Home Life in Ancient Greece
Most homes in ancient Greece had a courtyard, which was the center of activity. Children could safely play outside in the warm climate. Homes were divided into areas for the men and areas for the women. The andron was a room reserved for males to entertain male guests. The room had a separate entrance to the street so male guests did not have to cross paths with any of the ladies of the house.
Houses were made out of sun-dried brick on a foundation of stones. Sun-dried brick was not a dependable material and often crumbled. Burglars were termed “wall piercers” because they broke through the walls to gain entry into homes. Roofs were made of overlapping clay tiles. Andron room floors were sometimes tiled, but the flooring of the rest of the rooms was packed dirt.
The Greeks had a very limited amount of furniture in their houses. The rooms were relatively bare by today’s standards. Wooden chairs, couches and stools were typical.
Food was cooked outside during most of the year. When the weather was not conducive to cooking outside, a hearth or brazier was used in the kitchen. Kitchens were built with a hole in the roof so that smoke could escape.
Houses had one or two private rooms. Bathrooms consisted of a chamber pot, which was dumped into a gutter or into the street.
The head of each household was the husband. It was the woman’s role to complete the daily chores and raise children. Often large families included the parents and children, grandparents, unwed female relatives, and slaves all under the same roof.