The perfumed oil would have been based on olive oil or a colourless oil produced from unripe grapes. The finished product could have been liquid, solid or a sticky ointment. Some perfumes were given the names of the places they came from – for example, 'delium' came from Delos and 'assyrium' from the eastern province of Assyria.
Other perfume names were derived from their contents. 'Rhodinum' was made from roses, 'narcissinum' from narcissi and 'cinnamomum' from the bark and leaf of the cinnamon plant. To make the perfume, such scented flowers, aromatic herbs and spices were steeped in oil and left to infuse.
Most Roman towns had one or more public baths, which were open to everyone. Tacitus, the Roman historian, describes how his father-in-law, Agricola, when governor of Britain from AD77-84, encouraged the Britons to adopt the pleasures of civilisation, including the daily bath.
Roman baths were similar to Turkish baths with a series of hot and cold rooms. Having been in the hottest room ('caldarium'), the bather would remove any dirt and old oils using a metal strigil ('strigilis'), and then move to the cold room ('frigidarium') to have either a dip in a cold plunge bath or simply a cold wash from a basin.
The bather would then dry and apply fresh perfumed oil, carried in a round glass bottle ('aryballos') or would require a slave to apply it in the manner of a massage. Roman authors describe the pounding of flesh.
For further information about London's evidence, see Public baths in Public life.