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Architecture in Antiquity

Town-planning in Antiquity
Fortifications in Antiquity
Palaces and theatres in Antiquity
Public buildings in Antiquity
Sanctuaries in Antiquity
Houses in Antiquity
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'The House of Dionysos'
The Hellenistic 'House of Dionysos' with its mosaic floors, late 4th century BC, Pella.

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'The House of Dionysos'
Pella, 4th century BC

The rectangular, usually two-roomed dwellings of the earliest years (Dispilio at Kastoria, Sitagroi, Dikili-Tas at Drama), evolved into small ground-floor 'oikiai' (houses) built of flimsy materials (unbaked bricks with wooden ties).

The living quarters of ancient Greek houses ( 'gynaikonites' - quarters for women, and 'andron' - quarters for men ) and the utility rooms ('optaneion' - kitchen, and 'balaneion' - bathroom) communicated through an antechamber or corridor, called 'pastas', with a stone-paved courtyard, the 'aithrion'. The application of the Hippodameian system, with its equal-sized blocks of houses, allowed private houses greater size, comforts and luxury (Olynthos, late 5th-4th century BC).

In the aftermath of Alexander's campaign, with changing social and economic conditions, luxurious two-storey private houses were built, decorated with flooring of artistic mosaic compositions (Pella) and multicolored plasterwork imitating marble (Amphipolis). When the Antigonids founded new cities (e.g. Petres), traditional shapes of houses continued to be used (narrow fronted, or L-shaped wide fronted).

In the Roman period, houses built by the privileged urban class (Dion, Thessalonike) followed the Hellenistic tradition and had ornate mosaics with geometric and mythological motifs (Dionysos and Ariadne, theatrical masks etc.), adapting on a lesser scale and with less magnificence the architectural principles of the large public buildings (palaces, baths).

See Also
Civilization - Coinage and pottery (565-867)
Coins (1204-1430)
Travelling - Ancient Pella
Dion
Ancient Thessalonike
Amphipolis


Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.