- Michael H. Jameson
ExtractPrivate houses of the Classical and Hellenistic periods were basically the same throughout the Greek world. Most rooms opened onto one or more sides of a small, rectangular courtyard, as did a doorway to the street, often preceded by a short passage. Windows were few and small and living areas were not visible from the street. An upper storey, reached by a ladder or, more rarely, a built stairway, was common but is often hard to detect. Construction was in mud-brick or rubble on stone socles. Interior walls were plastered and often painted simply, mostly in red and white. Floors were of beaten earth. In most houses, on the ground floor, one or two rooms with heavier floors and provisions for bathing, heating water, and cooking can be identified, but cooking could take place on simple hearths or portable braziers in any room or in the courtyard. The concept of the hearth and its goddess, *Hestia, symbolized the identity and cohesion of the *household (oikos) but formal, fixed hearths were not common, nor were *altars for domestic ritual.
- Greek Material Culture