Homes Most homes in ancient Greece had acourtyard, which was the center ofactivity. Children could safely play outsidein the warm climate. Homes were dividedinto areas for the men and areas for thewomen. The Andron was a room reservedfor males to entertain male guests. Theroom had a separate entrance to thestreet so male guests did not have to crosspaths with any of the ladies of the house.
Houses were made out of sun-dried brickon a foundation of stones. Sun-dried brickwas not a dependable material andoften crumbled. Burglars were termed“wall piercers” because they brokethrough the walls to gain entry intohomes. Roofs were made of overlappingclay tiles. Andron room floors weresometimes tiled, but the flooring of therest of the rooms was packed dirt.
The Throne Room was a chamber built for ceremonial purposesduring the 15th century BC inside the palatial complex ofKnossos, Crete, in Greece. It is still there today and is consideredthe oldest throne room in Europe.
The Greeks had a very limited amount offurniture in their houses. The rooms wererelatively bare by today’s standards.Wooden chairs, couches and stools weretypical.
Food was cooked outside during most ofthe year. When the weather was notconducive to cooking outside, a hearth orbrazier was used in the kitchen. Kitchenswere built with a hole in the roof so thatsmoke could escape.
Houses had one or two private rooms.Bathrooms consisted of a chamber pot, whichwas dumped into a gutter or into the street. The head of each household was thehusband. It was the woman’s role tocomplete the daily chores and raise children.Often large families included the parents andchildren, grandparents, unwed femalerelatives, and slaves all under the same roof.
Roles of Men and Women inAncient Greece Men had the dominant role in public life in ancientGreece. They were engaged in politics and publicevents, while women were often encouraged tostay in the home. When men entertained, theirwives were not invited to the dinner. The OlympicGames were for males only, while in another partof Olympia, the women had a small event of theirown in honor of Hera. In Athens, pale skin was instyle for women, showing that they were wealthyenough to stay inside. Also in Athens, only the verypoor woman was found at the agora without amale escort.
Women in Ancient Greece Women in most city-states of ancientGreece had very few rights. They wereunder the control and protection of theirfather, husband, or a male relative fortheir entire lives. Women had no role inpolitics. Women with any wealth did notwork. They stayed indoors running theirhouseholds. The only public job ofimportance for a woman was as areligious priestess.
Sparta was different fromAthens In Sparta, men stayed in barracks until theywere thirty. Since Spartan women did nothave this restriction, they had more freedomsand responsibilities in public life. They wereable to go out in public unescorted,participate in athletic contests, and inheritland. In the fourth century, over two-fifths ofthe land in Sparta was owned by women. InAthens, the law required all inheritances to gothrough the male line and limited propertythat could be owned by women.
It was the wives who supervised the slavesand managed the household responsibilities,such as weaving and cooking. In affluenthomes, women had a completely separatearea of the house where men were notpermitted. In the homes of the poor, separateareas were not available. Poor women oftenworked outside the home, assisting theirhusbands at the market or at some other job.Poorer women often went to the marketwithout a male escort.