Why The Romans Were Not As Hygienic As You May Believe

image-20160105-28974-1geilo9Before the Romans, the Greeks was the only civilisation to have used toilets. However by the height of the Roman Empire during the 3rd century AD the Romans had brought sanitation to most of their lands, reaching across western and southern Europe, what is now the Middle East as well as North Africa. Their unique technologies included huge public toilets, town sewers, clean water flowing through aqueducts, truely elegant public bathing and regulations that required towns to take trash from the roads.

Modern research has revealed that toilets and clean water lower the real risks of human stomach infections by viruses, bacteria as well as water bourne parasites. We may expect that health would improve due to these measures being introduced, when compared to earlier civilisations, or other world locations.

However unexpectedly, there was not a drop in parasites as a result of poor sanitation. There was actually a slow increase. This suggests Roman hygenic technologies such as latrines and sewers were ineffective in improving gastrointestinal health.

Texts from the period discuss that human waste was utilised as a fertilizer, and so parasite eggs would have been able to contaminate these foods and permitted the reinfection of the people when they consumed the food.

A further study also suggests that Roman baths had no defined positive effect on a populations health when it comes to ectoparasites.

The unexpected archaeological evidence does not convey any positive health benefit from Roman sanitation, but alternatively, that expanding Romanisation led to a rise in some parasite species as a result of trade and migration through the empire.