Quote Originally Posted by Larb View Post
Assuming people make the connection between unclean/unchanged water and the infection. People in general didn't have the same kind of understanding of disease back then (or until the 20th century really) and very few people would consider the possibility (The account I read about comes from someone who did). They would just blame it on the gods or something. I mean it's bathwater, surely it's fine. I'm not getting sick. And no one is dying in that other public bath a few blocks over. And he didn't get really sick until a few days later anyway so it can't be the baths. Obviously he angered one of the gods with his unvirtuous behaviour. =P
True to a point, but in ancient and medieval times, water in general was seen as unclean, especially for consumption. There was a general preference for fermented beverages such as wine and beer. These beverages weren't nearly as alcoholic as what we consume today (unless you're an upper-class toff), but especially in the case of some forms of wine they were indeed a good source of electrolytes and energy. People just didn't get down with drinking water until there was a reliable way of drinking it without getting some manky disease. People have long learned that water from untrustworthy sources can make you sick, and sought fluid intake elsewhere. It wasn't borne from an understanding of diseases, viruses, bacteria, but from experience. Nowadays, we just take it for granted.

The same was true with most bathhouses. People just figured out that oft-changed heated water didn't kill off the clientele as often as unchanged, tepid water, even if they didn't figure it out overnight.

Never minding the fact that nowadays that we tend to disrespect the medical knowledge of yesteryear, with our misunderstanding stemming from those blasted Victorians and other idiot self-promoters from the late-rennaissance, early-modern period. Medical cures didn't begin and end with leaches and blood-letting