Ancient Greek house

Ancient Greek house

The average house in Ancient Greece had a rectangular, geometrical floor plan and two storeys.

History

Keywords

lifestyle, dwelling, room, Greek, Hellas, Greece, antiquity, geometric layout, polis, settlement structure, kitchen, aula, gate, Zeus, reception room, bathroom, cityscape, street

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Questions

  • What shape was the floor plan of an average house in Ancient Greece?
  • Is it true that houses in ancient Greek settlements were organised in streets?
  • What determined the richness of decoration of houses?
  • What were the roofs of houses covered with in ancient Greece?
  • What was the large inner courtyard in Greek houses called?
  • What kind of room often opened to the street on the ground floor of houses?
  • Is it true that women’s and men’s rooms were separate in ancient Greek houses?
  • Is it true that the design and furniture of houses in Ancient Greece was almost uniform everywhere?
  • What was the majority of furniture in ancient Greek houses made of?
  • Which furniture was not typically found in houses of ancient Greece?
  • Which room was the most important part of houses in Ancient Greece?
  • How were rooms heated?
  • Where did the slaves of the family sleep?
  • Who was responsible for supervising the slaves?
  • Is it true that the master of the house usually received only male guests in the reception room?
  • Is it true that women could only see male family members in their bedrooms?
  • What was the typical, vase-shaped pot used for storage in the Antique world called?
  • What did people not store in their clay pots in ancient Greece?
  • Which of these could not be found in ancient Greek pantries?
  • Which of these could not be found in ancient Greek pantries?
  • Where did light enter the rooms on the ground floor of ancient Greek houses?
  • How many storeys did Greek houses usually consist of?
  • Which statement is true for an average family in ancient Greece?
  • Is it true that guests were not allowed to enter women’s or children’s rooms?
  • Where were clothes stored in ancient Greek houses?
  • Which piece of clothing was not worn in Ancient Greece?
  • What was the average area of ancient Greek houses in the 4th century BC?
  • Who was usually responsible for taking care of male children in Ancient Greece?

Scenes

Greek street

Houses in Ancient Hellas

Average houses in Ancient Greece usually had a rectangular floor plan and a geometric layout. In urban areas, houses were organised in streets, while in rural areas, houses were built standing alone, similarly to country houses in Ancient Rome.

Most of the buildings consisted of a single storey or two storeys. The size, exterior decoration and interior furnishing depended on how wealthy the owner was.

Houses were built from bricks and wood, roofs were covered with clay tiles.

According to the most typical floor plan, the entryway led from the gate to the aula, a large central courtyard. This was the centre of family life. It was surrounded by a covered, columned corridor on three sides. Rooms opened from this corridor. There was often a shop or workshop facing the street as a part of the house.

House

Cutaway of a house

  • open yard (aula)
  • gate
  • columned corridor
  • altar of Zeus
  • reception room
  • bathroom
  • kitchen
  • men’s room
  • women’s room

The bedrooms

Women’s and men’s bedrooms were separate. Initially women’s rooms were situated upstairs, while men’s rooms (andronitis) were on the ground floor. Later men’s rooms were also moved upstairs, on the other side of the building.
Rooms were accessible through doors opening from the corridor. The quality of the furniture of rooms varied from the simplest to the luxurious.

An average bedroom was furnished with a bed, a small table and a chair with or without a low backrest. Furniture was made of wood. Interior decoration depended on how wealthy the owner of the house was.

The other rooms

In most of the houses in Ancient Greece there was a room for personal hygiene. Its furniture was very simple: it only contained a bathtub and a bowl made of clay.

Slaves’ rooms were situated on the ground floor. These were, of course, much smaller and more simply furnished than rooms of the family.

Often, there were windows only in the rooms upstairs, rooms on the ground floor received light through the doors facing the open courtyard.

Reception room

Reception room

The reception room was situated on the ground floor of the building. This was where the master of the house received his (male) guests. The meetings often lasted a very long time and involved a lot of wine drinking, which was served from the pantry or the kitchen by the slaves.
Rooms were heated with metal pots containing glowing charcoal (braziers). This kept the heat for a long time, radiating it around the room.

Women’s room

Women’s rooms

Women’s and girls’ rooms (called gynaeconitis and amphithalamos) were situated on a separate part of the upper floor. These were similarly furnished to men’s rooms, but women decorated them with curtains and tablecloths. Clothes and valuables were stored in wooden chests placed on the floor.
The gynaikon was the room where women worked weaving and spinning and entertained female guests. Women met other family members in the courtyard. It was the mistress’s responsibility to supervise the slaves, but they also did some housework.

Kitchen

The kitchen and dining room

The kitchen, the pantry and other store rooms were situated on the ground floor, opening from the back of the aula. An oven was built from bricks on the floor of the kitchen. Cooking pots were placed on the charcoal in the oven. Clay pots were not only used for cooking, but also for storing food. Amphorae were typical types of pots.

The men’s room (andron) was next to the kitchen. The master of the house spent most of his time in this room, entertaining his guests. They held their feasts here, (with only male guests). They ate and drank leaning on couches, resting on their elbows.

Walk

Animation

Narration

Besides rural villages, the people of Ancient Greece typically also lived in cities. Houses in cities were organised in streets. Most of the buildings consisted of a single storey or two storeys. Houses were built of bricks and wood, walls were whitewashed and roofs were covered with clay tiles. The size, exterior decoration and interior furnishing depended on how wealthy the owner was.

Houses in Ancient Greece usually had a rectangular floor plan and a geometric layout. A large gate led to the aula, a large central courtyard. This was the centre of family life. It was surrounded by a covered, columned corridor on three sides. Rooms were accessed from this corridor.

The reception room was situated on the ground floor of the building. This was where the master of the house received his (male) guests. The kitchen and the pantry were also situated on the ground floor, next to the reception room. Other rooms on the ground floor included the bathroom, the slaves' quarters and other storage rooms.

Men's rooms (andronitis) and women's and girls' rooms (amphithalamos) were situated upstairs. The rooms were accessible through doors that opened from the corridor.

The furniture ranged from the simplest to the most luxurious. Interior decoration depended on how wealthy the owner of the house was. An average bedroom was furnished with a bed, a small table and a stool or a chair with a low backrest. Furniture was made of wood. Clothes and valuables were stored in wooden chests placed on the floor. Rooms were heated with metal pots containing glowing charcoal.

Houses in Ancient Greece were designed to provide the most practical and comfortable conditions for families. The streets and squares in the cities were often decorated with trees and bushes.

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