Ancient Rome: Scobie’s Analysis on Sanitation and Public Health

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Should we think more on what Scobie argued? Yes. The situation in the antiquity was terrible. Right from the sanitation all the way to public health the situation was pathetic. In most cities in the Roman Empire, the level of sanitation was low. Furthermore, there was poor standard on, the public health in the cities. Also cases of mortality increasingly more that you can image. In the antiquity the ability to access public services such as medication, legal system as well as education was limited. This is considered to a reality because of the fact that the people were living in slums (Scobie. 399). This is contrary to the state of housing which is at the top of the Roman Empire. These houses were palace-like and the people who live there were provided with security as well as a living space that was comfortable to them. The next level of the house was the senators residence.

A good example is a residence for Sparsus, a place which martial contrasted the disadvantages of his apartment in the city. This is not to say that all the senators were wealthy freedmen. According to research, it is quite clear that most members from such classes used to rent the houses. During this time there were apartments which could be divided into the smaller rooms and the people with particular functions will be located on the ground floor. On the contrary, the normal citizens were situated on the upper floors where the rooms are not divided and used to rent on the daily basis. Furthermore, the people in the antiquity lives in rooms ranging from singled room to big complexes comprising of the shop and a room for living. It is also clear that during this time the poorest person might rent a cheaper room in the boarding houses (Scobie. 404).

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During this time there were cases of structures collapsing. This was mainly brought about by the fact that the material for the building was poor, lack of skills as well as carelessness among the workers. Although this was not so much experienced by the high-class individuals it was an issue to the normal citizens, especially in the Roman cities. Although there were some laws to be used when laying down an expected width of the party wall, these laws ignored the minimum thickness of the external walls. This, therefore, opens a clear way for the stakeholders to save money on the construction material and at the same time increase house rent. Furthermore, poor people of the time were mainly faced with an issue of natural calamities. The reason being that the rich use to set their house on the ridges and at the slopes of the hills where there was good drainage, ventilation and sunny (Scobie. 406). The other worse situation in the antiquity is the issue of sanitation. This is considered to be related to the issue of poor housing and low level of hygiene. The low level of hygiene was the case because of the fact that the way the human wastes were disposed of was poor. Lack of the satisfactory system of sewage is also another issue concerning hygiene.

The truth is during the time several different diseases which produce organism are considered to be found in the waste products of both the sick and healthy human beings. Despite the fact that people had an idea that most organisms which cause diseases like diarrhea are found in the human waste, people will still dispose of waste and sewages anyhow. There is evidence that during this time homeowners had no legal obligation to of connecting their dwelling to the public street sewers. This is to say that the need to connect to a public street sewer was considered to be optional. Furthermore, the dwellers had to incur all the expense associated with such processes. Also, the laws governing this activity were not active to determine the position of locating public latrines and the way to construct them. in addition, people in the ancient time valued the intramural burial of the dead more than they care about the way to dispose of the waste products of the human being as well as that of animals.

The issue of water during the antiquity is another concern. During this time most people depended on springs, wells, and the Tiber for water. Therefore as the population increases especially in the city the demand for was rise. In most cities on the time, almost nobody had an idea of water supply. People mostly collect their daily supply of water from the open basins of water. The fact that these basins were open and that there was a direct untapped connection of the drainage between the basins and the sewer leading to contamination of water. The people who draw their drinking water from the tanks which are not drained or cleaned for a long time were at the risk as compared to those who used piped water (Kyle. 211). The fact that most people with water problems are poor they were the users of the lead to transport water to their homes. This had some effects on the consumers help because water lead will slowly dissolve and take together with water into the human body.

According to research people in Rome, for instance, were mainly wine addicts. Research shows that this wine was produced through a process of simmering must over a slow fire in a vessel made of lead. This, therefore, means that Roman people were slowing poisoning themselves with lead. This, therefore, led to the increase in mortality and decrease in fertility. In the antiquity, the bathroom was the problem. According to the research, it is quite clear that domestic bathroom did not exist except for the rick people. Despite the fact most people had an idea that failure of the bath was associated with illness and poor health, they did not make a point of constructing bathrooms. Furthermore more people had a belief that bathing could cure some kind illness. In Rome, there were rules that people were to use the bathrooms after eight hours except the sick. The public baths in the antiquity had no filter systems but it is assumed they were periodically cleaned.

This was considered to the work of the supervisor of the public baths. In as much as the bath was believed to be a cure for some diseases, the water was not chlorinated to kill germs and bacteria. The water in the pools did not have outlets. In some instances, the bath keepers might deny the client a chance to bath even though the client affords the require fees but the bath keeper feels he or she is undesirable. The sick were also made to bath in the public pools with cloths. This is to say that the public baths in most countries were not that sanitary even though they assume to be. As a result of public baths, there was the rise of infection rate because people used common baths regardless of their health conditions. Overcrowding is also another issue which contributes to the problems of poor health and sanitation. The idea of categorizing houses or room according to the number of people to be living in is highly complicated. The reason being that during this time people had a preference of being close together when carrying out different operations in the room.

The rooms which were used by this people were too small, dark as well as damp. This leads to poor health first because of there will be lack of enough air. Also, there was a single latrine for all the individuals (Parkins. 226). Furthermore, overcrowding was mainly brought about by the fact the landlord of the time took advantage of the poor in terms of rent. This means that the tenant had to manage the rent only through sharing the small room. This makes the situation worse as more than 16 people use to share a single room. Also, the unskilled worker had to face difficulties when because to find money for the daily basis rent was a problem. Most of the unskilled workers faced eviction at the time due to lack of money a situation which would not have been the case if the room was to be shared. During the antiquity, the privacy of the people was not considered. Privacy was only enjoyed by those who belong to the high class and often had isolated quiet rooms.

Due to the fact that all the members of all levels of socioeconomic in the antiquity meet in the public baths a place where privacy did not exist make it difficult to assess the sensitivity of privacy (Atkins. 312). In conclusion, the situation the antiquity was terrible and this has been caused mainly by the absence of regulation to govern such issue like rents which led to cases of malnutrition. Furthermore lack of the absence of laws which might have been used to enforce a minimum house occupation density in the various dwelling. This is what has led to congestion condition at the time. During this time laws to govern lighting, water supply, house ventilation as well as waste disposal and street cleaning would have assisted in the maintenance of a healthy environment hence high standard of public health. Life in the antiquity especially for poorest people was dangerous not only because of the risk of structural collapse, constant risk of fire, or rapid infection by communicable disease but because of the fact that this condition led to crimes as well as violence.

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Crime and violence affect the poor because the rich have their own private security from the type of housing they have to the security guards. Although the rich were considered to be the main target of burglary the security of the inward appearance discourages the criminal hence remaining with an option of attacking the poor. Violence in the ancient time was mainly associated with the places which were overcrowded. For instance, research shows that the slum dwellers were the main victim of violence, theft as well as assault. The issue of unsanitary cities as well as in the surrounding is considered to have one main impact in a society that is preindustrial with no cheap and effective medication. This was very common to most people who live on or below the level of subsistence in the ancient time.

Work cited

Scobie, Alex. “”Slums, sanitation, and mortality in,,,”

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Ancient Rome: Scobie's Analysis on Sanitation and Public Health. (2019, Jul 23). Retrieved from