The Homeopathic Proving of Aquae-Sulis
Place of Worship
The temple precinct, (enclosed area especially around place of worship) included the thermal healing baths, which used the Hot Springs for worship, health and social interaction. The spring overflow can still be seen today in the Roman Baths Museum, stained bright orange by the oxidised iron salts.
The reservoir formed the sacred pool of the temple, near to the sacrificial altar which was in the courtyard of the great Classical temple building.
The ancient world marveled at Minerva's great temple in Bath.
Shrouded in steam, pilgrims approached the mysterious sacred spring at the heart of the temple believing it to be the actual residing place of Sulis Minerva, whose healing cult had spread from Britain throughout the Empire. Not only was Minerva's water renowned for its healing powers; by throwing their offerings into the spring, pilgrims believed that they could communicate directly with the Underworld. Almost 20,000 coins and several gold and silver artefacts have since been recovered. In the Great Bath, many suppliants left votive offerings.
Amongst the most remarkable and revealing artefacts recovered from the Roman baths are the written dedications, vows and curses that centuries of pilgrims cast into the hot spring. As well as appealing to Sulis Minerva for health or wealth, the pilgrims inscribed curses on thin pewter sheets which were then usually rolled up and placed in the water. Typically, each curse stated a lost love or piece of stolen property; numerous suspects 'whether pagan or Christian' were often listed with an appeal that the guilty should meet some foul end.
"To Minerva the goddess of Sulis I have given the thief who has stolen my hooded cloak, whether slave or free, whether man or woman. He is not to buy back this gift unless with his own blood."