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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter discusses the therapeutic sites in the eastern Mediterranean basin based on hot springs. Such springs, which provide relief for many complaints, were well known during the periods of the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim periods. Archaeological findings from Hammat-Gader, Tiberias, Pella, Kallirrhoe and Emmaus, which is also based on scientific medical research in the sphere of balneotherapy. The issue of bath, bathing and spa-bathing terminology is a particularly knotty one especially in the Levant concerning very many sources written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac further to the intricate evidences written in Greek and Latin. The chapter deals with the thermo-mineral public baths, namely spas. The main function of a bath complex of this kind was to provide access to the spring waters for therapeutic purposes.

Keywords: eastern Mediterranean basin; Emmaus; Hammat-Gader; Kallirrhoe; spas; therapeutic sites; Tiberias



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