In the cities of Ancient Sumer, every family had a house. The poor had
narrow houses, and the rich had large wide homes. All houses were
built at least 3 stories high. The first floor would be an entryway and a
courtyard. Children would play there, Small animals were kept there,
and if the weather wasn’t bad, meals could be cooked there. The next
two floors were where the family lived. Their bedrooms and living
rooms were on these two floors the food storage was also kept there.
The roof of the houses were flat, people thought the roof was just like another floor. If
they had good weather everyone would cook and eat on the roof. Houses were built
out of cut sandstone blocks or mud bricks. People would share walls to have less
construction costs. In the richer areas the houses were alone. In the poorer sections
the houses were surrounding the Ziggurat to make it easy to get to the temple and to
leave offerings to the gods.
Homes had front and back doors, each door was 4 feet off the ground to reduce the amount
of sand that came into the house. All houses had ramps instead of stairs, because it was
easier to build. The common people also had nice houses, especially in the country,
where they had a lot of room to build. They were not as nice or big as the nobles
homes. Every house had a flat roof, and like the Mesopotamians they cook their meal
and sometimes even sleep
In Egypt your house could be any size and have as many levels
as you wanted. Homes were built out of bricks from straw and
mud. The Egyptians invented molds to make bricks. That let
them make bricks and dry them out in the sun. The nobles (the
people who worked for the pharaoh) lived in huge houses along
the Nile River. They painted their houses white because it kept
their rooms colder. Each room had a function. Many were
storage rooms, guest rooms, kids rooms, and bathrooms. Some
houses were built with stone, but most with bricks.
Greek houses were built around an open courtyard. Houses were built of stone, wood,
and clay bricks. Larger homes might have many bedrooms, kitchens, bathing rooms,
women’s sitting area, men’s dining room, and one or two rooms for storage. The
central courtyard was a private place. Because women were not allowed to leave their
houses for short periods, and only if they had their husband’s permission, women could
always sit alone in a courtyard. Greek houses were quite large and had many rooms.
Most of the rooms in a Greek house were storage rooms.
Romans used to live in apartments called flats. For people who had businesses the flat
would be above the business. If their building had more then two stories, they would
rent the upper floors to other Romans. These type of flats usually had space and were
very nice. Sometimes they had running water. If you were a workman or unemployed,
your apartment was not nearly as nice. The poorer people were crowded into one room
flats, and had to bring their water from the local fountain. There would never be
bathroom, so they would have to go to use public bathrooms. They would cook, sleep,
and eat in one room. Fires happened often and they were forced to rebuild their home
Rich Home Poor Home
The rich nobles lived very differently. The houses were often made of brick or
sandstone blocks, with tiled roofs and plant all around. While the whole family
(including aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, great grandfathers, etc…)
all lived in the same house, the house would have separate rooms for each of
them. the house would be built with an open area in the middle, the courtyard,
where most coking and eating was. There would be rooms for entertainment and
offices. There would be paintings, sculptures, and mosaics around the rooms. If
they were rich enough, they would have saves do all the cooking and cleaning.
There were only two kinds of houses in Ancient China, rich and poor.
Most people were poor hardly any were rich. The poor’s houses had
one room made of bricks from mud, chalk, or gravel. The roof was
made of thatch which is a mixture of straw and mud. These homes
were a lot like houses in West Asia, Egypt, Greece, or Africa. The
rich had houses that were much bigger. They had a high walls made of
chalk, lime, or gravel all around the house, with no windows and only
one door, to keep the family safe. When you go through the door,
there was another short wall, this was the screen wall. The screen wall
kept people from seeing into your courtyard as they walked by. All
around the courtyard there were many rooms. In a very fancy house
there were two stories, and a balcony on the inside of the upper story.