08 February 2013

The relaxing Caracalla spa

Hot tip for the Archaeopop-minded traveller: the Caracalla Spa in Baden-Baden. Looks like quite a nice spot.

Why anyone would name their spa after Antoninus Caracalla (Emperor from AD 188-217) confuses me a little. Of course, he's known for sponsoring the construction of these enormous baths in Rome:

Beyond bathing, Caracalla (son of Septimius Severus) was known as "one of the most notorious and unpleasant of emperors": he had his brother and cousin killed, forcibly married his stepmother, devalued the currency, put perhaps 20,000 of his enemies to death and was assassinated by his own bodyguard. If you believe the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, during his reign "men were condemned to death for having urinated in places where there were statues or busts of the Emperor." One of the nicer things said about him is that "in spite of his cruelty, immorality, avarice and treachery Caracalla was a brave soldier."

Looks like a mean bugger, doesn't he?

One thing he esepecially was good at was killing Germans in the Agri Decumates, the area between the Danube and the Rhine that includes Baden-Baden. So there's your connection. (German self-hatred?) And I guess there are some actual Roman bath ruins nearby, so there's that also.

Nothing goes with incest and fratricide like bathrobes and a nice juice.
The Caracalla spa does get great reviews on TripAdvisor (4.5 stars!). Strangely, there are also Caracalla Spas in Dubai (offering an 'exotic frangipani body nourish wrap') and in Little Rock, Arkansas ('state of the art manicure and pedicure rooms').

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