Henri Le Secq Ruines a Tréves, (Kaiserthermen or “Emperor's Baths)
Medium Salt print from paper negative
Photo Date 1851 Print Date 1851c
Dimensions 12-7/8 x 9-3/16 in. (327 x 233 mm)
Photo Country Germany
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer name, date and title reversed out of the negative at lower right. Date slightly trimmed at last number. Prints of images by Le Secq of Treves (or Trier), Germany are quite rare.
Provenance: Artist to Charles Negre; Charles Negre family; Andre Jammes; French book dealer.
Trier, Germany’s oldest city, lies at the head of the scenic Mosel Valley near the Luxembourg border. An ancient Roman capital, Trier brags that it was inhabited for 1,300 years before the Romans arrived.
Founded by Augustus in 15 B.C., Trier was the Roman "Augusta Treverorum" for 500 years. For most of the fourth century, this city of 80,000--with a four-mile-long wall, four great gates and 47 round towers--was the favored residence of Roman emperors. Emperor Constantine used the town as the capital of his fading western Roman Empire.
The Kaiserthermen, or “Emperor's Baths,” are fourth-century remains of a large system of baths and saunas constructed by the Romans. Trier’s cold northern climate, the size of the complex, and the enormity of Constantine’s ego meant that these Imperial Baths required a two-story subterranean complex of pipes, furnaces, and slave galleys to keep the water at a perfect 47 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). But the grandiose vision was never finished. When Constantine left Trier in A.D. 316, the huge and already costly project was scuttled. But 30 years of construction left nearly a mile of underground tunnels and foundation work.
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