In 43 AD, the Roman Empire was expanding to include the viable and lucrative outpost of Britain. The Romans built the Fosse Way from Lincoln to Exeter and discovered the hot springs of Bath on their way south.
Togidubnus, King of the Belgae was the thoroughly Romanized leader thought to be responsible for building a Roman/Celtic temple. This combined spa/shrine was constructed between 60-70 AD to honour Sulis Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. The Romans used local stone to dam the hot springs and lead from the Mendip Hills to line the baths.
Bathers progressed from the tepidarium (warm bath) to the caldarium (hot bath) and finished with a plunge in the frigidarium (very cold bath). They could visit the games room, swim in the Great Bath, take a sauna, massage and exercise.
Visitors brought wealth and prosperity to the city. A walled town of 23 acres developed around the springs and it was called Aquae Sulis (The Waters of Sul). the motto in the current City Coat of Arms. Areas outside the wall were abandoned as residents and traders sought the security of the enclosed town.
The Fall of the Romans
For 400 years the town prospered, growing in wealth and reputation but in 410 AD the Romans withdrew to defend their positions abroad from attacks by the Barbarians.
Over the ensuing years the inhabitants failed to maintain the spa complex. The River Avon flooded its banks and the Baths became silted up. They gradually fell into decay and eventually disappeared from view.