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Sixteen Roman emperors were born in Serbia. At the intersection of their roads there is a region today known as Timocka krajina. It is the region where Emperor Trajan set foot and where the Roman Emperor Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus was born in the mid-third century A.D. Here, near the place called Gamzigrad nearby Zajecar, Caesar Galerius built a beautiful palace at the beginning of the 4th century A.D. and dedicated it to his mother Romula. He built the palace near his birthplace and named it Felix Romuliana, which translates into beautiful, fruitful, divine Romuliana.
Galerius was born and grew in a stockman's family. His education and stock weren't noble, but with his wisdom, courage and military determination he reached the rank of a Caesar. Diocletian, the supreme ruler of Rome at the time, divided his dominion with Galerius, left him a part of the army and the eastern part of the Roman Empire. It was written about him that he was a true, cruel soldier, a man who defeated the Persians and helped Diocletian to expand the Empire far to the east.
Galerius planned, after withdrawing from the throne, to return to his homeland and enjoy in Romuliana in his old days. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see all the beauty of his imperial palace. He died near Sofia on his way to Romuliana. He was buried with full imperial honours next to his mother Romula on Magura, the sacred hill that overlooks the beautiful Romuliana. On that place, the act of apotheosis of an emperor took place for the last time in the history of mankind. In 311 A.D. Galerius was elevated into the rank of gods from an impressive twenty meters high bonfire and became a divinity – Divus Galerius, six years after his mother became Diva Romula.
In his life, it is said, he loved to bathe in the baths whenever he had time. He, however, did not bathe as we do today – for him, it was a ritual. He enjoyed bathing with every atom of his body and soul. To relax his soul and to make the pleasure better for his friends and himself, he ordered the servants to put into the water fragrant and medicinal herbs picked from the beautiful mountains and pastures of Timocka krajina, essential oils and various salts. He would come out of the baths cheerful and lively, like a child ready to play. Villagers from his birthplace heard that he regularly bathes in water strewed with herbs from the local pastures and hillslopes and uses essential oils made of local herbs. They even heard that his servants brought him olive oil he liked to put on, so they decided to surprise him.
They offered the guards a ram in exchange for several litres of olive oil and made a soap of it. They put a bit of their secrets in the soap, a bit of essential oils, herbs, coloured it with marigold petals and sent it to Galerius. The Emperor was so thrilled that he ordered the villagers to be regularly supplied with olive oil in order to make soap in which he enjoyed the rest of his life.
Since then, even to the present day, the recipe has being passed on from generation to generation. Healthy, nice and fragrant soap that villagers made for Galerius, and our grandmothers for our fathers and mothers, is still being made in this area, although many people are not aware of its true origin.
We made it for you, according to the old, well-kept recipes. Try it, so that you can touch part of the Roman Empire and feel the magic of bathing with the Caesarian soaps.
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