March 16 notes
Houses and palaces of the Hellenistic period
- Very few published Hellenistic houses. Usually removed to get to other earlier buildings. So
publications usually on classical or archaic houses. So Hellenistic remains often an after thought.
- Very few domestic remains have been published from major sites like Antioch, Seleucia, and so
on. Theyre all still thriving cities, many of them have persisted through history so those later
remains have obscured. Despite problems, Hellenistic houses have been excavated, at pella,
Priene, and delos.
- Olynthus, Chalcidice. is dated to close to alexanders death. They do strattle classical and
Hellenistic period. the essential plan of Hellenistic houses compared to classical ones. Principal
changes lay in the increase scale and more elaborate decorations of the houses of the
wealthiest sectors of society.
o Best studied site is Olynthus, excavations shows some 100 houses. Remains of them
have been fully published. Olynthus sites on two flat top hills, city is in the chacidice,
southeast maceodnina. True city in 5 century bc, through 4 century sees continued
expensioon due to calchidian league. At this time the second hill is inhabited. City made
according to grid plan.
o In the 4 century, becomes leader of the chalcidian league, soon after comes into
conflict with Macedonia. By now, Macedonia is a major player. Philip II decreed not
enough room for both to exists, layed siege, captured it, soled everyone into slavery, a
lesson for other greek polis who opposed him. So city is abandoned, never built upon
o The settlement also gave info on how greeks lived and used domestic spaces. Although
most were looted after the siege, obejcts like vases, terracotta figures, ground stone
tools, were left. This shed much light on greek domestic practices. Were found in sitou,
where there were used and stored. Which is why site is important.
o All the houses were called courtyard houses, because they organized in part around a
courtyard. In all of the houses, had a main wall that separates house from street, all the
rooms faces inward and they don’t posses a view to the outside. As such, late classical
house was very private. In terms of construction, wre made from mudbrick on stone
foundation,. Timber framework for 2 story and roof, covered in twerracotta tiles.
o Most houses used to have the same type of spaces. All organized around central
courtyard, usually in southern part of house. North side of courtyard, a long portico,
identified as a pastas, and all it does is a long arranged internal porch.
o Here, the courtyards made like mortars, olive presses. Most courtyards had stacks of
lumeweights, where you did weaving. Its an area of industry.
o Other rooms open onto courtyard or pastas. One room on eastern side, connected to
pastas room, and that is the storage area.
o They had latrines, bathrooms. Some had clay bathtubs. Water channeled from springs
or came from a household sister. Bathrooms and kitchens closely connected to share
water. Most houses were also furnished with an andron. An andron is a mans room. 7 to
8 could be accommodated. Off-center doorways. These rooms were regarded as
important rooms in the house, tended to be the best decorated. If any room had
plastered walls would be in here. Some wals had painted plaster in bright red, whites,
blacks, yellows. Andrones floor often had durabkle and water proof mortar surface with
a raised yellow border, which marked the position of couches, which also tells us
number of people and couches. o Some had pebble mosaics. (pebbles and mortar)
▪ Bellerophon mosaic, house 26, 400BC.
o The hard surface made it easy to clean. Means few precious objects left. Do have texts
and images suggest the andrones was to serve as the place where the symposion took
place. These were central element to social lives of greek men. an all male drinking
party. They would recline on couches, drink wine, talk about the day, philosopher etc.
o Adrones were accessed by anteroom, also highly decorated. This room was to isolate
the andron. It’s the only room that doesn’t open or connect to courtyard or pastas.
Doors are at right angles into the room. The andrones of many houses had stone
thresholds, for stone doors, no sound or site. Meant to be kept separate from other
things in the house, meant to provide privacy. Instensiley private space.
o Andron gives close setting to entertain visitors. But also played another role, a place
more gracious and pleasing to spend time in compared to othe rooms. The decorations
also a way to send a message to visitors. Relatively costly, precense in one room meant
they could Offord stuff that wasn’t functional.
o Were not the largest greek houses known.
o Seat of Macedonian kings.
o Here have house of Dionysus, 10x times the house of at Olynthus. Made between 325-
300 BC. Arranged around two, separate open courtyards, colonnaded peristyle.
o North courtyard surrounded by ionic, the south by doric columns
o Rooms surrounding each court different. Rooms around south, relatively large and
square, has mosaic floors. Rooms to north smaller, organized in clusters. Have 2
androns. North part suggests upper storey.
o Think north was domestic, south for entertaining.
o Seems some rooms in southern court area represents comfortable rooms. Maybe
different rooms used for different social events or different stages in an event. Maybe
having more than 1 decorated room for impression on visitors.
o The larger picture, around two courtyards, inhabitants of the house, could reach all the
rooms, so practical. Patterns of access were simple. See intense concern for privacy, can
move through rooms without anyone seeing you.
o The scale, organization, decora