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Hypocaustum – heated floors and central heating of Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Romans invented heated floors and central heating. They called the system hypocaustum, and it was used for heating homes and public and private baths with hot air. The word literally means “inferno,” from the Greek word hypo – below or below, and kaiein – burn or light a fire. In the central room under the floor, there was an oven that heated the air.

The floor was laid on a row of supports about 80 cm high. The space between the supports formed a system of hot air-filled ducts. In addition, the rooms were sometimes heated by channels formed in the walls made of special blocks. It is assumed that hypocaustum was invented by Sergius Orat, although this is not fully confirmed.

  • Brigitte Hintzen-Bohlen, Rzym. Sztuka i architektura
  • Witold Szolginia, Architektura

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