Daily Life
The Greek House

Greek city houses of the 6th and 5th century b.c. were usually modest in scale and built of relatively inexpensive materials. They varied from two or three rooms clustered around a small court to a dozen or so rooms. City house exteriors presented a plain facade to the street, broken only by the door and a few small windows set high. In larger houses the main rooms included a kitchen, a small room for bathing, several bedrooms which usually occupied a second floor, the men's andron for dining, and perhaps a separate suite of rooms known as the gynaikonitis for the use of women.

The private lives of the ancient Greeks are only dimly reflected in the archaeological remains of their sanctuaries, cities and houses. But painted scenes on Black Figure and Red Figure pottery made in Athens during the 6th and 5th centuries b.c. offer glimpses of daily life taking place inside Greek homes.

The evening meal might be followed on special occasions by a symposium, a drinking party organized by the host for his male guests. The participants reclined on couches arranged around the sides of the room. Low tables for food were set in front of each couch. Symposia were normally attended by the host and his male guests, but could also include female entertainers and servants. Custom dictated that the wives and daughters of the guests and host always be excluded.

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