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Cleaning Your Garments The Roman Way


A fuller both cleaned and smoothed the fabric after receiving it from a weaving workshop. He also cleaned woolen garments and enhanced their color. In this fresco, we see the first phase of the treatment: The fuller threw the material to be treated into basins, filled the basins with a mixture of water and urine, and then his employees or slaves pressed their feet into the fabric, scrubbing and squeezing it with the help of their hands.

One of the stories in The Deadliest Deceptions, “The Recollection”, is about a man who, after being stabbed, awakens on a pile of rubble in a rutted alley and struggles to recall who he is. He comes to remember the woman he loved and searches for her, hopeful that she can revive his memory. He reviews her routines and considers an option to search for her:

“She worked for a fuller, sorting, soaking, and stirring laundry in a tub of stale urine before the slaves stomped on the garments. Perhaps I should look for the earthenware bowls at every fuller’s gate that collect the urine of men passing by.”

On the way, he sees a woman at a baker’s stall who might be his beloved:

“I wish she’d turn around. I need to see more than those luxuriant coils of blonde hair cascading down her back. I need to see my Sophia’s pure oval face with its small, pointed features and slightly flared nostrils. Oh, please, please beautiful woman, turn around so I can reclaim my identity and love you again!”


Urine alone, of course, cannot restore your memory, but perhaps love can. You can find out whether he encounters Sophia and whether she’s able to help him by clicking here.




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