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Roman bathhouse. Source: 4K_Heaven / Adobe Stock.

Keeping it Clean: A Look at Ancient Hygiene Practices (Video)

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From the Sumerians and Egyptians to the Victorians and beyond, humans have been striving to keep their surroundings clean since they first settled down and built permanent homes. Before civilization, people could simply move on from their waste and leave nature to take care of it. But as communities grew, so did the need for sanitation. This is why ancient civilizations like the Sumerians and Egyptians were not only big on personal hygiene but also invented soap.

However, not all civilizations were as advanced when it came to sanitation. Waste piled up in cities like Eridu, with no system in place for disposal. Even the Egyptians, who built indoor toilets, had to carry water from the Nile River to use them. It wasn't until the Indus Valley civilization that sophisticated water management and underground drainage systems were built, connecting public establishments and private homes. Throughout history, the lack of sanitation led to diseases and ailments, and even played a part in defining the gods and stories of mythologies. But with advanced knowledge and technology, we have come a long way since the days of simply leaving our waste behind.

Top image: Roman bathhouse. Source: 4K_Heaven / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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