Housing and Homes

While Ancient Roman housing was lacking modern facilities such as indoor plumbing, its homes were practically sophisticated and can definitely catch the eye of anyone.

During ancient times, Romans stayed in a wide range of homes depending on their respective status.

Less-fortunate Romans lived in cramped flats known as the insulae.

The insulae which are normally 30 to 50 stories high can cater to a number of people with individual apartments consisting of two petite rooms.

Below the insulae are stores, shops, and larger apartments.

Better Homes for The Rich

Wealthy people, on the other hand, lived in sizable Villas in the countryside known as the domus.

The sizes of the domus vary depending on how wealthy they were.

Unlike the insulae, the domus is much safer and nicer as it is geared with bedrooms, a kitchen, and a substantial dining room.

In addition to its fine architecture, a domus is also made up of an entryway which leads to the primary area of the house known as the atrium.

Normally, the atrium is an open-roof place which is made up of a small pool. Located past the atrium was the office while an open garden is often times situated at the back of the home.

Facts about the Housing and Homes of Ancient Rome

  • An insulae is normally classified under a central courtyard. The ground floors of an insulae were utilized by multiple businesses and shops while the top floors were available as a living space.
  • A domus is made up of two sections specifically the antica and postica. Each section was formulated similarly to the small rooms of the space to lead everyone to a massive central area.
  • Normally, the main rooms of a domus are ornamented with several decorations such as mosaic arts and colored plaster walls. Other than walls, floors were also decorated to signal to everyone their wealth and significance.
  • Ancient Roman houses were also equipped with a heating system known as the hypocaust. To make sure that the system remains clean and free from bacteria, wealthy Romans assigned slaves to oversee and keep their engines in pristine condition daily.
  • The primary source of water for rich Romans were lead pipes. The pipes that were used are taxed accordingly by the Ancient Roman government. Interestingly, several archaeologists determine the wealth of a Roman by simply looking at the lead pipes of their homes.
  • The entrance gate to a Roman house is known as the ostium. The ostium is a specific part of the house which has a door and a doorway.
  • Roman villas are classified into two specific kinds such as the Villa Ubana and the Villa Rustica. The Villa Ubana is a villa that is located close to Rome while the Villa Rustica is situated far from the city of Rome and is often visited by people during occasions.
  • A Roman Villa which is a house of wealthy Romans is typically composed of storage and exercise rooms as well as courtyards and gardens.

Q&A

How dangerous is it to live in an Insulae?

Among the primary dangers of living in the insulae was that the place wasn’t constructed very and could be dangerous when it collapses or catches fire.

What are the different rooms of a Roman Home?

Although the size of Roman houses often differs in size, a typical Roman home is most often equipped with Vestibulum, Tablinum, Triclinium, Cubiculum or the bedroom, an atrium, and the Culina or the kitchen.

The Vestibulum is recognized as the primary entrance hall to a Roman home while the Tablinum and the Triclinium are most often the places that were heavily-decorated to catch the attention of house guests.

What does the word Insulae mean?

The word Insulae which comes from Latin means island.

What is an Ala in a Roman home?

Ala is an open room which is equipped with windows in the outside wall. It is believed that its main function is to provide light to the house.