). A door; denoting more especially the first entrance
to the house through which one entered from the street. This door was also called by the
, and by the Greeks θύρα αὐλεία,
, etc. The back-door was termed posticum, postica
in Greek, παράθυρος
, and κηπαία
). The doors of the inner apartments were called ostia
, and in Greek μέσαυλοι
, etc. A secret door was styled pseudothyrum
The complete doorway consisted of the four indispensable parts—threshold (limen
, βηλός, ὀυδὸς ὁδός
), lintel (iugumentum, limen superum
), and jambs (postes
). Vitruvius speaks of the jambs as antepagmenta.
For the hinges, see Cardo
door itself was called foris, valva
, and in Greek σανίς, κλισίας, θύρετρον
. It was regularly bivalve or double, and hence spoken
of in the plural.
The threshold 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 (Vitruv. iii. 4). The doors of Greek houses regularly opened
inward, and of Roman houses always so, with the single exception of the house of M. Valerius
Publicola (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxvi. 112
who was exempted from the usual rule as a special honour.
As early as Homer we find mention of a contrivance for bolting or unbolting a door from the
Temple Door. (Roman bas-relief.)
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
), which was the origin of keys, capable of laying hold
of the bolt so as to move it in the manner required (Odyss.
i. 442; iv. 802).
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 prove that among the Greeks and Romans the
art of the locksmith (κλειδοποιός
) approached very nearly to
its present state. See Clavis
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. Hence it was
necessary to remove the bar in order to open the door (reserare
chamber doors were secured in the same manner (Heliodor. vi. 9); and here also, in case of
need, the bar was employed as a further security in addition to the two bolts (Eurip.
Orest. 1551, 1571
; Iph. Aul.
951). Where, as in the case of tyrants, midnight assassination was especially dreaded, we read
of a bedchamber secured with a portcullis (Plut. Arat.
). To fasten the door with the bolt was ianuae pessulum obdere
with the bar, ianuam obserare.
At Athens a jealous husband sometimes even
sealed the door of the women's apartment (Thesm.
1, 11). The door of a bedchamber was occasionally covered with a
). See Domus