina was a place to socialize. The Romans, and the Greeks before them, did their business while chatting and gossiping. We have no idea, however, if men and women used the same latrine at the same time.

The latrines at the time of Miriam, the first century CE, were advanced for their time. The toilet seats, constructed over a channel with an uninterrupted flow of water, were formed by cutting holes along the top of wooden or marble benches that lined three of the four sides of the room, which was a little building covered by a roof.

You might wonder why the side of the bench also had holes. In the trench in front of you would be a stick with a sponge on the end for wiping. You would poke the stick through the hole in the side of the bench to clean yourself and then return the stick to the trench for the next person. The trench was filled with sour wine or vinegar.

Not for you? Well, then you’d better be wealthy. The homes of the rich had a private latrine, usually behind a staircase. There’s no mention of latrines in my books, but I thought I’d better let you in on what to expect when you visit Miriam. All my readers say you’ll feel like you’re really there.

So, start with the first book. Click here.

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