The term palace may be defined as a grand residence or home for a head of state, royal, or high-ranking dignitary. Usually applied to the large houses of the European aristocracy, “palace” is equivalent to palazzo in Italian and palais in Old French, both of which derive from the Latin palātium, residence of the emperor. The designation developed from the location of imperial residences in Rome on the Palatine Hill. In the later Roman Empire, imperial residences were increasingly constructed outside of Rome as well. The term palace is used also by scholars to label the royal residences of the rulers of Macedonia and of the Hellenistic kingdoms; in Greek, these residences were called anaktora, as were the monumental central structures of Minoan Crete and the Mycenaean Greek mainland during the Bronze Age.Beginning with the House of Augustus (Suet. Aug. 72.1) (41/40–36bce), one of many wealthy houses on the .
After a long hiatus following the collapse of the palatial civilizations of the Bronze Age, wall and panel painting was reintroduced to Greece during the Early Iron Age. The first archaeological finds date from the advanced 7th century bce and include mural fragments and clay plaques used to decorate temples. Early examples (down to the early 5th century bce) are polychrome, with strong outlines and flatly painted surfaces without any sense of volume or depth of field. Their themes are often taken from myth, contemporary warfare, and religious rituals; inscriptions are customarily used to name the figures or scenes depicted.A series of breakthroughs occurred in the 5th century bce. Composition became more sophisticated, an innovation attributed to Polygnotus of Thasos; shading and tonal contouring were introduced toward the end of the century, allegedly invented by Apollodorus of Athens. Painters often acquired high social status, as we may infer from stories about Zeuxis of Heraclea or Parrhasius of Ephesus. According to later authorities, the 4th century bce saw the greatest achievements of Greek painting and some works from this era, mostly from burial monuments, survive.