Showers in Ancient Greece Didn’t Allow Water Waste
Several modern historians argue about the true origins of showers, as mankind has been taking some form of a shower for a long time before the installed shower was even invented. As various historical sources reveal, people would stand under waterfalls in order to clean themselves. The problem is that this type of “natural showers” weren’t available to a lot of people who didn’t live near a waterfall, plus they were provided by Mother Nature and thus they can’t be considered an invention or contribution of a specific tribe or culture.
On the other hand, the Ancient Greeks were the first who came up with a basic form of plumbing installed in their homes, which eventually led to the invention of showers. Due to the fact that the majority of the Greek city-states at the time were outfitted with aqueducts that helped water move from its source into homes and public buildings, the Greeks soon realized that when water is poured over your body it’s easier to clean yourself (instead of bathing). Early Greek showers were very plain and could be spotted in public bathing facilities that everyone had easy access to.
The unreasonable waste of water going on for decades in the West makes you wonder how we ended up being so greedy and irrational in our way of living and thinking when the forefathers of Western civilization, the ancient Greeks, did everything with a wisdom toward regulation. Before the Romans came up with the luxurious baths and spas, the ancient Greeks used showers like the ones we use today, with only the amount of water necessary for washing coming through the aqueduct system and then brought into the building through a series of pipes. Some of the pipes were installed higher up, and people would stand under the falling water as they bathed.
Interestingly, the Greeks preferred cold water and for a good reason too: to toughen the skin and make it look healthier. Ultimately, the earliest evidence of this type of shower was found in the ancient Greek city-state of Pergamon. Since it was very close to the ocean, it was much easier for the locals of Pergamon to use the natural water source for the public bathhouse. The archaeologists excavating the archaeological site of Pergamon not only found evidence of the shower in the bathhouse, but also in the art depicted on the pottery that was found there.