The Houses of Athens

The Houses of Athens A reconstruction of a craftsman's house from The Greeks documentary

Athenian houses were, for the most part, fairly simple. Many of them would have been attached to workshops and stores, and built around a courtyard in which the family's religious shrine would be set up. A typical house would have had a kitchen, a storage room, an animal shed, possibly a bathroom, and a lounge-type room for men's gatherings. The upstairs rooms (if they had them) would have housed women, children and, if they were reasonably wealthy, slaves. Because of the demand for space there would have been only minor differences in size between a commoner's and an aristocrat's house, though a commoner's house might be home to more than one family as well as his animals (including chickens, goats, donkeys, pigs and cows).

The main difference between the houses of commoners and the houses of aristocrats is that the latter would be located in the city's wealthier districts. However, because art was seen as a public and not a private activity, their houses tended not to be lavishly decorated. Instead aristocratic wealth was expressed in clothing, jewelry, the number of slaves they owned, and the lavishness of the dinner parties they held.

Different parts of the city tended to be occupied by different tradesmen. For example, potters lived in Ceramicus, near the market, while tanners lived in Cydathen.


Building of the Parthenon
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