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οἰκία, οἴκησις, οἰκητήριον, a dwellinghouse; οἶκος, generally a room; in Homer and the tragedians, δόμος, but more usually in the plural as a dwelling-house). A house.

I. Pre-historic

One special form of hut appears to have been commonly used by many different races of men at an early stage of their development. This was a small circular structure made of branches of trees stuck into the ground in a circle, and then bent inwards till their ends met and were tied together at the top. This rude frame-work was then filled in by wattled work woven in and out, and the whole was daubed over with tempered mud or clay. The hut of Achilles, thatched with rushes ( Il. xxiv. 450), was probably a dwelling of this sort.

In historic times a survival of this ancient circular form of house existed in the form of the Prytaneum in Athens and elsewhere, and also in the Athenian Θόλος, which was built in the newer part of Athens as an adjunct, in a more convenient position for the use of the Prytanes. The Tholus was a round building with a conical roof, and must have had some resemblance to the Roman Temple of Vesta, to which the same name was frequently applied. The original Temple of Vesta was a round hut formed with wattle-work of osiers (Ovid, Fast. vi. 261 foll.; Fest. p. 250 M.).

Even during the imperial period in Rome one or more wattled huts were preserved in memory of the primitive dwellings of its founders. One of these, which stood at the western angle of the Palatine Hill, was known as the Casa Romuli (Dionys. i. 79); it was twice burned and repaired during the reign of Augustus (Dio Cass. xlviii. 43, and liv. 29). The Tugurium Faustuli is probably another name for the same thing. Another hut, also called after Romulus, appears to have been

Casa Romuli.

preserved on the Capitoline Hill (Vitruv. ii. 1; Contr. i. 6).

A careful representation of this early form of house, as used by the prehistoric Latin race, exists in the small sepulchral “houseurns,” which are found in considerable numbers in the early cemeteries of central Italy and elsewhere. These curious pieces of archaic pottery have small movable doors fixed with a wooden peg. See Virchow, Die italienischen und deutschen Haus-Urnen (Berlin, 1884).

During the many centuries which elapsed before the commencement of the historic period of Greece, a state of society existed very different from that with which Greek literature has made us familiar. Instead of large cities, a number of small, highly fortified towns or villages were ruled in an autocratic way by some chieftain of semi-Oriental habits, who lived in a style of much luxury and splendour, surrounded by a group of followers, very much like those of a mediæval feudal lord. At this early period wealth and splendour, which in historic times were devoted to the more public uses of the agora, the council chamber, and the temples of the gods, were lavished on the palace of the chief. It is this period that is celebrated in the Homeric poems which, there is every reason to believe, give us a faithful, if highly coloured, picture of the magnificence which adorned the dwellings of wealthy chiefs, such as Alcinoüs and, in a lesser degree, Odysseus. The recent discoveries made by Dr. Schliemann and Dr. Dörpfeld, within the massive walls of Tiryns (the Τίρυνς τειχιόεσσα of Homer), have for the first time shown us that the stately and richly decorated palaces of the Odyssey were not wholly the offspring of a poet's fancy. See Tiryns.

II. The Homeric Palace of Odysseus

The palace of Odysseus, as depicted in the Odyssey, may be taken as representing the Homeric house. It has been most clearly described by Prof. Gardner, of whose valuable paper in the Quarterly Review (January, 1886) what follows under this head is practically a summary.

The Homeric house consisted of three parts:

αὐλή, the fore-court; δῶμα or μέγαρον, the hall of the men; and θάλαμος, called in later times γυναικωνῖτις, the apartments of the women. The house was entered by massive folding-doors (θύραι δικλίδες), and on either side were stone seats (ἑδραι). The doors led into the αὐλή, or open court-yard, which was used as a kind of farm-yard. On either side and behind were chambers (θάλαμοι) used for various purposes, such as grinding the corn ( Od. xx. 105), and sometimes for sleeping in ( Od. xix. 48). In one corner of the court was the θόλος, a circular building. In the midst of the court was the altar of Ζεὺς ἑρκεῖος. In the court were two colonnades or porticoes, each called αἴθουσα, one on either side right and left of the court-yard (αἴθουσα αὐλῆς), and the other opposite the entrance to the court-yard and along the front of the δῶμα or μέγαρον. The latter is often considered as part of the πρόδομος, so that αἴθουσα and πρόδομος are often used as synonymous terms. Crossing the αἴθουσα, the visitor passed into the μέγαρον or δῶμα, where the chiefs lived. At either end of the μέγαρον was a door, one leading

Palace of Odysseus. Ground-plan. (Gardner.) α. αὐλή, fore-court. a. Altar of Ζεὺς ἑρκεῖος. b. θόλος. β. δῶμα or μέγαρον, men's hall. c. ἐσχάρα. C. θάλαμος, women's hall. 1. θύραι δικλίδες. 2. αἴθουσα, πρόδομος. 3. θύρα. 4. δουροδόκη. α. μέλινος οὐδός. β. λάϊνος οὐδός. 5. θύρα. 6. ὀρσοθύρη. 7. κλίμαξ. 8. λαύρη. 9, 9. θάλαμοι. 10, 10. ἕδραι.

into the court-yard through the αἴθουσα, and the other into the women's apartments, the θάλαμος, properly so called. In front of either door was a threshold (οὐδός), probably raised. The threshold in front of the door into the μέγαρον was made of ash-wood, and the threshold in front of the door into the women's apartments was of stone, λάϊνος οὐδός ( Od. xx. 258), a distinction which is most important for understanding the combat between Odysseus and the suitors. By the ashen threshold was the δουροδόκη, or spear-stand, close to one of the pillars ( Od. i. 128). The μέγαρον was of great size. In the palace of Odysseus the three hundred suitors of Penelopé feasted in it. Its height was that of the house itself, and its roof was supported by lofty pillars (κίονες). In the upper part of the μέγαρον was the ἐσχάρα, or hearth, where the food was cooked ( Od. xx. 123), and the smoke escaped through a hole in the roof, as in the old Roman atrium. Besides the two principal doors of the μέγαρον already mentioned, there was a third, or postern-door, called ὀρσοθύρη, the position of which has given rise to much dispute. It should, however, probably be placed, for the reasons given by Gardner and Jebb, on the side of the μέγαρον, as shown in the plan (Plan, 6), leading into the λαύρη ( Od. xxii. 128 Od., 137), or narrow passage which gave access to the women's apartments from the outer court-yard, thus avoiding the necessity of passing through the μέγαρον (Plan, 8).

The women's rooms, or θάλαμος, properly so called, also styled μέγαρα γυναικῶν ( Od. xxii. 151), were immediately behind the μέγαρον on the ground-floor, directly communicating with the latter by a door. This is clear from the whole narrative in the Odyssey of the combat between Odysseus and the suitors. The passages proving this have been critically examined by Prof. Jebb in the essay quoted below. (Cf. Od. xvii. 506 Od., xx. 389, etc.; see also iv. 718.) Here the women sat engaged in weaving and domestic occupations. Here was the nuptial chamber, with the marriage-bed made by Odysseus with his own hands ( Od. xxiii. 192 Od., 295). The ordinary sleeping and other rooms of the women were in the upper story (ὑπερώϊον), which was reached by a ladder, κλίμαξ ( Od. xxi. 5; cf. Od. ii. 358 Od., iv. 760; Il. ii. 514 Il., xvi. 184; Eustath. ad Od. i. 328, p. 1420, 53). Hence we find Penelopé, after sleeping with Odysseus in the nuptial chamber, ascending with her handmaids into the upper chamber ( Od. xxiii. 364). It is therefore a mistake on the part of some modern writers to describe the women's rooms as situated only in the upper story. In the women's rooms was the armory (θάλαμος ὅπλων, cf. Od. xxii. 140 Od., 151-156), and the treasury at the further extremity (θάλαμος ἔσχατος), with a high roof ( Od. xxi. 8). In the women's part of the house there was also an open court, in which grew an olive-tree in the palace of Odysseus ( Od. xxiii. 190).

For further details regarding the Homeric house, reference may be made to Gardner, Journ. of Hellenic Studies, iii. p. 264 foll.; Jebb, ib. vii. p. 170 foll.; Dörpfeld, in Schliemann's Tiryns (London, 1866); Winckler, Die Wohnhäuser der Hellenen (Berlin, 1868); Protodikos, De Aedibus Homericis (Leipzig, 1877); Rumpf, De Aedibus Homericis (Giessen, 1884). Valuable accounts of the architecture and other arts of the Homeric period are given by Helbig, Das homerische Epos (1876), and by Buchholz, Die homerischen Realien (Leipzig, 1883-85).

III. The later Greek House

The discoveries of recent years have shown that bricks made of unbaked clay were very extensively used down to quite late times for the private houses of the Greeks, and this is one reason why examples of Hellenic domestic architecture are so very rare. Burnt bricks were first introduced by the Romans (Blümner, Technol. u. Terminol., etc., ii. p. 11). Till quite recently very few remains of Greek houses were known to exist. The excavations, however, made in the Greek city of Naukratis in the Egyptian Delta during 1884-86 by Messrs. Flinders Petrie and Ernest Gardner have brought to light remains of a large number of Greek streets and

Plan of a Greek House at Naukratis in Egypt.

houses, all built of sundried brick, coated with painted stucco. The accompanying figure shows part of Mr. Petrie's discoveries: A is a single house forming a complete insula, as the Romans would call it; it consists of six rooms, with what was probably a small central open court. B B appear to be shops. C C are narrow streets. In this Greek city the streets seem all to be very narrow, and the insulae are mostly very small—in many cases, like the figured example, consisting of one house only. Though but very scanty remains were found of the unbaked-brick walls, yet in a few places patches of painted stucco on the exterior were found in situ. Though walls of this sort would last very well so long as they were roofed over and protected by their coating of hard stucco, yet when once they had fallen into a ruined state the process of decay would be rapid and complete, even in Egypt, and of course much more so in a more rainy climate.

The other more important examples of Greek domestic architecture which have yet been discovered are some houses in the Piraeus, the foundations of which were exposed in 1884 during the laying out of a new street by the municipality. (See Dr. Dörpfeld, in Mittheil. d. deutsch. archäol. Inst. in Athen, vol. ix. no. 3, 1884.) The figure shows a reduction made from Dr. Dörpfeld's plan.

On the southeast and southwest sides the block faces upon streets; it appears to be a double

Plan of a Greek House discovered in the Piraeus.

house, though this is not quite certain, owing to the impossibility of ascertaining the positions of all the doors. On the northwest side remains were found of a large open peristyle, apparently derived from the αὐλή of the earlier Hellenic plan; under the covered porticus of this cloister an altar was found, probably dedicated to Zeus Herkeios. On the southeast side the house was entered through a long shallow porch, with two columns, in which stood another altar, probably that of Apollo Agyieus. This porch led into a small open court, surrounded on three sides by a covered walk (στοά or porticus). The pavement of this was laid so as to drain into an open gully, through which the rainwater escaped into a drain. In one corner of the court was a well, and on the other side a stone cistern for storing water; a second cistern stood in the room adjoining the open court on the northwest. Some remains of paving were found, as is indicated on the plan. In one room it consists of stone flags; in another of a sort of rude mosaic, formed of pebbles set in concrete. On the southwest side are some rooms which were entered directly from the street, these may have been shops or public offices. Traces of a staircase leading to an upper floor were found at one end of the room with the flagging pavement. This block measures, without counting the large peristyle, about 140 feet by 75 feet. The clear open space of the peristyle was about 68 feet wide; its other dimension was not discovered. It is possible that this block may have been all part of the same house— one portion being the ἀνδρωνῖτις, or men's part, and the rest the γυναικωνῖτις, or women's part.

During the most flourishing period of Greece the private houses appear to have been small and simple in design; splendour of materials and ornament were reserved for the temples of the gods and the public buildings, such as the Agora and the great στοαί, which in Athens especially contributed so largely to the architectural magnificence of the city. The front of the house towards the street was not large, as the apartments extended rather in the direction of its depth than of its width. In towns the houses were often built side by side, with party walls between (ὁμότοιχοι οἰκίαι). The exterior wall was plain and often covered with plaster or stucco. Sometimes, as in Tanagra, the exterior was adorned with what was probably terra-cotta ( Dicaearch. p. 245, Fuhr). Plutarch says that Phocion's house was ornamented with plates of bronze (Plut. Phoc. 18). Unbaked clay, as we have already shown, was used for the walls; thus it was easy for the Plataeans to break through the party walls of their houses, so as to communicate with each other. For the same reason the burglar was called τοιχωρύχος, because he found it easier to obtain an entrance into houses by breaking through the soft walls than by the door or windows (De Leg. 831 E).

Foreigners were specially struck by the mean appearance of the private houses of Athens in the time of Pericles, as strongly contrasting with the splendour of the public buildings (Thuc. ii. 14, Thuc., 65). “A stranger,” says Dicaearchus, “might doubt upon a sudden view whether this were really the city of Athens,” so mean were the houses and crooked and narrow the streets. It was not till the time of Demosthenes that good houses began to be built in Athens.

In all cases the country houses must have been much finer buildings than those in the old cities, where streets were narrow and sites often very cramped (Isocr. Areop. 20). Thucydides (ii. 14) speaks of the preference of the Athenians for houses in the country. See Villa.

The plan and whole arrangement of town and country houses would naturally be absolutely different, and it is unreasonable to suppose that one fixed type of house was used by the Greeks. Existing remains show us that the Roman houses had as many varieties of plan as we have now, and yet many archæologists have written as if there was one stereotyped plan of house used in classical times. The somewhat pedantic language of Vitruvius (vi. 7, 10) on the subject has tended to support the belief in the existence of one fixed type of Greek house, but at his date, in the reign of Augustus, archæology was practically an unknown science, and it may reasonably be suggested that the so-called Greek plan of Vitruvius does not represent the domestic architecture of the bygone days when the Greeks were an independent race, but rather Vitruvius's private notion, as a practising architect, of a house to be built for some wealthy Roman in the revived pseudo-Hellenic style which began to be popular in the reigns of the early emperors of Rome.

Nevertheless, many of Vitruvius's statements may be of great use in illustrating difficult passages in older Greek writers, which treat of some details in the Hellenic house, especially when the description is compared with some of the existing Roman dwellings, which are evidently designed to some extent after a real or supposed Greek model.

Greek houses had three principal features in common. First, there were one or two open courts, surrounded by the various rooms. Secondly, in a Greek family the women lived in private apartments allotted to their respective use. Hence the house was always divided into two distinct portions, already mentioned—the Andronitis (ἀνδρωνῖτις), or men's apartments, and the Gynaeconitis (γυναικωνῖτις), or women's apartments. Thirdly, the Gynaeconitis was, as a general rule, in larger houses behind the Andronitis, and on the same floor as the latter Much difficulty has been occasioned in the arrangement of a Greek house by the statement of Vitruvius (vi. 7 [10]) that the principal entrance led at once into the Gynaeconitis, and that the Andronitis therefore was behind the women's rooms, or rather, if we construe his words strictly, by their side. But such an arrangement is alike inconsistent with the careful state of seclusion in which the Greek women were kept, and also with the positive statements of the writers of the period. It is very likely that Vitruvius misunderstood to some extent the descriptions given by his Greek authorities, and has assigned to the Gynaeconitis the arrangement of the Andronitis.

The plan below of the ground-floor of a Greek house of the larger size, with two courts or peristyles, is taken, with slight alterations, from Guhl and Koner. It is of course conjectural, but it will serve for the probable arrangements (for further we cannot go) of the Greek house at the period we are speaking of. Other plans, differing very much from this, have been given by several modern writers; but this appears on the whole the most consistent with the ancient authorities. In smaller

Plan of a Greek House. (Guhl and Koner.) EntranceA. -hall. B. Peristyle of the Andronitis. a. Altar of Ζεὺς ἑρκεῖος. C. Andron, or dining-hall. b. ἑστία. K. Peristyle of the Gynaeconitis. H. Rooms of the Andronitis. F. Perhaps sanctuaries of the θεοὶ κτήσιοι and θεοὶ πατρῶοι. D. Thalamos. E. Amphithalamos. G. Rooms of the Gynaeconitis, for working in wool and other purposes. I. Rooms of the Andronitis, and in some houses perhaps shops opening to the street. 1. Πρόδομος, and farther back, street-door, αὔλειος θύρα. 2. Door between the men's and women's rooms, μέσαυλος or μέταυλος θύρα. 3. Garden-door, κηπαία θύρα.

houses the Gynaeconitis was much more limited, having no open court, and in some cases was restricted to the upper story.

Some other matters connected with a Greek house require notice.

1. Upper Stories.

When there was an upper story (ὑπερῷον, διῆρες), it seldom extended over the whole space occupied by the lower story. The principal use of the upper story was for the sleeping apartments, both of the family and of the slaves. Houses rarely had more than two stories; but in later times we find in the larger towns mention of houses with three stories (τριστέγη, Artemid. iv. 46; Acts, xx. 8, 9). The access to the upper floor seems to have been sometimes by stairs (ἀναβαθμοί) on the outside of the house, leading up from the street, as was the case at Rome (Aristot. Oec. ii. 5, p. 1347 Oec., 5). The upper story was sometimes let, or used for lodging guests (De Venef. 14). But in some large houses there were rooms set apart for the reception of guests (ξενῶνες) on the ground-floor.

Portions of the upper story sometimes projected beyond the walls of the lower part, forming balconies or verandas (προβολαί, γεισιποδίσματα, Pollux, i. 81), like the Roman maeniana.

2. Roofs.

The roofs were generally flat, and it was customary to walk about upon them, as on the solaria at Rome (adv. Simon. 11; Lysistr. 389), or to pass from one house to another (Demosth. c. Androt. p. 609.53). But highpitched roofs were also used, covered with tiles (κέραμος, Pollux, i. 81).

3. Doors.

For particulars, see Ianua and Clavis. In the interior of the house the place of doors was sometimes supplied by curtains (παραπετάσματα, παρακαλύμματα), which also hung between the pillars of the peristyle. They were either plain, dyed, or embroidered (Pollux, x. 32; Theophr. 5).

Aula of Greek House. (Von Falke.)

4. Windows.

The principal openings for the admission of light and air were in the uncovered peristyle and perhaps in the roofed part of the peristyle; but it is incorrect to suppose that the houses had no windows (θυρίδες), or at least none overlooking the street. They appear to have been chiefly in the upper story, and in ancient works of art women are represented looking out of them (Thesm. 797, Eccles. 961).

5. Privies.

These were called ἀπόπατοι, ἄφοδοι, or κοπρῶνες. Their position is nowhere expressly indicated, but they were probably, as in Roman houses (see below), in proximity to the kitchen.

6. Heating.

Artificial warmth was procured by little portable stoves (ἐσχάρια, ἐσχαρίδες) or chafing-dishes (ἀνθράκια). (See Focus.) It is often supposed that the chimney was altogether unknown, and that the smoke escaped through an opening in the roof; but it is not easy to understand how this could be the case when there was an upper story. The καπνοδόκη mentioned by Herodotus (viii. 137) was not really a chimney, but only an opening in the roof. But the κάπνη of Aristophanes ( Vesp. 143) seems to have been really a chimney, as it is described by the Scholiast on the passage as pipe-shaped (σωληνοειδής). In any case, the chimney seems to have been used only in the kitchen (ὀπτάνιον, Alexis ap. Athen. ix. p. 386 b).

7. Decoration.

The decorations of the interior were very plain at the period to which our description refers. The floors were mere plaster. At a late period coloured stones were used (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 184). Mosaics are first mentioned as introduced under the kings of Pergamus. The walls, up to the fourth century B.C., seem to have been only whitewashed. The first instance of painting them is that of Alcibiades (In Alcib. 17)—an innovation that met with considerable opposition (Xen. Mem. iii. 8.10; Oecon. ix. 2). Plato mentions the painting of the walls of houses as a mark of a τρυφῶσα πόλις (Repub. ii. 373 A). These allusions prove that the practice was not uncommon in the time of Plato and Xenophon. We have also mention of painted ceilings at the same period, and at a later period this mode of decoration became general.

8. Letting and Price of Houses.

There was a great deal of speculation in the building and letting of houses at Athens ( Oecon. iii. 1). A distinction was made at Athens between the οἰκία, which was a dwelling-house for a single family, and the συνοικία, which was adapted to hold several families—like the Roman insula. The lodging-houses were let mostly to foreigners who came to Athens on business, and especially to the μέτοικοι, whom the law did not allow to acquire real property, and who therefore could not purchase houses of their own. Pasion, the banker, had a lodging-house valued at 100 minas (Demosth. c. Steph. i. p. 1110.28). Two counting-houses are mentioned by Isaeus (De Hagn. Her. 42) as yielding a return of rather more than 8 1/2 per cent. interest on the purchase-money. But this probably was much below the average. The summer season was the most profitable for the letting of houses, when merchants and other visitors flocked to Athens. The rent was commonly paid by the month. Lodging-houses were frequently taken on speculation by persons called ναύκληροι or σταθμοῦχοι (Ammon. , Harpocrat.), who made a profit by underletting them, and sometimes for not very reputable purposes (Isaeus , De Philoct. Her. 19). Boeckh has given an account from the ancient writers of the prices of houses at Athens, which seem to have been very small. They varied from 3 minas ($54) to 120 minas ($2160), according to their size, situation, and condition, from 30 to 50 minas ($540 to $900) being an ordinary price (Boeckh, Publ. Econ. of Athens, pp. 65, 141; Staatshaush. i. p. 84).


For further details regarding the Greek house, see the commentators on Vitruvius; Schneider, Epim. ad Xen. Mem.; Hirt, Die Lehre der Gebäude, pp. 287-289; Stieglitz, Archäol. d. Baukunst, vol. ii. pt. 2, pp. 150-159; Krause, Deinokrates, p. 488 foll.; Winckler, Die Wohnhäuser der Hellenen (Berlin, 1868); Becker-Göll, Charikles, ii. p. 105 foll.; Hermann-Blümner, Griech. Privatalt. p. 143 foll.; Guhl and Koner, Leben d. Griech. u. Röm. p. 95 foll., 5th ed.); Laloux, L'Architecture Grecque (1888).

IV. The Roman House

The earliest dwellings of the Latins on the Palatine Hill were probably mere huts of mud-daubed osiers, like the hut of Romulus, which was preserved as a sacred relic for many centuries. After the burning of Rome by the Gauls, the city was rebuilt in haste, with very narrow streets and on no regular plan (Liv.v. 55). Even the houses of the richest citizens were small and of inexpensive materials, such as unburnt brick or soft brown tufa. No examples of fired bricks are known in Roman buildings till the time of Iulius Caesar; and the remarks of Vitruvius seem to refer wholly to crude or sun-dried bricks, of which no examples in Rome have survived to modern times. Down to the beginning of the last century of the Republic, Romans of rank continued to live in small houses. In B.C. 125, the censors censured Lepidus, the augur, because he paid 6000 sesterces (about $250) for his house rent (Vell. Paterc. ii. 10); and Sulla , when a young man, paid only 3000 sesterces for his rooms on the ground-floor, while a freedman in the upper part of the same house paid only 2000 sesterces, or $80 (Sall. c. 1).

The earliest regulation we find respecting houses is a law of the Twelve Tables that each building should be separated from another by a space of 2 1/2 feet called ambitus (Fest. pp. 5, Fest. 11, M.). But this enactment was disregarded, and was again enforced by Nero when he rebuilt the city (Tac. Ann. xv. 43; see below). As Rome increased in population, the houses were raised in height. The insula, in which the lower and middle classes lived, was a building of several stories, let out in flats or separate rooms to different families or persons. The domus or aedes privatae, on the contrary, was a separate house, in later times a palace, usually with only one story above the ground-floor, the abode of the rich and great, and inhabited for the most part by a single family; though, as in the case of the palazzi in modern Rome, parts of them, especially at the back or top of the domus, were sometimes rented (Plaut. Trin. i. 2, 157; Suet. Ner. 44, Vitell. 7). In the general description of a Roman house our remarks apply only to the domus, properly so called, as the insula was built on an entirely different plan.

The insula is defined by Festus (p. 111, M.) to be a building not joined by common walls with neighbouring houses, but surrounded by a street, so that it stood like an island surrounded by rivers or the sea. It was thus, as has been said, very much like one of the large hotels in modern cities, with one or more courts, and bounded on all sides by streets, like the Louvre Hotel at Paris. The ground-floor was usually rented for shops (tabernae), and the upper stories in flats or separate rooms, as in continental and American cities at the present day. Such an insula, containing various tenements and shops, is the house of Pansa at Pompeii, described below. The number of insulae at Rome naturally exceeded that of the domus; and accordingly we find in the Notitia, which was compiled between A.D. 334 and 357, that there were at Rome 44,171 insulae and 1782 domus (Marquardt, Staatsverw. ii. p. 120). To the same effect Suetonius, in describing the fire at Rome under Nero, speaks of the “immense number” of insulae that were burned, in addition to the palaces (domus) of the nobles (Suet. Ner. 38). Becker and some other writers erroneously suppose that a single floor or a separate room in such a house was also called insula, but the proper name for such a separate lodging was cenaculum (Becker-Göll, Gallus, ii. p. 221).

It was apparently usual for an insula to have been built on speculation, and let by the proprietor to different occupants (Plut. Crass. 2; Mart.iv. 37). Hence the stories or separate rooms were called cenacula meritoria (Vitell. 7; Juv.iii. 234) or conducta. Cicero had some shops, which he let (Ad Att. xiv. 9). The rent (pensio) at Rome was considerable, even for a miserable garret (Juv. iii. 166, Juv. 3.225). Poor persons in the time of Iulius Caesar appear to have paid 2000 sesterces ($80 or $85) as the usual rent (Suet. Caes. 38). Caelius was said to have paid 30,000 sesterces (about $1200) for the rent of a third floor in the insula of P. Clodius, though Cicero says the real rent was only one third of this sum ( Cael. 7, 17). The insularii were not the occupants of the insulae, but the agents who had charge of the insulae and collected the rents. They were also called procuratores insularum. The insula appears to have been named after the person to whom it belonged. Thus we find in inscriptions the insula Arriana Polliana, the insula Sertoriana, etc. (Orelli, 4324).

The upper stories and the separate rooms of the insula were, as we have already said, called cenacula. This word properly signifies rooms to dine in; but after it became the fashion to dine in the upper part of the house, all the rooms above the ground-floor were called cenacula (Varr. L. L. v. 162). There were different flights of stairs connecting the upper stories with the lower part of the house, as we find to be the case in houses at Pompeii. Sometimes the stairs had no connection with the lower part of the house, but ascended at once from the street (Liv. xxxix. 14, 2; xxi. 62, 3). As the different stories could not all be lighted from openings in the roof, as in the domus, they had windows looking out into the street (Liv.i. 41Liv., xxiv. 21). They also had sometimes balconies, supported by brackets, projecting into the street, from which an occupant could shake hands with his next-door or opposite neighbour (Mart.i. 86). These balconies were called maeniana, and the same name was also given to the stories which projected over those below, as we see in some old houses in England (Fest. p. 134; Fest. 22, M.; Isid. xv. 3, 11; Vitruv. v. 1, 2). Projecting stories were forbidden in A.D. 368 to be erected in Rome (Ammian. Marcell. xxvii. 9, 8) on account of the narrowness of the streets, and were again forbidden by the emperors Honorius and Theodosius unless there was an open space, in some cases of ten, in others of fifteen feet, clear of any adjacent building (Cod. Iust. viii. 10, 11). Such a projecting story is seen in some of the Pompeian houses.

Maenianum, or Projecting Story. (Overbeck,

We find mention of a house three stories high in B.C. 218 (Liv.xxi. 62, 3); and Martial considered the third story, where he lived, as very high. If we were to estimate the height of the Roman houses by the way in which they are spoken of by the ancient writers, we should probably assign to them too many stories; for the houses, as Friedländer observes, very likely appeared higher than they really were in consequence of the narrowness of the streets. We have no express mention of any houses more than four stories high; but from various circumstances we may infer that some of the houses at Rome had a larger number of stories than are expressly mentioned. Thus Augustus limited the height of houses to seventy feet, which implies that they had been built still higher, and Cicero describes the houses as hoisted up and suspended in the air (Leg. Agr. ii. 35, 96). See Friedländer, Sittengesch. Roms, i. p. 5 foll.

The houses let for hire were in Rome, as in modern cities at the present day, badly built by speculators. The upper stories were of wood (tabulata, contignationes) and frequently fell down, while their material made them more liable to fires, which were very frequent in Rome. Catullus speaks ironically of the advantages of a beggar, who had nothing to fear from fire or the fall of houses. The returns from house property in Rome were large, but people feared to invest in it on account of fires (Gell. xv. 1). The inundations of the Tiber also caused the fall of houses. For further details, see Friedländer, i. p. 26 foll.

It was not, however, till the reign of Nero that a complete reform was effected in the arrangement and construction of the houses and streets of Rome. Nero had a new and elaborate Building Act drawn up, which required fire-proof materials, such as peperino, a hard volcanic stone, to be used for the external walls of houses. He also enacted that each building should have separate walls and a space (ambitus) left open all round it. As a means of escape and assistance in the case of fire he also caused arcades or colonnades to be built at his own expense in front of the insulae. In Trajan's reign the limit of height for street houses was fixed at sixty feet (Aurel. Vict. Epit. 13). The emperors Antoninus and Verus again made an ordinance about the space to be left round the insulae (Dig. viii. 2, 14).

We now turn to the history and construction of the domus, or mansion of the great and wealthy. It was not till the last century of the Republic, when wealth had been acquired by conquests in the East, that houses of any splendour began to be built; but it then became the fashion not only to build houses of an immense size, but to adorn them with marble columns, paintings, statues, and costly works of art. They covered a large space, most of the rooms being on the ground-floor. The spacious atria and peristylia, being open to the sky, did not permit an upper story, which, if it existed, must have been confined to the sides of the building, and could not have been very high, as otherwise it would have darkened the atria and peristylia. These splendid mansions were erected for the most part on the hills and along the slopes of the Palatine, on the side near the Forum, which was the favourite quarter for the Roman nobles. In later times the various palaces of the emperors swallowed up almost the whole of this site.

The house of the orator L. Crassus on the Palatine, built about B.C. 92, was the first which had marble columns. For this, Crassus was severely blamed, and the stern republican M. Brutus nicknamed him the “Palatine Venus.” This house was valued at 6,000,000 sesterces (about $240,000); but Pliny says that it yielded in magnificence to the house of Q. Catulus on the same hill, and was much inferior to that of C. Aquilius on the Viminal. The house of Catulus had a fine colonnade (porticus), adorned with the spoils of the Cimbric War. It was near the house of Cicero, as a portion of the colonnade was destroyed when Clodius razed the house of Cicero (Val. Max. vi. 3.1).

In B.C. 78, M. Lepidus, for the first time in Rome, used the rich Numidian marble not only for columns, but even for the thresholds of his doors; yet the fashion of building magnificent houses increased so rapidly that the house of Lepidus, which in his consulship was the first in Rome, was thirty-five years later eclipsed by a hundred others. Lucullus was especially celebrated for the magnificence of his houses. The Romans were exceedingly fond of marble for the decoration of their abodes. An advance in costly magnificence was made by the ædile M. Aemilius Scaurus in the middle of the first century B.C. He purchased the house of L. Crassus and greatly enlarged it. He introduced, as the supports of his atrium, columns of the black “Lucullean” marble no less than thirty-eight feet in height, and of which the weight was so great that he had to provide security for an indemnity in case of injury that might be done to the main sewers while these immense blocks of marble were being carted through the streets (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 5 foll.). This house was sold to Clodius for nearly 15,000,000 sesterces (about $600,000)—a price, says Pliny , worthy of the madness of kings. This is the highest price recorded in the time of the Republic for a house. The consul Messalla bought the house of Autronius for 3,400,000 sesterces (about $140,000), and Cicero the house of Crassus (not L. Crassus, the orator) for 3,500,000 sesterces (about $140,000) (Ad Att. i. 13, 6, with Tyrrell's note; Ad Fam. v. 6). Cicero's house was on the lower slope of the Palatine towards the Regia, the official residence of Iulius Caesar as Pontifex Maximus, whom Cicero calls his neighbour (Ad Fam. v. 6, Ad Att. xiii. 45). These houses will serve as samples of the value of the mansions of the nobles during the Republic. Sallust speaks of them as like cities in size ( Cat. 12), and Seneca describes them in the same terms under the Empire ( Ep. 90 Ep., 43), when the imperial palaces became still more magnificent. Many of them, like the houses of Sallust and Maecenas, described below, were surrounded by gardens. The rich noble, we are told, was not content unless he had a rus in urbe (Mart. xii. 57, 21), and the extensive pleasure-grounds are alluded to in other passages.

According to Vitruvius, the principal parts of a Roman house were:

  • 1. Vestibulum,
  • 2. Ostium,
  • 3. Atrium,
  • 4. Alae,
  • 5. Tablinum,
  • 6. Fauces,
  • 7. Peristylium.
The parts of a house which were considered of less importance, and of which the arrangement differed in different houses, were:
  • 1. Cubicula,
  • 2. Triclinia,
  • 3. Oeci,
  • 4. Exedrae,
  • 5. Pinacotheca,
  • 6. Bibliotheca,
  • 7. Balineum,
  • 8. Culina,
  • 9. Cenacula,
  • 10. Lararium or Sacrarium,
  • 11. Diaetae,
  • 12. Solaria,
  • 13. Cellae.
We shall speak of each in order.

1. Vestibulum.

There has been much dispute respecting the exact signification of this word, which has arisen from the different meanings attached to it at different periods of history and in different kinds of houses. In the palaces of the nobles the vestibulum was a vacant space before the house, forming a court-yard or entrance-court, surrounded on three sides by the house, and open on the fourth to the street. The two wings ran out beyond the façade of the building, and the door was in the third side opposite the street. In some houses the projecting sides were occupied by shops opening into the street. In the vestibulum the clients assembled, till the door was opened, to pay their respects (salutatio) to the master of the house, so that they might not be left standing either in the street or within the house (Gell. xvi. 5.3Gell. , 8; vestibulum, quod est ante domum, Varr. L. L. vii. 81; Macrob. vi. 8.15). Hence in the smaller houses in Rome and the municipal towns, there was either no vestibulum, so that the door opened straight upon the street, or the vestibulum was simply indicated by the door standing back a few feet from the street, as in many of the houses at Pompeii. Sometimes there were steps from the street leading up to the vestibulum (Plin. Ep. 84). In the houses of the nobility the vestibulum was adorned with statues, arms, and other trophies (Plin. H. N. xxxv. 7). Public buildings also had vestibula, as the curia or senate-house (Liv. i. 48Liv., ii. 48), and various temples (Plin. Ep. 86).

2. Ostium.

The ostium was the entrance to the house, and is constantly used as synonymous with ianua and fores, “the door.” But ostium properly signified the small vacant space before the ianua, whence Plautus ( Pers. v. 1, 6) says ante ostium et ianuam. Here stood the antae (q. v.), two posts or pillars flanking the doorway. On the threshold the word Salve was frequently wrought in mosaic, as we see in the Pompeian houses; and over the threshold there sometimes hung a cage containing a magpie or a parrot, taught to greet those who entered (Petron. 28; Mart.vii. 87, 6; xiv. 76). Over the door a few words of good omen were sometimes written, such as nihil intret mali (OrelliHenz. Inscr. 7287), or deprecatio incendiorum (Plin. H. N. xxviii. 20). Sometimes the house was indicated by a sign over the door, as in mediæval times. Thus we are told that Augustus was born ad Capita Bubula (Suet. Aug. 5), and Domitian, ad Malum Punicum (Suet. Dom. 1). The street-door itself is fully described under Ianua.

Whether the street-door opened into a hall or directly into the atrium has been a subject of dispute. Vitruvius mentions no entrance-hall in a Roman house; but there are reasons for believing there must have been an entrance-hall in the palaces of the nobility, as behind the door there was a small room (cella) for the house-porter (ostiarius or ianitor), and it is difficult to suppose that this was in the atrium (Petron. 28), especially as a dog was kept by his side, chained to the wall, with a written warning Cave Canem (Plaut. Most. iii. 2, 169). Sometimes a dog was painted on the wall (Petron. 29) or wrought in mosaic on the pavement, as we find in the House of the Tragic Poet at Pompeii. (See illust. p. 296.) At the end of the hall, which seems to have been called ostium, there was no inner door, as Becker describes, but the entrance to the atrium was closed by a curtain (velum), which was drawn aside by the usher when he admitted strangers to an interview (Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 5, Heliog. 14; Plin. Ep. 20). The entrance-hall was small, so that a person in the atrium could look through it at those walking in the street (Calig. 41).

3. Atrium.

The first point to be determined in connection with the atrium, upon which the whole disposition of a Roman house depends, is whether the atrium and the cavum aedium or cavaedium denote two separate courts or one and the same. Some modern writers maintain that they were distinct courts, and accordingly place three courts in a Roman house—first the atrium, then the cavum aedium in the centre, and lastly the peristylium in the rear. But this view cannot be maintained; it is rejected by the best modern authorities; it is in direct opposition to the statements of Varro (L. L. v. 161) and Vitruvius (vi. 3 and 8), who call

Restoration of the Interior of Roman House. (Overbeck,

sometimes the chief room of the house atrium and sometimes cavum aedium; and it is contradicted by the fact that no houses in Pompeii have yet been discovered containing more than two courts —namely, the atrium and the peristylium. We may therefore conclude that the atrium and the cavum aedium denote the same room, the only difference perhaps being that cavum aedium indicated originally the open part, and atrium the entire area; but in general the two words are used as synonymous. The atrium or cavum aedium was a large room or court roofed over, with the exception of an opening in the centre, called compluvium, twoards which the roof sloped so as to throw the rain-water into a cistern in the floor, termed impluvium (Varr. 1. c.; Fest. p. 108, M.; Liv. xliii. 13, 6; Plaut. Amph. v. 1, 56). The water from the impluvium flowed into a well (puteus) under ground; for before the construction of the aqueducts the Romans were dependent upon wells for their supply of water. The word impluvium, however, is sometimes employed in a wider sense to denote the whole uncovered space in the atrium, and therefore the opening in the top as well as the cistern at the bottom (Act. in Verr. i. 23, 61, with the note of Pseudo-Ascon. p. 177, Or.). Compluvium in like manner is sometimes used in the same wide signification as equivalent to impluvium (Suet. Aug. 92). The compluvium was sometimes covered with hangings, as a protection against the sun (Ovid, Met. x. 595). The breadth of the impluvium, according to Vitruvius, was not less than a quarter nor greater than a third of the breadth of the atrium; its length was in the same proportion according to the length of the atrium.

Vitruvius (vi. 3) distinguishes five kinds of atria or cava aedium, which were called by the following names:

  • a. Tuscanicum. In this the roof was supported by four beams, crossing each other at right angles, the included space forming the compluvium. This kind of atrium was the most ancient of all.
  • b. Tetrastylum. This was of the same form as the preceding, except that the main beams of the roof were supported by pillars, placed at the four angles of the impluvium.
  • c. Corinthium was on the same principle as the tetrastyle, only that there were a greater number of pillars around the impluvium, on which the beams of the roof rested.
  • d. Displuviatum had its roof sloping the contrary way to the compluvium, so that the water fell outside the house instead of being carried into the impluvium, and was carried off by gutters.
  • e. Testudinatum was constructed in the same way as the displuviatum, but it was roofed all over and had no compluvium. We are not informed, however, how light was admitted into an atrium of this kind.

The atrium, as we have already seen, was originally the only room of the house, serving as sitting-room, bedroom, and kitchen, which it probably continued to do among the lower classes even in later times (Serv. ad Verg. Aen. i. 726Verg. Aen., ix. 648). Here was the focus, or hearth, which served not only for cooking, but from its sacred character was used also for the receptacle of the Lares or Penates that were sometimes kept in little cupboards near the hearth (Plaut. Aul. ii. 18, 15; Tibull. i. 10, 20; Juv. viii. 110; Petron. 29). The Lar, or tutelary god of the house, stood close to the entrance behind the door leading into the atrium (Ovid, Fast. i. 136 foll.); and we find him so placed in some of the Pompeian houses. Near the sacred flame the members of the family took the common meal, and the same custom continued in the country even in the time of Augustus (Hor. Sat. ii. 6, 65 foll.). In the atrium the master of the house kept his arca (q. v.), or money-chest, which was fastened to the floor. Here stood the nuptial bed (lectus genialis) against the back wall, opposite the entrance to the atrium, whence it was also called lectus adversus (Gell. xvi. 9). Here sat the mistress of the house, spinning and weaving with her maids (Liv. i. 57, 9). Here all visits were paid and here the patron received his clients (Plin. Ep. i. 5, 31). Here the corpse was placed before it was carried out to burial. (See Funus.) Here, in the alae, were placed the waxen imagines (q. v.) of the ancestors of the house.

But as wealth increased, and numerous clients came to wait upon their patron, new rooms were built, and the atrium ceased to be the only room for the family. A kitchen (culina) was made for cooking; the Lares were placed in a special lararium; the meals were taken in the upper story, hence called cenaculum; the master and mistress slept in a separate cubiculum. As the atrium now became the reception-room, it was fitted up among the wealthy with much splendour and magnificence for the reception of their clients. The opening in the roof was enlarged for the admission

Section of a Roman House. (From Von Falke's
Hellas und Rom.

of more light, and was supported by pillars frequently made of costly marble. Between the pillars and along the walls, statues and other works of art were placed (Verr. i. 23, 61). In the middle of the impluvium was a marble fountain, with jets of water, frequently adorned with reliefs, of which many beautiful specimens have been found at Pompeii. Near the fountain, where the hearth formerly stood, was a marble table, called cartibulum (q.v.). The atrium, however, still continued, as in ancient times, to be the chief room of the house, and it was not only the room for the reception of guests, but its primitive character was preserved by its retaining the symbolical nuptial couch (Plin. Ep. i. 1, 87), the imagines of the ancestors, and the instruments for weaving and spinning.

The rooms which opened out of the atrium were lighted only through the compluvium, as there were no windows, as a general rule, upon the ground-floor.

4. Alae

Alae, wings, were two small quadrangular apartments or recesses on the left and right sides of the atrium (Vitruv. vi. 4), but at its farther end and open to the atrium, as we see in the Pompeian houses. Here the imagines were kept in the houses of the nobles. But as the alae were really a part of the atrium, the imagines were frequently described as standing in the atrium (Juv.viii. 19 foll.; Plin. H. N. xxxv. 6; Ovid, Fast. i. 591; Marquardt, Privatl. p. 235).

5. Tablinum

Tablinum was in all probability a recess or room at the farther end of the atrium opposite the door leading into the hall, and was regarded as part of the atrium. It contained the family records and archives (Vitruv. vi. 4 and 8). It appears, from the houses of Pompeii, to have been separated not by a door, but simply by a curtain or velum, while it had a door at the back leading into the peristylium. Marquardt supposes that the tablinum was originally an alcove made of wood (whence its name) built at the back of the atrium, in which meals were taken during the summer, and was afterwards joined to the atrium by breaking through the walls of the latter.

With the tablinum the Roman house appears to have originally ceased, the sleeping-rooms being arranged on the upper floor. But when the atrium and its surrounding rooms were used for the reception of clients and other public visitors, it became necessary to increase the size of the house, and the following rooms were accordingly added:

6. Fauces

Fauces was a passage by the side of the tablinum, which passed from the atrium to the peristylium, or open court, as we see in the Pompeian houses. We must not suppose, however, that the plural indicates two passages (Vitruv. vi. 4).

7. Peristylium

Peristylium was in its general form like the atrium, but it was one third greater in breadth, measured transversely, than in length (Vitruv. vi. 4); but we do not find these proportions preserved in the Pompeian houses. It was a court open to the sky in the middle; the open part, which was surrounded by columns, had a fountain in the centre, and was planted with flowers, shrubs, and trees forming a viridarium. The atrium and peristylium were the two important parts of a Roman house.

The arrangement of the rooms leading out of the peristylium, which are next to be noticed, varied, as has been remarked, according to the taste and circumstances of the owner. It is therefore impossible to assign to them any regular place in the house.

(a) Cubicula, bed-chambers, appear to have been usually small. There were separate cubicula for the day and night (cubicula diurna et nocturna, Plin. Ep. i. 3); the latter were also called dormitoria, and were mostly on the upper floor (id. v. 6, 21). Vitruvius (vi. 7) recommends that they should face the east for the benefit of the rising sun. They sometimes had a small ante-room, which was called by the Greek name of προκοιτών, in which the cubicularius, or valet, probably slept (Plin. Ep. ii. 17Plin. Ep., 23). In some of the Pompeian houses we find a recess in which the bed was placed. This recess was called zotheca or zothecula.

(b) Triclinia, dining-rooms, are treated of in a separate article. See Triclinium.

(c) Oeci, from the Greek οἶκος, were spacious halls or saloons borrowed from the Greeks, and were frequently used as triclinia. (Cf. Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 184.) They were to have the same proportions as triclinia, but were to be more spacious on account of having columns, which triclinia had not (Vitruv. vi. 5). Vitruvius mentions four kinds of oeci:

α) The Tetrastyle, which needs no further description. Four columns supported the roof.

β) The Corinthian, which possessed only one row of columns, supporting the architrave (epistylium), cornice (corona), and a vaulted roof.

c) The Egyptian, which was more splendid and more like a basilica than a Corinthian triclinium. In the Egyptian oecus, the pillars supported a gallery with paved floor, which formed a walk round the apartment; and upon these pillars others were placed, a fourth part less in height than the lower, which surrounded the roof. Between the upper columns windows were inserted.

d) The Cyzicene (Κυζικηνός) appears in the time of Vitruvius to have been seldom used in Italy. These were meant for summer use, looking to the north, and if possible facing gardens, to which they opened by folding-doors. Pliny had oeci of this kind in his villa.

(e) Exedrae, which appear to have been in form much the same as the oeci, for Vitruvius (vi. 5) speaks of the exedrae in connection with oeci quadrati, were rooms for conversation and the other purposes of society (De Nat. Deor. i. 6, 15). They served the same purpose as the exedrae in the Thermae and Gymnasia, which were semicircular rooms with seats for philosophers and others to converse in. See Balneae.

(f, g, h) Pinacotheca, Bibliotheca, and Balineum (see Balneae), are treated of in separate articles.

8. Culina

Culina, the kitchen.—The food was originally cooked in the atrium, as has been already stated, but the progress of refinement afterwards led to the use of another part of the house for this purpose. In the kitchen of Pansa's house, of which a restoration is given below, a stove for stews and similar preparations was found, very much like the charcoal stoves used in the present day. Before it lie a knife, a strainer, and a kind of fryingpan with four spherical cavities, as if it were meant to cook eggs.

Culina, or Kitchen, in Pansa's House.

In this kitchen, as well as in many others at Pompeii, there are paintings of the Lares and Penates, to whom the hearth in the atrium was sacred, and under whose care the kitchen was also placed (Arnob. ii. 67). In the country the meals were taken in the kitchen, as they were in ancient times in the atrium (Colum. i. 6). The kitchen was in the back part of the house, and in connection with it was the pistrinum, or bake-house, where bread was baked at home (Varr. ap. Non. p. 55, 18); but after B.C. 171 there were public bake-houses in Rome. (See Pistor.) In Pompeii have been found sinks of kitchens, called confluvia (Varr. ap. Non. p. 544, 20) or coquinae fusoria (Pallad. R. R. i. 37).

In close and inconvenient proximity to the kitchen was the latrina, or privy, in order that a common drain might carry off the contents of both to the cloaca or public sewer (Varr. l. c.; Colum. x. 85; cf. Plaut. Curc. iv. 4, 24; Suet. Tib. 58; Met. i. c. 17, p. 15). In many of the Pompeian houses we find the latrina contiguous to the kitchen, as is shown in the annexed cut from the house

Culina and Latrina in the House of Sallust. (Gell,
, p. 107.)

of On the right are two small arches, which are the kitchen stove. On the left is an arched recess, which is the latrina. At the bottom is the mouth of a pipe supplying it with water.

9. Cenacula

Cenacula, or rooms in the upper stories, have been already explained.

10. Lararium

Lararium or Sacrarium.—The Lares or Penates were originally placed near the hearth of the house in the atrium, but when the latter became only a reception-room they were removed to a special chapel, called Lararium (Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 29, 31) or Sacrarium (ad Fam. xiii. 2), in which statues of other divinities were also placed. Such a chapel is found in the peristylium of many of the Pompeian houses.

11. Diaeta

Diaeta does not denote any particular kind of room, but is a word borrowed from the Greek (δίαιτα) to signify a room used for any of the purposes of life (Plin. Ep. ii. 17, 12). Thus it denotes a bed-chamber (Plin. Ep. vi. 16, 14), a dining-room (Sidon. Apoll. Ep. ii. 2), a summer-house or a room in a garden (Plin. Ep. ii. 17, 20; Dig. 7, 1, 66.1; Orelli, Inscr. 4373, etc.). It is also the collective name of a set of chambers. Thus Pliny speaks ( H. N. v. 6 H. N., 31) of two diaetae, in one of which were four bed-chambers and in another three.

12. Solarium

Solarium, literally a place for basking in the sun, denotes a terrace on the flat roof of a house, frequently used by the Romans, as is still the case in Italy and the East (Isid. xv. 3, 12; Plaut. Mil. Glor. ii. 3, 69; ii. 4, 25; Claud. 10). In the time of the emperors these solaria on the tops of houses were turned into gardens, which contained even fruit-trees and fish-ponds (Plin. Ep. 122). Somewhat similar were the solaria built by Nero on the colonnades in front of the insulae and domus (Suet. Ner. 16). Sometimes the solaria were covered by a roof (Orelli, Inscr. 2417).

13. Cellae servorum, familiares

Cellae servorum, familiares or familiaricae, the small bedrooms of the slaves, were usually situated in the upper story, as in the house of Pansa at Pompeii, or in the back of the house, with the exception of the cella of the house-porter, which naturally was close to the front door (Colum. i. 6; Cic. Phil. ii. 27, 67; Hor. Sat. i. 8, 8).

Cella also denoted the store-room, of which there were several, bearing various names, according to their contents. Of these an account is given under Cella.

Cellars underground and vaulted are rarely mentioned (hypogea concamerationesque, Vitruv. vi. [8] 11), though several have been found at Pompeii.

V. Some Existing Remains of Roman Houses

The oldest remains of a house in Rome are those of the Regia, which was the residence of the Pontifex Maximus and built on the site of the house occupied by Numa. It stood at the southeast limits of the Forum, adjoining the House of the Vestal Virgins. (See Dio Cass. xliii. 42, xliv. 17; Gell. iv. 6.) Another house which is also of interest from its early date is that known as “the House of Livia” or “of Germanicus,” which is built in a hollow in the northwestern part of the Palatine Hill. That it is probably not later in date than the time of Augustus is shown by the construction of its walls, which are formed of concrete faced with very neat opus reticulatum of tufa, no brick being used. The figure below shows its plan, which, owing to the irregularity of the site, is at two different levels, the small rooms grouped round the staircase F being at a much higher level than the larger rooms by the atrium: the stairs D lead from the atrium up to the higher floor behind. The main entrance is at B, approached down a short flight of steps. C C are pedestals for a statue and an altar; E E are bedrooms; G is a narrow crypto-porticus, which branches out of H, another dark passage, forming hidden communications with different buildings on this part of the Palatine. A is a third vaulted passage which leads to Caligula's palace; this is possibly the path by which Caligula's murderers escaped when they hid themselves in the house of Germanicus (Joseph. Ant. Iud. xix. 1, 2; Calig. 58).

The paintings in the principal rooms of this house are among the finest examples of Roman wall decoration that still exist. See Renier, Les Peintures du Palatin.

The floors are formed of marble mosaic in simple geometrical patterns, very neatly fitted together,

Plan of the so-called House of Livia. Passage. Stairs. C C. Pedestals for statues. D. Stairs. E E. Bedrooms. F. Stairs. G. Crypto-Porticus. H. Crypto-Porticus. Q. Piscina. J K L M. Bath-rooms. N N. Shops. O O. Street. P. Early Building.

with much smaller tesserae than were used under the later Empire.

On the upper floor a long passage, approached by the staircase D, divides the house into two parts. J K L M seem to be small bath-rooms. N N are shops with no communication with the house, facing a public street, O O. At P are remains of a very ancient tufa building. Q is a piscina, which seems partly to have supplied the house with water. A number of inscribed lead pipes were found, but these were of later date than the house itself; water was laid on to the upper as well as to the ground floors.

In 1874, remains of a very interesting house of the time of Augustus were found on the Esquiline Hill, not far from the Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore. From its position on the line of the Servian wall and agger, it has been called “the House of Maecenas,” who lived in that quarter, where he converted the public burial-ground into a large park (Hor. Sat. i. 8, 14). One fine room of this house, still well preserved, is of especial interest. It appears to have been a sort of greenhouse for plants and flowers, and is a large vaulted chamber, with a semicircular apse at one end. All round the walls are tiers of high steps once lined with marble, intended to form stands for rows of flower-pots—arranged exactly as in a modern conservatory. Prof. Mohr (Bull. Inst. Arch. for 1875) has pointed out that the cultivation of shrubs and flowers in this way was largely practised by the Romans. On each side of the hall are six recesses, decorated with paintings of garden scenes, with fountains among the flowers, treated in a skilfully deceptive way, so as to look as if each recess were a window opening upon a real garden. The light was admitted only through openings in the barrel-vault of the hall, on which were paintings of similar floral subjects—a remarkable example of the theatrical scene-painter's style of decoration which was popular among the Romans.

The House of Sallust, the historian, was one of the finest houses in Rome. It had, like the House of Maecenas, extensive gardens, whence the residence was frequently called Horti Sallustiani. So large were the gardens that the emperor Aurelian, who preferred living there to the Palatine, erected in them a colonnade 1000 paces long, in which he took horse exercise. Part of this house still exists in the narrow valley between the Pincian and Quirinal Hills, near the Porta Collina in the Servian wall. The following figure shows the plan of the existing remains, which will be soon destroyed by the filling up of the valley where the building stands to make new boulevards—a most serious loss. The circular part A is a lofty domed hall; B B is a balconylike gallery, supported on corbels, which runs round the outside of the main building, at a height of about forty feet above the ground; C is a fine vaulted room, with two stories over it; D D is a retaining wall, built against the scarped face of the cliff to keep the crumbling tufa rock from decay; E E are rooms in four or five

House of Sallust in Rome.

stories, some with concrete and others with wooden floors; F are winding marble-lined stairs, with mosaic landings, which led to the top of the house and the rooms on the higher level of the hill. This part is still about seventy feet high. G is another marble-lined staircase. A great part of the house is still unexcavated. The date of the existing portion is of the first century A.D., and is evidently part of additions made by the early emperors. In the sixteenth century an immense quantity of valuable marbles, including magnificent columns of Oriental alabaster and Numidian stone, were found in the ruins of Sallust's house and used to decorate several of the churches of Rome.

VI. Pompeian Houses

Though of course less magnificent than the palaces of Rome, the houses of Pompeii, from their exceptionally perfect state of preservation, are of especial value as examples of Roman domestic architecture, and have the advantage of being in most cases of known date. Few are older than the Christian era, and none of course are later than A.D. 79, when the city was overwhelmed by the eruption of Vesuvius. The existing remains show us, as a rule, only the ground-floor of each house; and it should be remembered that a number of the best rooms—especially, there is reason to believe, the bedrooms and the women's apartments—were on the upper floors. The presence of stairs in apparently all the houses proves that one-storied buildings were practically unknown in Pompeii; the few fragments of the upper story which have been found standing show that, in some cases at least, the

Atrium of the House of the Quaestor. (Pompeii.)

upper part of the house was partly constructed of wood, and was arranged so as to project beyond the line of the lower story, very like the half-timbered houses of England and France in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

In one respect the Pompeian arrangement resembled that of mediæval and modern Italy; that is, the street-front on the ground-floor, even of large and handsome houses, was usually occupied by a row of shops. In some cases these shops have no doorway or passage communicating with the main house, and were probably rented by the owner to independent tradesmen; in others the shops could be entered from the house, and in these cases we may suppose that the shops were managed by the slaves or clients of the house-owner.

The accompanying plan shows a small shop, to which is joined the residence of its owner,

Plan of House with Shop.

forming a small block independent of the adjoining larger house.
  • 1. An open archway, in which a wooden shopfront was fitted; the threshold of this opening is rebated to receive the wooden partition, part of which was hinged so as to form a narrow door; the upper part would be closed at night by flap-shutters hinged at the top, an arrangement very like that of a modern Oriental bazaar. This method of constructing shop-fronts was very common, not only in Pompeii, but in Rome and elsewhere. The presence of a shop appears always to be indicated by this long grooved sill, with marks of the hinged door on one side. A large number of examples still exist in Rome. The L-shaped counter
  • 2. is formed of concrete and brick stuccoed; in it are inserted a row of amphorae, apparently for the reception of hot food or drink of some kind. At one end is a charcoal stove
  • 3.; 5, 5 are the dining-room and store-room of the shopkeeper; 4 is the staircase leading to the sleeping apartments. The whole forms a complete house of the smallest type.

The two illustrations annexed represent two atria of houses at Pompeii. The first is the atrium of what is usually called the “House of the Quaestor.” The view is taken near the entrance-hall facing the tablinum, through which the columns of the peristyle and the garden are seen. This atrium, which is a specimen of what Vitruvius calls the Corinthian, is surrounded by various rooms, and is beautifully painted with arabesque designs upon red and yellow grounds.

The next illustration represents the atrium of what is usually called the “House of Ceres.” In

Atrium of the House of Ceres. (Restoration.)

the centre is the impluvium; and, as there are no pillars around the impluvium, this atrium must belong to the kind called by Vitruvius the “Tuscan.”

The three following plans are good typical examples of the best class of houses in Pompeii. The first is popularly known as “the House of the Tragic Poet.”

House of the Tragic Poet.

Like most of the other houses at Pompeii, it had no vestibulum according to the meaning which we

Pompeian Mosaic. (Overbeck.)

have attached to the word. The ostium, or entrancehall, which is six feet wide, is nearly thirty long—a length occasioned by the shops on each side. Near the street-door there is a figure of a large fierce dog worked in mosaic on the pavement, and beneath it is written Cave Canem, as here shown. The two large rooms on each side of the vestibule appear from the large openings in front of them to have been shops; they communicate with the entrance-hall, and were therefore probably occupied by the master of the house. The atrium is about twenty-eight feet in length and twenty in breadth; its impluvium is near the centre of the room, and its floor is paved with white tesserae, spotted with black. On the left-hand corner of the atrium is a small room (marked 1 in plan), perhaps the cella of the ostiarius, with a staircase leading to the upper rooms. On each side of the atrium are chambers for the use of the family or intended for the reception of guests, who were entitled to claim hospitality. When a house did not possess a hospitium (q. v.), or rooms expressly for the reception of guests, they appear to have been lodged in rooms attached to the atrium. At the farther end of the atrium is the tablinum, with the fauces, or passage, at the side, leading into the peristylium, with Doric columns and garden (viridarium). The large room on the right of the peristyle is the triclinium; beside it is the kitchen, with a latrina.

The second illustration contains the groundplan of an insula surrounded by shops, which belonged to the owner and were let by him. The house itself, which is usually called the “House of Pansa,” evidently belonged to one of the principal men of Pompeii. Including the garden, which

Ground-plan of an Insula, known as the House of Pansa.

is a third of the whole length, it is about 300 feet long and 100 wide.

Ostium, or entrance-hall, paved with mosaic. Tuscan atrium. I. Impluvium. C. Chambers on each side of the atrium, probably for the reception of guests. D. Ala. E. Tablinum, which is open to the peristylium, so that the whole length of the house could be seen at once; but as there is a passage (fauces), F, beside it, the tablinum might probably be closed at the pleasure of the owner. C. Chambers by the fauces and tablinum, of which the use is uncertain. G. Peristylium. D. Recesses in the peristylium. C. Cubicula by the side of the peristylium. K. Triclinium. L. Oecus, and by its side there is a passage leading from the peristylium to the garden. M. Back door (posticum ostium) to the street. N. Culina. H. Servants' hall, with a back door to the street. P. Portico of two stories, which proves that the house had an upper floor. The site of the staircase, however, is unknown, though it is thought there is some indication of one in the passage M. Q. The garden. R. Reservoir for supplying a tank,

The preceding rooms belonged exclusively to Pansa's house; but there were a good many apartments besides in the insula, which were not in his occupation: a. Six shops let out to tenants. Those on the right and left hand corners were bakers' shops, which contained mills, ovens, etc., at b. The one on the right appears to have been a large establishment, as it contains many rooms. c. Two houses of a very mean class, having formerly an upper story. On the other side are two houses much larger, d.

VII. General Details of Roman Houses

1. Walls.

The wall (paries) in earlier times was made of some easily worked stone, such as tufa or peperino in large square blocks; or for the best houses unburnt brick was used. In the time of Augustus concrete began to be the chief building material, and later kiln-dried bricks. The inner walls were originally whitewashed (see Dealbatores), and later were covered with stucco (opus albarium). The plain surface of the walls was broken by quadrangular panels, called abaci (Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 159; xxxv. 3Plin. H. N., 32). (See, also, Abacus.) In the second century B.C., the practice was introduced from Greece of painting these panels with an endless variety of figures, landscapes, buildings, gardens, etc., of which we have numerous examples in the existing remains of houses in Rome and Pompeii. See Pictura.

In addition to painting, other methods of decoration were used: in Rome especially the chief way of ornamenting the rooms of the best houses was by lining the walls with slabs of sawn marble, moulded into a skirting below and a cornice above. Great magnificence of effect was produced by the skilful admixture of marbles of different rich colours, the moulded part being usually of a deeper tint than the flat surfaces. In the most careful work these marble linings were fastened to the walls by bronze clamps, but more often the slabs were simply attached by a thick bedding of cement behind them (Plin. Ep. 86.4).

Another very rich method of decoration was the application of stucco reliefs enriched with gold and colours. A third system, applied also to vaults, was to encrust the walls with mosaics,

Specimen of Decorative Wall-painting at Pompeii. (Reber.)

chiefly made of glass tesserae of the most brilliant jewel-like colours. See Musivum Opus.

In fact, splendour of effect and a brilliant ensemble were the characteristics of Roman house-decoration from the Augustan era down to later times.

2. Roofs.

The roofs (tecta) of Roman houses were in the oldest times covered with straw. Next came the use of shingles for the roofing of houses, which continued down to the time of the war with Pyrrhus (Plin. H. N. xvi. 36). Subsequently clay tiles, called tegulae and imbrices, superseded the shingles. The roofs of houses were sometimes flat, but they were also gabled (pectenata) like modern houses. These were of two kinds, the tecta pectenata, sloping two ways, and the tecta testudinata, sloping four ways ( Fest. p. 213, M). Both kinds of roofs were displuviata—that is, sloping towards the street—and the houses had around

Roof in Peristyle of the House of C. Vibius. (Overbeck.)

them an ambitus, or vacant space of 2 1/2 feet, to receive the rain-water running off the roofs. The projecting eaves of roofs were called suggrundae. The gabled roofs rose to a point called fastigium (q. v.). For the most magnificent buildings, such as some of the imperial palaces, the roofs were covered with tiles made of white marble, or even with bronze tiles plated with gold. For further details, see Tegula.

3. Floors.

The floor (solum) of a room was seldom boarded (strata solo tabulata, Stat. Silv. i. 5, 57), except in the upper stories. The floor on the ground-floor was usually of stone, and, in the case of common houses, consisted of small pieces of stone, brick, tiles, etc. (ruderatio, opus ruderatum), beaten down (pavita) with a rammer (fistuca), whence the word pavimentum became the general name for a floor (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 185 foll.). Sometimes the floors were paved with thin slabs of richly-coloured marbles, brought from Northern Africa, Arabia, or Greece (Tibull. iii. 3, 16; Plin. Ep. 86Plin. Ep., 6; Pallad. i. 9), and still more frequently with mosaics (opus musivum). See Pavimentum and Musivum Opus.

In Rome and other parts of Italy, owing to the wonderful strength of the pozzolana, the upper floors of houses were very frequently made of concrete cast in one great slab on temporary boarding, fixed at the required level. This set into one compact mass, like a piece of solid stone. On this, mosaic and other paving was laid, as on the ground-floors.

4. Ceilings.

Ceilings were very commonly semicircular or “barrel” vaults (camarae), decorated with stucco reliefs, mosaics, or painting. (See Camara.) The extrados of the vault was filled in level with concrete to form the floor above. Wooden ceilings and flat concrete ceilings were decorated in the same way. One common method of ceiling decoration, applied both to brick and concrete or to wooden ceilings, was to divide the whole area into a number of deeply sunk panels, like pits or lakes (lacus, lacunae), whence they were called lacunaria or laquearia. These were richly ornamented, either by stucco reliefs gilt and coloured, or, in the case of wooden ceilings, by inlaid work of ivory, ebony, or other precious materials as well as by paintings. In a few cases the “coffers” were covered with enriched bronze plates, thickly gilt.

5. Windows.

The Roman houses had few windows (fenestrae). The atrium and peristylium were lighted, as we have seen, from above, and the smaller rooms leading out of them generally derived their light from them and not from windows looking into the street. The rooms only on the upper stories (cenacula) seem to have been usually lighted by windows, and looked out upon the street as well as the inner courts. Hence they are frequently mentioned by the ancient writers (Livy, i. 41Livy, xxiv. 21; Hor. Carm. i. 25; Propert. iv. [v.], 7, 16; Juv.iii. 270). In Pompeii, in like manner, the ground-floor rooms were mostly lighted from the inner courts, so that few lower windows opened on the street. There is an exception to this in the “House of the Tragic Poet,” which has six windows on the ground-floor. Even in this case, however, the windows are not near the ground, as in a modern house, but are six feet six inches above the foot-pavement, which is raised one foot seven inches above the centre of the street. The windows are small, being hardly three feet by two; and at the side there is a wooden frame, in which the window or shutter might be moved backwards or forwards. The lower part of the wall is occu

Pompeian Fenestra or Window. (Overbeck.)

pied by a row of red panels four feet and a half high. The following illustration represents part of the wall, with the apertures for windows above it, as it appears from the street. The tiling upon the wall is modern, and is only placed there to preserve it from the weather.

Wall with Apertures for the Windows in a House at Pompeii.

There has been much discussion whether glass windows were known to the ancients; but in the excavations at Pompeii many fragments of flat glass have been discovered, and in the tepidarium of the public baths a bronze lattice was found with some of the panes still inserted in the frame (Gell, Pompeiana, i. p. 99). (See Vitrum.) Besides glass, other transparent substances were also used, such as talc, the lapis specularis of Pliny. Windows made of this were called specularia (Plin. Ep. 90, 25).

6. Doors.

The subject of doors, with their locks and keys, is discussed under Ianua and Clavis. It is only necessary to mention here that many of the rooms in Roman houses had no doors, but only curtains, vela, aulaea, centones (Plin. Ep. 80; Plin. Ep. ii. 17; Petron. 7; Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 4, Heliog. 14). Sometimes, when there were doors, curtains were also drawn across them. See Velum.

7. The Heating of Houses.

The rooms were heated in winter in different ways. The cubicula, triclinia, and other rooms which were intended for winter use, were built in that part of the house upon which the sun shone most; and in the mild climate of Italy this frequently enabled them to dispense with any artificial mode of warming the rooms. Rooms exposed to the sun in this way were sometimes called heliocamini (Plin. Ep. ii. 17, 20; Dig. 8, 2, 17). The rooms were occasionally heated by hot air, which was introduced by means of pipes from a furnace below (Plin. Ep. ii. 17Plin. Ep., v. 6, 24; Plin. Ep. 90), but more frequently in earlier times by portable furnaces or braziers (foculi), in

Bronze Braziers from Pompeii. (Overbeck.)

which charcoal was burned. (See Focus.) The caminus, however, was a fixed stove, in which wood appears to have been usually burned (Vitell. 8; Hor. Sat. i. 5, 81; Ep. i. 11 Ep., 19; Ad Fam. vii. 10; Sidon. Apoll. Ep. ii. 2). It has been a subject of much dispute among modern writers whether the Romans had chimneys for carrying off the smoke, except in the baths and kitchens. From many passages in ancient writers it certainly appears that rooms usually had no chimneys, but that the smoke escaped through the windows, doors, and openings in the roof (Vitruv. vii. 3, 4); but chimneys do not appear to have been entirely unknown to the ancients, as some have been found in the ruins of ancient buildings, and it is impossible to believe that among a luxurious people like the Romans in imperial times, they were unacquainted with the use of chimneys.

8. The water supply

The water supply of a good Roman house was very complete; in towns the main usually ran under the pavement in the middle of the street, and from it “rising mains” branched off to the houses right and left, and often were carried to the upper stories, where a cistern supplied the fountainjets (salientes) and other purposes below. For further details on the water-supply, see Aquae Ductus.

VIII. Bibliography

Becker-Göll, Gallus, ii. pp. 213 foll.; Marquardt, Privatl. pp. 208 foll.; Guhl and Koner, pp. 462 foll., 5th ed.; Hirt, Gesch. d. Baukunst, iii. pp. 267 foll.; Fergusson, Hist. of Arch. i. pp. 363 foll.; Burn, Rome, pp. lxvii. foll.; Friedländer, Sittengesch. i. pp. i. foll., pp. 26 foll.; Ménard, La Vie Privée des Anciens (Paris, 1880-83); Zumpt, Ueber die bauliche Einrichtung des röm. Wohnhauses (Berlin, 1844); Mazois, Le Palais de Scaurus (Paris, 1859). Although a large number of well-illustrated works on Pompeii have been recently published, they have by no means superseded the earlier ones, which describe a great deal that is now lost; this is specially the case with Sir William Gell's valuable Pompeiana (London, 1824); and second part (London, 1832). The objects discovered are well illustrated by Pistolesi, Real Museo Borbonico (1824-67). Dyer's Ruins of Pompeii (London, 1867) is a convenient hand-book. Niccolini and others, Le Case di Pompeii (Naples, 1854-84), is a valuable work, which gives recent discoveries. A very splendidly illustrated work is the Recueil des Peintures, etc., de Pompéi (Paris, 1870-77). See also Zahn, Die schönsten Ornamente aus Pompeji (Berlin, 1827-59); Mazois and Gau, Les Ruines de Pompéi (Paris, 1824- 38); Ternite, Wandgemälde aus Pompeji (Berlin, no date); Presuhn, Les Décorations de Pompéi (Leipzig, 1878); Man's edition of Overbeck's Pompeji (Leipzig, 1884); and Nissen, Pompejanische Studien (Leipzig, 1877). Reference may be made to the extensive bibliography at the end of the article Pompeii in this Dictionary. Middleton, in his Ancient Rome in 1888, and Remains of Ancient Rome (London, 1892), gives some account of existing houses in Rome.

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