A hypocaust (Latin: hypocaustum) is a system of central heating in a building that produces and circulates hot air below the floor of a room, and may also warm the walls with a series of pipes through which the hot air passes. This air can warm the upper floors as well. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt" (as in caustic). The earliest reference to such a system suggests that the temple of Ephesus in 350 BC was heated in this manner, although Vitruvius attributes its invention to Sergius Orata in c. 80 BC. Its invention improved the hygiene and living conditions of citizens, and was a forerunner of modern central heating.