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why does itself here refer to "urban life" ??

In the Roman world, the public baths were such an important feature of urban life that in the fourth century A.D., there were 856 small baths in the city of Rome itself in addition to the 11 major baths, which were constructed by the emperors over several centuries (and constantly refurbished). Designed

many thanks

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"Itself" refers to "Rome", not "urban life". It is used to emphasize the noun: there were 856 small baths in the city of Rome itself (just in Rome, not its vicinities or any other regions of the Roman Empire).

Here are some more examples:

  • The shop itself (= only the shopand nothing else) started 15 years ago but the internet side of the business is new.
  • The problem lies in the software and not in the computer itself.

Note that "itself" is used to emphasize the subject when it is a thing, animal, situation, or idea.

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