Sources of Ancient Healing Thermalism

Descripción de cómo se enfría el agua para poder utilizarla. Muy interesante.

Aloioso architecto Theodericus rex

1Si audita veterum miracula ad laudem clementiae nostrae uolumus continere, quoniam augmenta regalis gloriae sunt, cum sub nobis nulla decrescunt, quo studio convenit reparari quod etiam nostris oculis frequenter constat offerri? delectat enim salutiferi Aponi meminisse potentiam, ut intellegas, quo desiderio cupimus reficere quod de memoria nostra nescit exire. 2Caerulum fontem vidimus in formam dolii concavis hiatibus aestuantem et fornaces anhelantium aquarum circumducto tereti labio naturae probabili dispositione coronatas: quae licet more calidae nebulosos vapores exhalent, hanc tamen iucundam perspicuitatem aspectibus humanis aperiunt, ut quivis hominum illam gratiam desideret contingere, etiam cum non ignoret ardere. ore plenissimo in sphaerae similitudine supra terminos suos aquarum dorsa turgescunt, unde latex tanta quiete defluit, tanta quasi stabilitate decurrit, ut eum non putes crescere, nisi quia inde aliquid rauco murmure sentis exire. 3Veniunt aquae per algentes meatus tali fervore succensae, ut post recurva spatia, quae arte facta sunt longiora, calores sint maximos redditurae. o magistri mirandum semper ingenium, ut naturae furentis ardorem ita ad utilitatem humani corporis temperaret, ut quod in origine dare poterat mortem, doctissime moderatum et delectationem tribueret et salutem! iuvat videre secretum, latices vapores igneos exhalantes, amicum undis indesinenter ardorem, et calorem venire decursu rivi, unde usualiter solebat extingui. merito dicunt philosophi elementa sibi mutuis complexionibus illigari et mirabili coniungi foederatione, quae inter se contraria intelleguntur varietate pugnare. 4Ecce madentem substantiam vapores producere constat ignitos, quae mox ad thermarum aedificia decora pervenerit, illisa cautibus unda descendens et aera sua qualitate succendit et tactu fit habilis, cum recepta fuerit in lavacris: unde non tantum deliciosa voluptas adquiritur, quantum blanda medicina confertur. scilicet sine tormento cura, sine horrore remedia, sanitas impunita, balnea contra diversos dolores corporis attributa. quae ideo Aponum Graeca lingua beneficialis nominavit antiquitas, ut causam tanti remedii aeger cognosceret, cum de tali nomine dubium nil haberet. 5Sed inter alia loci ipsius bona illud quoque stupendum esse didicimus, quod una fluentorum natura diversis ministeriis videatur accommoda. nam protinus saxo suscipiente collisa inhalat primae cellulae sudatoriam qualitatem: deinde in solium mitigata descendens minaci ardore deposito suavi temperatione mollescit: mox in vicinum producta cum aliqua dilatione torpuerit, multo blandius intepescit: postremo ipso quoque tepore derelicto in piscinam Neronianam frigida tantum efficitur, quantum prius ferbuisse sentitur. 6Non inmerito auctoris sui participans nomen collega est cum viriditate gemmarum, ut ipsa quoque vitrei elementi colore perspicua quasdam trementes undas quieta commoveat. sed ut ipsum quoque lavacrum mundius redderetur, stupenda quadam continentiae disciplina in undam, qua viri recreantur, si mulier descendat, incenditur, propterea quia et ipsis altera exhibitio decora collata est: scilicet ne ardentium aquarum fecundissimum locum non crederent habuisse, unde plurima largiretur, si uterque sexus uno munere communiter uteretur. 7Haec perennitas aquarum intellegendi praestat indicium per igneas terrae venas occultis meatibus influentem imitus in auras erumpere excocti fontis inriguam puritatem. nam si naturae fuisset illud incendium, sine interitu substantiae non esset amissum: sed aquae materia sensibilis, sicut peregrinum contraxit ignem, sic iterum nativum facile recepit algorem. 8Praestat et aliud adiutorii genus vis illa medicabilis. nam iuxta caput fontis scintillosi quendam sibi meatum provida natura formavit. hinc desuper sella composita, quae humanis necessitatibus in apsidis speciem perforatur, aegros suscipit interno umore diffluentes: ubi dum fessi nimio languore consederint, vaporis illius delectatione recreati et lassa viscera reficiunt et umores noxia infusione largatos vitali ariditate constringunt: et quasi aliquo desiderabili cibo refecti valentiores queant protinus inveniri, sic medicabili substantiae venit a sulfure quod calet, a salsedine quod desiccat. talia posteris non tradere hoc est graviter in longa aetate peccare. 9Quapropter antiqua illic aedificiorum soliditas innovetur, ut sive in cuniculis siue in thermis fuerit aliquid reparandum, te debeat imminente reconstrui. virgulta quoque noxia importunitate nascentia evulsis cespitibus auferantur, ne radicum quidam capilli paulatim turgentes fabricarum visceribus inserantur et more vipereo prolem sibi fecunditate contraria nutriant, unde se compago casura disrumpat. 10Palatium quoque longa senectute quassatum assidua reparatione corrobora. spatium, quod inter aedem publicam et caput igniti fontis interiacet, silvestri asperitate depurga. rideat florenti gramine facies decora campestris: quin etiam ardentis aquae fertilitate laetatur miroque modo dum proxime salem generet sterilem, nutriat pariter et virores. 11Sed non his tantum beneficiis Antenorea terra fecunda est: infert et alia, quae multo grandius obstupescas. corda illa, ut ita dixerim, montium in vicem secretarii negotia contentiosa discingunt. nam si quis forte pecus furatum pilis nativis solito more spoliare praesumpserit, undis ardentibus frequenter inmersum necesse est ut ante decoquat quam emundare praevaleat. o vere secretarium iure reverendum, quando in his aquis non solum sensum, sed etiam verum constat esse iudicium et quod humana nequit altercatione dissolvi, fontium datum est aequitate definiri. loquitur illic tacita natura, dum iudicat, et sententiam quodam modo dicit, quae perfidiam negantis excludit. 12Sed quis ista conservare neglegat, quamvis plurima tenacitate sordescat? siquidem ornat regnum, quod fuerit singulariter toto orbe nominatum. et ideo pecunia, quae tibi data est, si opus non potuerit implere susceptum, quantum adhuc expendendum esse credideris, missis nobis brevibus indicabis, quia non gravamur expendere, ut tanta videamur ruris moenia custodire.

King Theoderic to Aloisius, Architect

1 If we want to join the wonders heard of the ancients to praise for our clemency, with nothing diminished under our care, since fame is the prosperity of a king, with what zeal should that which often happens to come before our eyes seem fit to be restored? Indeed, it is a delight to recall the efficacy of health-bearing Aponus.For this reason, as you know, we desire to make new what has not been able escape our memory. 2. We have beheld the cerulean spring, seething with the shape of the curved mouth of a wine jar, and the burning craters of exhaling waters wreathed round with polished rim in the fitting arrangement of nature. As befits warm water, these exhale a billowy vapor, which nevertheless reveals such a pleasant transparency to human inspection that any person would desire to reach for its charms, all the more since it knows not how to burn. Domes of water in the likeness of spheres swell beyond their own bounds in the ample openings, whence the smooth waters flow so tranquilly, as though gliding along with great stillness, so that you would not think it is moving, except that you notice something passing thence with a hoarse murmur. 3. The waters pass from such boiling heat along cooling channels, so that after winding lengths that have been made more extensive by engineering, they return the fullest warmth. O the ever miraculous genius of its creator, that the heat of a natural passion should thus be restrained for the advantage of the human body, so that what would be capable of causing death at its source, thus moderated by learning, should bestow both health and delight! It delights to behold a mystery: fluids exhaling burning clouds, harmless burning issuing unfailingly from waters, and heat to come from a coursing stream, whence it is customarily extinguished. The philosophers rightly speak of the elements, which are known to war among themselves in a variety of oppositions, as being bound to each other in changing combinations and to be united by miraculous alliance. 4. Behold a wet substance arranged to produce a fiery cloud, which then travels to the comely buildings of the baths, the tumult of waters decreasing in heat warms even the air with its own attribute and becomes more manageable to the touch, when it has been received in bathing pools. Whence not only a charming pleasure is attained, but also so many caressing medicinal cures are conferred. One hears of cures given without pain, remedies given without torture, health exempt of penalty and libation given against the diverse ills of the body. Therefore antiquity has called this blessing Aponus in the Greek language, so that the ill should recognize it as the source of so much relief, since no doubt could be had concerning such a name. 5. But among the other blessings of this very place, we have learned something else that must be mar- veled at, that waters with one nature are seen to be suitable to diverse ministrations. For by continually coming into contact with the rock, the churning waters of the first chamber absorb a quality that produces sweat. From there it descends, having exchanged the threat of scalding for soothing warmth, and it softens to a gentler temperature. The water thus produced winds about in the area with some delay and cools to a much more alluring temperature, until, finally forsaking even its very warmth in the Neronian pool, it attains a coldness as extreme as the heat first felt. 6. Not unduly sharing a name with its author, the pool is festooned with the green of gems, so that the very greenness too would stir the waters to a kind of trembling with the transparent stillness of a glasslike substance. But even as this very pool becomes calmer, arrested as though by the discipline of restraint, the waters, by which men may be refreshed, if a woman should enter, boil over. And on that account, the appropriate display of either one or the other sex has been assigned, evidently, lest they would not believe the place to have the most enriching of hot waters, whence so many blessings are bestowed, if both sexes should make use of one gift at the same time. 7. This constancy of the water provides evidence of its perception, by flowing from a great depth, by secret courses, through heated veins of the earth, the refreshing purity of the boiling waters bursts forth in breaths. For if it would have been a fire of natural origins, it would not exist without being extinguished by the consumption of its substance. But the sentient substance of the water, just as it attracts foreign heat, thus does it easily return to its native cold. 8. And this strength offers another kind of medical assistance. For near the head of the shimmering fountain, provident nature has formed a certain path for itself. Here, above its established seat, which is pierced through in the likeness of an arch of human contrivance, it takes up the harmful product from the interior moisture. While the weak will repose here in great weariness, refreshed by the delight of these vapors, the enfeebled flesh of the body is restored and harmful elements are leached from the beneficial humors by an infusion of vital dryness, and as though from some desirable nourishment, the ailing are immediately restored and made more vigorous. Thus, that which heats by sulfur and that which dries by salt come to the medicinal property of the waters. Not to pass such a wonder to posterity is to sin grievously against a whole generation. 9. For that reason, the ancient stability of the buildings here should be restored, so that, whether in the underground passages or in the baths there will be something requiring repair, it ought to be rebuilt by you immediately. Also, the harmful thickets springing up with impunity should be torn out of the lawns and born away, lest the gradually swelling tendrils of roots should penetrate the body of the buildings and they should nurture offspring with the nature of a serpent, contrary to their own fecundity, whereupon the seams would burst asunder. 10. Also strengthen with persistent care the palace that has been shaken by a lengthy old age. Clean away the scrubby woods from the span that intervenes between the public hall and the beginning of the heated pools. Let a comely disposition smile with grassy blossoms in the level areas. Let it, moreover, rejoice in the fertility of warmed waters and, by wondrous means, while nearby waters produce a sterile salt, let them also nourish verdure. 11. But not by these benefits alone should Antenorean ground be fruitful; there are others even greater by which you would be astounded. This soul, as I shall call it, in conversation with the solitude of the mountains, disarms contentious business. For if someone, by chance, should presume to steal a sheep in the fashion typical of local bandits, it would be necessary for the stolen pelt to be immersed continually in the burning waters so that it would boil away before he should succeed at cleaning it. Oh, how the waters must receive due reverence for their secrets, when they not only possess feeling, but also stand possessed of righteous judgment, and what fails to be resolved in human altercations is given over to be decided by the equitability of the pools. Silent nature speaks here, and when it judges, it pronounces by certain means a sentence that prevents the falsehood of the one denying the charge. 12. But who would fail to protect such a place, when he may become soiled more by parsimony? Indeed, what is singularly honored by the whole world adorns the regnum. And therefore, concerning the money that has been given to you, if you have not been able to complete the work undertaken, indicate to us in a short letter however much you know still must be spent, since we are not burdened to spend, in order that we might be seen to watch over so great a city of the countryside.

Carta del rey Teoderico al arquitecto Aloioso

1 Si, para conseguir que se alabe nuestro buen hacer, queremos recordar las cosas maravillosas que nos han contado de los antiguos, ya que sirven para engrandecer la gloria del Rey al no disminuir bajo nuestro gobierno, ¿con qué interés conviene que se restaure lo que también consta que se ofrece a menudo a nuestros ojos? Pues es un placer recordar el poder del salutífero Apono, para que entiendas con qué interés deseamos reconstruir lo que no consigue salir de nuestro recuerdo. 2Vimos una fuente azul que manaba a borbotones desde unas hendiduras cóncavas a una especie de pila, y unos hornos de vapor de agua que terminaban en un reborde redondeado en todo su contorno, formado así probablemente de forma natural: aunque al estar calientes exhalan habitualmente nubes de vapor, hacen accesible sin embargo tal gozosa claridad al sentido de la vista de las personas, que todo el mundo desearía probar esa gracia, incluso sabiendo que quema. A partir de sus bordes, por una boca completamente llena salen hinchadas unas crestas de agua en forma de esfera, y desde allí el líquido fluye con tanta quietud, corre de modo tan estable, que pensarías que no mana, si no fuera porque oyes que algo sale de allí con un ronco murmullo. 3Vienen las aguas por las corrientes frías arrebatadas por una efervescencia tal, que al pasar por los espacios curvados, que han sido alargados de forma artificial, llegarán a producir los calores más intensos. ¡Oh, ingenio del experto siempre digno de asombro, capaz de atemperar el ardor de la furiosa naturaleza de tal modo que le resulte útil al cuerpo humano, y en consecuencia, lo que en su origen podría causar la muerte, pueda proporcionar, al ser encauzado muy hábilmente, tanto placer como salud! Da gusto ver que el ardor oculto, en forma de líquidos que exhalan vapores de fuego, es amigo sin cesar de las ondas, y que el calor permanece todo el recorrido de la corriente, cuando lo habitual es que se extinga. Con razón dicen los filósofos que los elementos que tienen una complexión similar se enlazan y unen en admirable alianza, y que los que son contrarios entre sí se nota que se enfrentan por su diferencia. 4Es evidente que los vapores de fuego producen una sustancia húmeda, la cual, en cuanto llega a los hermosos edificios de las termas, descendiendo en una corriente forzada por las rocas, enciende los aires con su naturaleza y se convierte en algo palpable, una vez que ha sido recogida en los lavaderos: por eso, al tiempo que se obtiene un placer delicioso, también se proporciona una medicina suave. Es decir, una cura sin tormento, unos remedios sin horror, una buena salud sin peligro, unos baños apropiados contra los diferentes dolores del cuerpo. Por esto la antigüedad la llamó beneficiosa, «Apono», en lengua griega, a fin de que el enfermo entendiera la razón de remedios tan grandes al no quedarle ninguna duda por llevar tal nombre. 5Pero, entre las demás bondades de este mismo lugar, nos enteramos de que existe una cosa también digna de admiración, el hecho de que una única naturaleza de corrientes parezca ser apta para servicios tan diferentes. Pues, sin detenerse, recogida en la roca que la contiene, proporciona un calor de estufa a la primera estancia; después, aplacada, cayendo hacia el suelo, una vez que pierde su amenazante ardor, se ablanda en una suave temperatura; en seguida, al ser llevada a la siguiente estancia, aunque se enfría del todo al cabo de un cierto tiempo, se va refrescando muy suavemente; por fin, perdido también este calor, es conducida a una piscina neroniana tan fría como antes se sentía que estaba hirviendo. 6Compartiendo merecidamente el nombre de su promotor, esta agua es semejante al color verde de las piedras preciosas, de manera que, al brillar ella misma por el color de su naturaleza vidriosa, remueve estando quieta unas corrientes tremendas. Pero para hacer que el lavadero mismo esté más limpio, existe una asombrosa norma de continencia por la que, si una mujer desciende por la corriente en la que se están bañando los hombres, sale ardiendo, sobre todo porque hay preparado para ellas otro servicio más adecuado; es decir, para que no crean que este lugar, tan fecundo de aguas ardientes, tiene algo más de donde sacar provecho si los dos sexos utilizaran juntos el mismo servicio. 7Esta perpetuidad de las aguas da la clave para entender que la pureza irrigadora de la fuente ardiente brota en el aire desde lo profundo, fluyendo por recorridos ocultos a través de vetas de la tierra en llamas. Pues si ese incendio estuviera en su naturaleza, no se habría perdido sin destruir al mismo tiempo su sustancia;

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