Washington University Special Collections, courtesy of David Hanlon

Butler described the immense caldarium (hot room) of the Roman public baths at Shabha [ancient Philippolis, built in the mid-third century A.D. by the Roman emperor Philip the Arab] “as among the largest buildings of antiquity preserved in the Hauran” (Ancient Architecture in Syria). Some of the room’s original vaulted ceiling can still be seen, and grooves for water pipes are visible on the far wall. Philippolis, writes Butler, was a “typical Roman city of the Orient, with its regular plan, its monumental gates, and colonnaded streets, its spacious public baths, and lofty arched aqueduct.”