), a door.
Besides being applicable to the doors of apartments in the interior of a
house, which were properly called ostia
15.7; Verg. A. 6.43
), this term more especially denoted
the first entrance into the house, i. e. the front or street door, which was
also called anticum
(Festus, s. v.), and in
Greek θύρα αὔλειος, αὐλεία, αὐλίος,
; Pind. N. 1.19
; Menand. fr.
238 Mein.; Harpocr. s.v. Theophr. Char.
Theocrit. 15.43; Herodian, 2.1; Charit. 1.2). The houses of the Romans
commonly had a back-door, called posticum,
Hor. Ep. 1.5
; Plaut. Most.
3.3, 27; Suet. Cl. 18
), and in Greek παράθυρος,
: also κηπαία,
because it often led into a
garden at the back (Hermipp. fr.
42 M.; [Dem.]
c. Everg. et. Mnes.
p. 1155.53; cf. Plaut.
3.1, 40-44). Different from this was ψευδίθυρον,
a false, i. e. secret door, used
either for safety or for illicit purposes (Cic.
in Verr. 2.20
, § 50; post Red.
6.14). For the internal doors, like the μέσαυλος
p. 663 a.
The doorway, when complete, consisted of four indispensable parts,--the
threshold, or sill; the lintel; and the two jambs.
The threshold (limen,
βηλός, οὐδὸα ὀδός
) was an object of
reverence, and it was thought unlucky to tread on it with the left foot. On
this account the steps leading into a temple were of an uneven number,
because the worshipper, after placing his right foot on the bottom step,
would then place the same foot on the threshold also (Vitr. 3.4
). Thus the woodcut under ANTAE
shows five steps; the well-preserved temple at
Nîmes, now called the Maison Carrée,
approached by three steps.
The lintel (jugumentum,
Cat. de Re Rust.
) was also called limen
), and more
specifically limen superum,
to distinguish it
from the sill, which was called limen inferum.
5.1, 1.) Being designed to support a
superincumbent weight, it was generally a single piece, either of wood or
stone. Hence those lintels which still remain in ancient buildings astonish
us by their great length. In large and splendid edifices the jambs or
) were made to converge towards the
top, according to certain rules, which are given by Vitruvius (l.c.
). In describing the construction of temples he
calls them antepagmenta,
the propriety of which
term may be understood from the ground-plan of the door under CARDO
where the hinges are seen to
be behind the jambs. This plan may also serve to show what Theocritus means
by the hollow
door-posts (σταθμὰ κοῖλα θυράων,
24.15). In the Augustan age it was fashionable to
inlay the posts with tortoiseshell (Verg. G.
). Although the jamb was sometimes nearly twice the length of
the lintel, it was made of a single stone even in the largest edifices. A
very striking effect was produced by the height of these doorways, as well
as by their costly decorations, beautiful materials, and tasteful
The door in the front of a temple, as it reached nearly to the ceiling,
allowed the worshippers to view from without the entire statue of the
divinity, and to observe the rites performed before it. These circumstances
are illustrated in the accompanying woodcut, showing
Door of Temple. (From a bas-relief.)
the front of a small temple of Jupiter. The term antepagmentum,
which has been already explained, and
which was applied to the lintel as well as the jambs (antepagmentum superius,
), implies that the doors opened
inwards. This is clearly seen in the same woodcut, and is found to be the
construction of all ancient buildings at Pompeii and other places. In some
of these buildings, as for example in that called “the house of the
tragic poet,” even the marble threshold rises about an inch
higher than the bottom of the door (Gell's Pompeiana,
2nd Ser. vol. i. p. 144), so that the door was in
every part behind the door-case. It was formerly assumed, on the strength of
a passage in Plutarch (Plut. Publ. 20
in the older Greek houses the doors regularly opened outwards. But Plutarch
only mentions this as an inference from the language of comedy; and it is
probable that the practice had always been exceptional. Aristotle tells us
that Hippias laid a tax on such doors (Oecon.
ii. p. 1347), which doubtless led to the disuse of that mode of
construction; and as he taxed at the same time balconies (δρύφακτοι
) and other projections, it is likely
that they had always been regarded as encroachments on the rights of the
public. (Cf. Becker-Göll, Charikles,
In a single instance only were the doors allowed to open outwardly at Rome;
an exception was made as a special privilege in [p. 1.988]
honour of M. Valerius Publicola. (Plut. l.c.;
Plin. Nat. 36.112
The lintel of the oblong door-case was in all large and splendid buildings,
such as the great temples, surmounted either by an architrave and cornice,
or by a cornice only. As this is not shown in the bas-relief above
introduced, an actual doorway, viz. that of the temple of Hercules at Cora,
is here added. Above the
Temple of Hercules at Cora.
lintel is an architrave with a Latin inscription upon it, and
above this a projecting cornice supported on each side by a console, which
reaches to a level with the bottom of the lintel. The top of the cornice
) coincided in height with the tops
of the capitals of the columns of the pronaos, so that the doorway, with its
superstructure, was exactly equal in height to the columns and the ANTAE
This superstructure was the
of Vitruvius (l.c.
), and of the Greek architects whom he followed.
The next woodcut shows (fig. 1) one of the two consoles which support the
cornice of a beautiful Ionic doorway in the temple of Minerva Polias at
Athens. In the inscription relating to the building of that temple, which is
now in the Elgin Collection of the British Museum, the object here
delineated is called οὖς τῷ ὑπερθύρῳ.
Other Greek names for it, used by Vitruvius (4.6.4
), are parotis
literally a “side-ear” and
“an elbow.” The use of consoles, or trusses, in this
situation was characteristic of the Ionic style of architecture, being never
admitted in the Doric. It is to be observed that Homer (Hom. Od. 7.90
), Hesiod (Scut.
271), and Herodotus (1.179
), use the term
or its diminutive ὑπερθύριον,
to include the lintel. Upon some
part of the hyperthyrum there was often an inscription, recording the date
and occasion of the erection, as in the case of the temple of Hercules above
represented, or else merely expressing a moral sentiment, like the
celebrated “Know thyself” upon the temple at Delphi.
The door itself was called foris
and in Greek σανίς,
as now read, though
against the MSS.). These words are commonly found in the plural, because the
doorway of every building of the least importance contained two doors
folding together, as in all the instances already referred to. When foris
is used in the singular, we may observe that
it denotes one of the folding-doors only, as in the phrase foris concrepuit,
which occurs repeatedly in
Plautus, and describes the creaking of a single valve, opened alone and
turning on its pivots. These pivots made more noise than regular hinges
]; in Aristoph. Thes. 487
, the adulteress pours
water on the στροφεῖς
before going out to
her assignation. Even the internal doors of houses were bivalve (Gell's
2nd Ser. vol. i. p. 166); hence
we read of “the folding-doors of a bed-chamber” (fores cubiculi,
Suet. Aug. 82
; Q. Curt.
; σανίδες εὖ ἀραρυῖαι,
Hom. Od. 2.344
, &c.; πύλαι διπλαῖ,
Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1261
). But in
every case each of the two valves was wide enough to allow persons to pass
through without opening the other valve also. Even each valve was sometimes
double, so as to fold like our window-shutters (duplices
15.7). The mode of
attaching doors to the doorway is explained under the article CARDO
The remaining specimens of ancient doors are all of marble or of bronze;
those made of wood, which was by far the most common material, have
perished. The door of a tomb at Pompeii (Mazois, Ruines de
vol. i. pl. xix. fig. 4) is made of a single piece of
marble, including the pivots, which were encased in bronze, and turned in
sockets of the same metal. It is 3 feet high, 2 feet 9 inches wide, 4 1/2
inches thick. It is cut in front to resemble panels, and thus to approach
nearer to the appearance of a common wooden door, and it was fastened by a
lock, traces of which remain. The beautifully wrought tombs of Asia Minor
and other Eastern countries have stone doors, made either to turn on pivots
or to slide sideways in grooves. Doors of bronze are often mentioned by
ancient writers. (Hdt. 1.179
; Plin. Nat. 34.13
.) The doors of a supposed
temple of Remus, still existing at Rome, and now occupied as a Christian
church, are of this material. The late Professor Donaldson
(Collection of Doorways from Ancient Buildings,
1833, pl. 21) has represented them filling up the lower part of the doorway
of the temple at Cora, as shown in the last woodcut, which is taken from
him. The four panels are surrounded by rows of small circles, marking the
spots on which were fixed rosettes or bosses, similar to those which are
described and figured in the article BULLA
and which served both to strengthen and to adorn the doors.
The leaves of the doors were sometimes overlaid with gold, which was an
Eastern practice, as we see from the doors in the temple of Solomon at
Jerusalem (1 Kings 6.32-35); at other times they were enriched with the most
exquisite carving. (Ovid. Met.
8.703; Verg. G. 3.26
6.20-32). Those in the temple
of Minerva, at Syracuse, are said by Cicero ( Cic. Ver. 4.56.124
) to have exceeded all others in the curious
and beautiful workmanship executed upon them
in gold and ivory. “It is incredible,” says he, “how many
Greeks have left writings descriptive of the elegance of these
valves.” One of the ornaments was “a most beautiful Gorgon's
head with tresses of snakes,” probably occupying the centre of a
panel. In addition to the sculptures upon the valves themselves, the finest
statues were sometimes placed beside them, probably at the base of the
antepagmenta, as in the magnificent temple of Juno in Samos (Cic. Ver. 1.23, § 61
). In the fancied
palace of Alcinous (Od. 7.83
) the door-case, which was of silver with a
threshold of bronze, included folding-doors of gold: whilst dogs, wrought in
gold and silver, guarded the approach, probably disposed like the avenue of
sphinxes before an Egyptian temple. As luxury advanced among the Romans
metal took the place of wood, even in the doors of the interior of a house.
Hence the Quaestor Sp. Carvilius reproved Camillus for having his chamber
doors covered with bronze (aerata ostia,
A lattice-work [CANCELLI
] is to
be observed above the bronze doors in the last woodcut, Donaldson having
introduced it on the authority more especially of the Pantheon at Rome,
where the upper part of the doorway is filled with a window such as that
The folding-doors exhibited in the last wood-cut, instead of a rebate such as
we employ, have an upright bronze pilaster standing in the middle of the
doorway, so as to cover the joining of the valves. The fastenings of the
) commonly consisted in a bolt (pessulus;
μάνδαλος, κατοχεύς, κλεῖθρον,
Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1262
1294) placed at the base of each foris,
to admit of being pushed into a socket made in the sill to receive it
Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1261
1. Console or bracket, from Erechtheum, Athens.
2. Ancient bolt, Naples Museum.
3-5. Door-handles (ἐπισπαστῆρες)).
Pompeian door-ways show two holes corresponding to the bolts of the two
2nd Ser. vol. i. p. 167); and they agree with numerous
passages which mention in the plural number “the bolts,” or
“both the bolts,” of a door. (Plaut. Aulul.
1.3, 26; Curc.
1.2, 60, 71 ;--Soph. ll.
Callim. in Apoll.
The above woodcut shows an ancient bolt preserved in the Museum at Naples.
(Mazois, Ruines de Pompéi,
vol. i. part 2, pi.
By night the front door of the house was further secured by means of a wooden
and sometimes an iron bar (sera, repagula,
) placed across it, and inserted into
sockets, on each side of the doorway. (Festus, s. v. Adserere;
1.6, 24-56.) Hence it
was necessary to remove the bar (τὸν μοχλὸν
Eur. Med. 1317
) in order to open the door
18; Plutarch, Plut. Pel.
; Plaut. Cist.
3.18; Ovid, Ov. Met. 5.120
.) Even chamber-doors were
secured in the same manner (Heliodor. 6.9; cubiculi
ix.); and here
also, in case of need, the bar was employed as a further security in
addition to the two bolts (κλῇθρα συμπεραίνοντες
Eur. Orest. 1551
; Iph. Aul.
951). Where, as in the case of tyrants,
midnight assassination was especially dreaded, we read of a bedchamber
secured with a portcullis (καταρράκτης, καταρρακτὴ
Plut. Arat. 26
); the drawbridge of Dionysius
(Cic. Tusc. 5.20
§ 59) is perhaps mythical. To fasten the door with the bolt was
januae pessulum obdere,
with the bar
3.5, 55, 4.6, 25; Heaut.
2.3, 37). At
Athens a jealous husband sometimes even proceeded to seal the door of the
women's apartment. (Aristoph. Thes.
; Menand. Incert.
1, 11.) The door of a bedchamber
was sometimes covered with a curtain [VELUM].
In the Odyssey (1.442
), 4.802, 21.6, 46-50)
we find mention of a contrivance for bolting or unbolting a door from the
outside, which consisted in a leathern thong (ἱμάς
) inserted through a hole in the door, and by means of a
loop, ring, or hook (κλείς, κληΐς
was the origin of keys, capable of laying hold of the bolt so as to move it
in the manner required. The bolt by the progress of improvement was
transformed into a lock, and the keys found at Herculaneum and Pompeii and
those attached to rings (Gorlaei, Dactylioth.
prove, that among the polished Greeks and Romans the art of the locksmith
) approached very nearly to
its present state. (Achill. Tat. 2.19; CLAVIS
The door represented in the first woodcut to this article has a ring upon
each valve, which was used to shut the door, and therefore called the
) tells a story of a captive who, having
escaped to a temple of Ceres, clung to the rings on the doors with both his
hands. This appendage to the door was also called κορώνη
(Hom. Od. 1.441
) and κόραξ
5 M.; Brunck,
3.168 = Anth. Pal.
sometimes curved like the beak of a raven or crow; or simply κρίκος,
“a ring” (Harpocrat.). The lowest figure in the last woodcut
shows a richly ornamented epispaster, from the collection at Naples. That
with a lion's head is taken from a bas-relief representing the doors of a
temple, in the collection at Ince--Blundell, near Liverpool. [p. 1.990]
The third figure is from the Neapolitan Museum.
Before the door of a palace, or of any private house of a superior
description, there was a passage leading to the door from the public road,
which was called vestibulum
15.7; Plaut. Most.
133; Gel. 16.5
) and πρόθυρον
; Hom. Od.
; Hdt. 3.35
). It was provided
with seats (Hdt. 6.35
). It was sometimes covered
by an arch [CAMARA
], which was
supported by two pillars (Serv. ad
Verg. A. 2.469
) ; and sometimes adorned with
sculptures (Verg. A. 7.181
; Juv. 7.126
). Here persons waited, who came in the
morning to pay their respects to the occupier of the house (Gel. 4.1
). In the vestibule was placed the domestic
]. The Athenians also
planted a laurel in the same situation, beside a figure designed to
represent Apollo (Aristoph. Thes. 489
4.1, 11, 12); and statues of Mercury were still
more frequent (Thuc. 6.27
), being erected there
on the principle of setting a thief to catch a thief (Schol. ad
Aristoph. Pl. 1155
offered to the gods
were suspended not only from the ANTAE
but likewise from the door-posts and lintels of their temples
(Verg. A. 3.287
; Ovid, Ov. Tr.
; Hor. Carm. 4.15.8
1.1, 5, 1.18,
6.45; Plin. Nat. 35.4
), as well as of palaces,
which in ancient times partook of the sanctity of temples (Verg. A. 2.503
). Victors in the games suspended their crowns at the door of a
temple (Pind. N. 5.53
). In like manner
persons fixed to the jambs and lintels of their own doors the spoils which
they had taken in battle. (Festus, s. v. Resignare;
Plin. Nat. 35.7
.) Stags' horns and boars'
tusks were on the same principle used to decorate the doors of the temples
of Diana, and of the private individuals who had taken these animals in the
chase. Owls and other nocturnal birds were nailed upon the doors as in
modern times (Pallad. de Re Rust.
garlands and wreaths of flowers were suspended over the doors of temples in
connexion with the performance of religious rites, or the expression of
public thanksgiving, being composed in each case of productions suited to
the particular divinity whom they were intended to honour. In this manner
the corona spicea
was suspended in honour of
Ceres (Tib. 1.1, 21; see also Verg. Ciris,
95-98). Laurel was so used in token of victory, especially at Rome (Ovid,
Ov. Met. 1.562
), where it sometimes
overshadowed the CORONA CIVICA on the doors of the
imperial palace. (Ovid, Ov. Tr. 3.1
; Plin. Nat. 15.127
; laureatis foribus,
Sen. Consol. ad Polyb.
V. Max. 2.8.7
.) The doors of private
houses were ornamented in a similar way, and with different plants according
to the occasion. More especially, in celebration of a marriage, either
laurel or myrtle. was placed about the door of the bridegroom. (Juv. 6.79
de Nupt. Hon. et Mar.
208.) Catullus, in describing an
imaginary marriage, supposes the whole vestibulum to have been tastefully
overarched with the branches of trees (64.278-293). The birth of a child was
also announced by a chaplet upon the door (Juv.
), and a death was indicated by branches of cypress placed in the
vestibulum (Plin. Nat. 16.139
Verg. A. 3.64
). In addition to trees,
branches, garlands, and wreaths of flowers, the Romans sometimes displayed
lamps and torches before the doors of their houses for the purpose of
expressing gratitude and joy (Juv. 12.92
Music, both vocal and instrumental, was sometimes performed in the
vestibulum, especially on occasions when it was intended to do honour to the
master of the house, or to one of his family (Pind.
It was considered improper to enter a house without giving notice to its
inmates. This notice the Spartans gave by shouting; the Athenians and all
other nations by using the knocker (ῥόπτρον,
Eur. Ion 1612
; Aristoph. fr.
103; [Lys.] c. Andoc.
init.; Harpocrat. s. v.),
but more commonly by rapping with the knuckles or with a stick (κρούειν, κόπτειν,
1.89 ff.; Plat. Protag.
314 D). In the houses of the rich a porter (janitor,
) was always in attendance to open
the door (Tib. 1.1
). He was commonly a eunuch or a slave (Plat. l.c.
), and was chained to his post (Ovid, Amor.
1.6; Sueton. de Clar. Rhet.
3). To assist him in guarding the
entrance, a dog was universally kept near it, being also attached by a chain
to the wall (Theocrit. 15.43; Apollod. ap. Ath.
; Aristoph. Thes. 423
1215; Tib. 2.4
); and in reference
to this practice, the warning Cave Canem,
εὐλαβοῦ τὴν κύνα,
was sometimes written
near the door. Of this a remarkable example occurs in “the house of
the tragic poet” at Pompeii, where it is accompanied by the
figure of a fierce dog, wrought in mosaic on the pavement (reproduced in the
Pompeian house at the Crystal Palace). Instead of this harsh admonition,
some walls or pavements exhibited the more gracious SALVE or XAIPE. The appropriate names
for the portion of the house immediately behind the door (θυρών,
Soph. Oed. Tyr. 1242
; Electr. 328
) denotes that it was
a kind of apartment; it corresponded to the hall or lobby of our houses.
Immediately adjoining it, and close to the front door, there was in many
houses a small room for the porter (cella,
16; Varro, de Re Rust.