Probably the most prominent pool history comes from the ancient Greeks and Romans. A major change in the quality of life occurred in these times as individual wealth increased and, with this increase in the standard of living, came luxuries like pools. Water itself played such an important part of society for thousands of years and during this period pools were placed everywhere and for many reasons. Not only were pools considered aesthetic and enhanced the beauty of the property (much the same as today’s custom pools do in our homes) but pools were used for bathing, health, religious ceremony, socializing and much more.
In the 6th to 8th Century BC, the ancient Greeks had “Palaestras” which were essentially an open court area between columns and rooms where one could come and wrestle, box, play ball type games and other miscellaneous exercises (kind of like our gymnasiums today). But most importantly, and for our purposes, there were pools here for swimming, bathing and socializing in. Pools at this time were also used by the Greek and Roman militaries to physically train for war. The great Greek philosopher Plato felt that every child needed to learn to swim as part of a proper education along with mathematics, writing, astronomy, etc. And, in fact, it was standard education to teach children to swim in pools dating all the way back to 400 BC. Let’s face it, Plato lived into his 80’s and that is considered a long life even by today’s standard!
In AD 305 the Romans built an incredible pool that was over 900,000 square feet! This pool was used for bathing and was also heated by giant fires in the basement beneath the floors of the pool, the columns and walls pumped the heat up to the pool above. You can just imagine how beautiful this must have been with marble and statues in the Roman architecture.
Pools were obviously important in society during these ages and used here for many public and social activities but during this time pools were just as important in homes as well. Both Roman and Greek emperors had huge ornate pools with live fish in them! This is where the word “Pool” comes from, “piscine” meaning fish! Nobles had pools outside the house, often in the courtyards and also had coldwater pools inside the house. The first Jacuzzi style custom pool was designed and ordered by Gaius Maecenas, one of Augustus Cesar’s political advisors sometime around 8 BC. This pool was supposedly magnificent with waterfalls, lush gardens, overlooking terraces, libraries, villas and other incredible luxurious décor. If you are interested, Custom Pool Pros would be more then happy to create a custom swimming pool design like this for your home!