The Roman Atrium House.docx

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Kelly Olson

T HE ROMAN ATRIUM H OUSE Reading: Angela pp. 28-44. Windows • Were small and high up • (Had no windows that locked, against intruders) • sometimes with iron grilles • Measure of security • Rarely glass, window glass is very expensive Upper Floors • Tend not to survive • Mudslides, volcanic ash, collapses • No remains of upper floors from Pompeii Furniture • Sparse • Table, chair, couch • Side boards and cartibulum in atrium • Shelves, chests, and niches for storage (hole in the wall) • No cupboards or closets • Folding stools • Luxury pieces • Textiles now missing: bed coverings, pallets, carpets, curtains and hangings • stools and benches Ritual in The Roman House • Roman bride anointed the doorposts with olive oil and was carried over the threshold • Sacrifices to the lares and penates (the household gods) occurred in the atrium • Children left their childish clothing and toys at the lararium • After a baby was born/ the naming ceremony: these rituals also took place in the atrium • Door wreathed for births or for deaths Status and The Roman House • Visualized wealth and status • Expressed refined taste and living standards (marble, columns, etc) • Atrium and alae contained tokens of the family’s prestige • Lararium symbolized ones lineage • The Roman house also reflected political standing • This in turn enhanced his personal status • Modern separation of public vs. private does not apply • No sharp separation between house and career • Salutatio: doors were kept open • Thus the domus frequentata or “crowded house” was a sign of social status Decor • Decoration of the house had a social function as well as an aesthetic one • Secor as a ‘map’ • = ‘High’and ‘low’areas of the house High Decor • Detailed paintings and mosaics (gladiators, columns, ‘views’) • yellow, red, black (expensive colors) Low Decor • Whitewash • An absence of color or decor • narrow corridors Gender and The House • We hope to find tra
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