Greek and Roman Houses

Greek and Roman Houses

Keywords greek architecture house roman architecture housing

What are the significant ways in which Classical Greek and Roman houses differ What can we learn about their households from these differences

It is important to remember that houses in the Classical and Roman periods need to be analysed carefully Excavations carried out through the ages have had varying degrees of accuracy when interpreting the information that is gleamed from the artefacts Allison describes how items are decontextualized and says that very often sites have been removed from their situations before the context has been properly recorded 2004 4 This needs to be taken into account when we compare houses and their included artefacts and also how we interpret what these things tell us about the contemporary societies While on the subject it is important to account for the fact that some items of less artistic merit may have been removed for museum collections and those that are even less interesting have been left in situ this can provide an unrealistic interpretation of the site

While investigating the different types of housing I will be using several case studies namely for the Roman topic I will be using Pompeii for examples It is also important to remember that we have a lot more standing evidence for Roman housing than we have for the Greek housing In evidence for Greek housing we have mainly floor plans whereas we have preserved sites such as Pompeii and Ostia Italy for the Roman contexts This essay will not cover the remains of the houses but rather what the houses would have been like and will provide a comparison between the standing structures and is not intended to discuss the differences in preservation of the sites

Evidence we have for classical Greek housing is very limited The structures do not survive like the examples we have of Roman houses that still exist Although Pompeii is unusual it means we gain an undisturbed look at a society and can explain a lot about the way of life Unfortunately we do not have many well preserved sites for classical Greek housing so we have to get the information by thorough excavation of sites and extracting the information from the artefacts found One example that is often quoted by historians in studies is Olynthus Ault et al 1999 46 Adrianou 2009 5 This will be covered in this essay along with buildings from Athens Goldberg 1999

As there is less information for Greek housing than there is for Roman making judgements on what the households were like by studying the housing is difficult This essay will address housing from the two periods from the urban settlements of both cultures The focus will be on urban settlements because there has been more research into these areas therefore patterns can be more easily identified and more accurate conclusions may be drawn

Evidence for housing within the Classical and Roman periods is limited as mentioned above however this does not mean that studies have not been carried out and interpretations of the evidence uncovered have been made In Athens a small number of houses that are badly preserved Goldberg 1999 142 have been uncovered and the layout of several buildings have been surmised especially those nearer to the agora Goldberg 1999 142 In parts of Europe which would once have belonged to the Roman Empire there are examples of houses which are better preserved for instance Pompeii which is a beautiful example although not necessarily a typical Roman city This essay is to focus on these areas because they are areas that have been most researched and the discoveries made here have been analysed most thoroughly with reports being published on the findings

In Roman housing when interpreting evidence of the use of rooms it is brought to our attention by Allison 2004 that rooms were labelled as they were excavated in Pompeii This means that the name that has been allocated to these rooms is not necessarily the nomenclature given by contemporarie

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