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Ancient Greek Houses and Households

Chronological, Regional, and Social Diversity

Edited by Bradley A. Ault and Lisa C. Nevett

Publication Year: 2005

Seeking to expand both the geographical range and the diversity of sites considered in the study of ancient Greek housing, Ancient Greek Houses and Households takes readers beyond well-established studies of the ideal classical house and now-famous structures of Athens and Olynthos.

Bradley A. Ault and Lisa C. Nevett have brought together an international team of scholars who draw upon recent approaches to the study of households developed in the fields of classical archaeology, ancient history, and anthropology. The essays cover a broad range of chronological, geographical, and social contexts and address such topics as the structure and variety of households in ancient Greece, facets of domestic industry, regional diversity in domestic organization, and status distinctions as manifested within households.

Ancient Greek Houses and Households views both Greek houses and the archeological debris found within them as a means of investigating the basic unit of Greek society: the household. Through this approach, the essays successfully point the way toward a real integration between material and textual data, between archeology and history.

Contributors include William Aylward (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Nicholas Cahill (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Manuel Fiedler (Freie Universität, Berlin), Franziska Lang (Humboldt Universität, Berlin), Monike Trümper (Universität Heidelberg), and Barbara Tsakirgis (Vanderbilt University, Nashville).

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press


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p. iii


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p. iv


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-11

The aim of this volume is to bring together a series of case-studies in which the archaeological evidence for housing is used to address a variety of questions about Greek households. Our focus is on settlements in Greece itself and Asia Minor during the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods (Map 1.1), and the chapters included here form part of a wider body of research in which new ways of approaching this material...

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Chapter 2. Structural Change in Archaic Greek Housing

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pp. 12-35

A household consists of a group of people sharing a common place of residence, who by virtue of their joint behavior, function as a social and economic unit.1 With the exception of widows, the unmarried, or cohabiting brothers and sisters, the basic element of the household in ancient Greece was the family, consisting of parents and children together...

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Chapter 3. Security, Synoikismos, and Koinon as Determinants for Troad Housing in Classical and Hellenistic Times

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pp. 36-53

The Troad is an important source for houses in the Greek world by virtue of its location on the Dardanelles, along the only maritime passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Military operations of Xerxes and Alexander the Great focused attention on the Dardanelles as a border between Europe and Asia, and the strategic importance of the Troad...

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Chapter 4. Household Industry in Greece and Anatolia

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pp. 54-66

A common trope in ancient Greek literature is that craftsmen and traders were socially marginalized: that they were not allowed to participate in the political or social life of the city as fully as those who depended on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. At Thebes, according to Aristotle, there was a law that no one who had not kept away...

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Chapter 5. Living and Working Around the Athenian Agora: A Preliminary Case Study of Three Houses

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pp. 67-82

Since 1931, archaeologists working under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens have uncovered major portions of the Classical Athenian Agora. In the process of revealing its public buildings, the excavators have exposed the remains of residential and industrial districts on the periphery of the public space. These areas, located largely on the slopes of the Kolonos Agoraios...

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Chapter 6. Between Urban and Rural: House-Form and Social Relations in Attic Villages and Deme Centers

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pp. 83-98

Studies of the size and distribution of the population of Athens and Attica have suggested that for most of the Wfth and fourth centuries more than two thirds of Athenian citizens are likely to have been resident outside the asty, in dispersed farmsteads and, more frequently, in the rural and coastal villages which formed the core of many of the extra-urban Attic...

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Chapter 7. Houses at Leukas in Acarnania: A Case Study in Ancient Household Organization

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pp. 99-118

Already in the late nineteenth and again in the first half of twentieth century, Th. Wiegand and H. Schrader, followed by D. M. Robinson, recognized the importance of artifact distributions for analyzing domestic space in ancient Greek houses.1 They published ground-plans of houses from Priene and Olynthus, marking find-spots of small finds and pottery (Wiegand and Schrader 1904, 325, with Wg. 365; Robinson 1946, pl. 136)...

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Chapter 8. Modest Housing in Late Hellenistic Delos

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pp. 119-139

The domestic architecture on the Cycladic island of Delos is often cited as an example of the increased luxury in Late Hellenistic housing compared with its Classical predecessors (Nevett 1999, 164–166). Indeed, evidence found in some of the houses supports the thesis that lifestyles became more lavish in the Hellenistic period. Characteristic of these houses are elaborate architectural features including peristyles...

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Chapter 9. Housing the Poor and Homeless in Ancient Greece

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pp. 140-159

In these two passages from the ancient sources, the father of Cynic philosophy is alternately admired and derided for making his home in a large storage jar. Since it is Diogenes’ own deliberate choice to reject the creature comforts of materialism, Juvenal finds him noble. Lucian, on the other hand, in a tone more satirical than Juvenal himself, finds it ridiculous: giving up the trappings of normal domestic life on the pretence...

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Chapter 10. Summing Up: Whither the Archaeology of the Greek Household?

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pp. 160-176

The foregoing nine chapters adopt a wide variety of approaches to the study of Greek houses and households, and are unified by their archaeological perspective. They encompass a range of chronological and geographical contexts, as well as social, cultural, and economic ones. Far from underscoring any sort of homogeneity (whether in terms of ground plans, typologies, or domestic organization as a whole)...


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pp. 177-178

List of Contributors

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pp. 179-180


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pp. 181-189


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p. 190

E-ISBN-13: 9780812204438
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812238754

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 759158175
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ancient Greek Houses and Households

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Subject Headings

  • Dwellings -- Greece -- History -- To 1500.
  • Housing -- Greece -- History -- To 1500.
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