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Ancient Rome

Housing and Homes

History >> Ancient Rome

The Romans lived in a wide variety of homes depending on whether they were wealthy or poor. The poor lived in cramped apartments in the cities or in small shacks in the country. The rich lived in private homes in the city or large villas in the country.

Homes in the City

Most people in the cities of Ancient Rome lived in apartments called insulae. The wealthy lived in single family homes called domus of various sizes depending on how rich they were.


An Ancient Roman Insula
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Insulae

The vast majority of the people living in Roman cities lived in cramped apartment buildings called insulae. Insulae were generally three to five stories high and housed from 30 to 50 people. The individual apartments usually consisted of two small rooms.

The bottom floor of the insulae often housed shops and stores that opened out to the streets. The larger apartments were also near the bottom with the smallest at the top. Many insulae were not constructed very well. They could be dangerous places if they caught fire and sometimes even collapsed.

Private Homes

The wealthy elite lived in large single family homes called domus. These homes were much nicer than the insulae. Most Roman houses had similar features and rooms. There was an entryway that led to the main area of the house called the atrium. Other rooms such as bedrooms, dining room, and kitchen might be off to the sides of the atrium. Beyond the atrium was the office. In the back of the home was often an open garden.

Domus Romana


Here are some of the rooms in a typical Roman house: Homes in the Country

While the poor and the slaves lived in small shacks or cottages in the countryside, the wealthy lived in large expansive homes called villas.

Roman Villa

The Roman villa of a wealthy Roman family was often much larger and more comfortable than their city home. They had multiple rooms including servants' quarters, courtyards, baths, pools, storage rooms, exercise rooms, and gardens. They also had modern comforts such as indoor plumbing and heated floors.

Interesting Facts About the Homes of Ancient Rome Activities For more about Ancient Rome:

Overview and History
Timeline of Ancient Rome
Early History of Rome
The Roman Republic
Republic to Empire
Wars and Battles
Roman Empire in England
Barbarians
Fall of Rome

Cities and Engineering
The City of Rome
City of Pompeii
The Colosseum
Roman Baths
Housing and Homes
Roman Engineering
Roman Numerals
Daily Life
Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Life in the City
Life in the Country
Food and Cooking
Clothing
Family Life
Slaves and Peasants
Plebeians and Patricians

Arts and Religion
Ancient Roman Art
Literature
Roman Mythology
Romulus and Remus
The Arena and Entertainment
People
Augustus
Julius Caesar
Cicero
Constantine the Great
Gaius Marius
Nero
Spartacus the Gladiator
Trajan
Emperors of the Roman Empire
Women of Rome

Other
Legacy of Rome
The Roman Senate
Roman Law
Roman Army
Glossary and Terms


Works Cited

History >> Ancient Rome






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