Layout of houses
7 Triclinium 8 Tablinum
15 Cucina (kitchen)
- Not everyone could afford to live in a domus or a villa.In the town of Ostia, the acient port of Rome, the most common form of accomodation was an insula (apartment block) - and inside this would be a number of appartments/ cenacula.
rooms in the house
- The atrium originally was the bedroom of the mother of the family in an old Latin household.
- The impluvium was the shallow pool sunk into the floor to catch the rainwater.
- As the centrepiece of the house The atrium was the most lavishly furnished room. Also it contained the little chapel to the ancestral spirits (lararium), the household safe (arca) and sometimes a bust of the master of the house.
The tablinum was the large reception room of the house. It was situated between the atrium and the peristylium.
It was only separated from the atrium by a curtain which could easily be drawn back and toward the peristylium it was separated by a wooden screen or wide doors.
Hence if the doors/screens and curtains of the tablinum were all opened to increase ventilation during a hot day, one could see from the atrium through the tablinum into the peristylium. In the early days, the tablinum would have acted as the study of the head of the family, the paterfamilias
- The triclinium was the Roman dining room. In earlier days the meals were eaten in the atrium, the tablinum, or a dining room above the tablinum, known as the cenaculum.
- But with the introduction of the Greek practice of reclining when eating, the triclinium was set aside as a room especially for dining in.
- In fact, in many houses once would find several triclinia, rooms designated as dining areas, allowing the family a choice of which room to eat in on any particular day.
- The cubiculum was the bedroom of the Roman house.
Those bedrooms situated around the atrium tended to be smaller than those round the peristylium.
- To the Romans these rooms were apparently of less importance than the other rooms of the house.
- The ceilings were vaulted and lower above the bed, often making the room appear a cramped and stuffy place.
- According to the apparent tradition of the Roman house of giving each room a very specific use, the floor mosaics of the cubiculum often clearly marked out the rectangle where the bed was to be placed.
- Sometimes in front of the bedroom there was a small antechamber, the procoeton, where a personal servant would sleep.
- The rich could afford to have a domus (town house)as well as a villa on the coast or in the country to which they could retreat when the city became too hot or overcrowded, particularly in the summer months.
Decorations and furnishes
Decorations were often brightly coloured and either concerned with showing architectural designs or figures from mythology. Themes might often be linked to the room in which the painting appeared.
Furniture in Roman houses was kept as practical as possible. Beds would sometimes also be used in the tricilium for guests to recline on.