Ancient Greek domestic architecture closely reflects ancient Greek culture. Houses were strictly laid out and rooms were separated according to gender. Because the culture and the architecture were so rule-bound, houses tended to follow a standardised design. With a few basic drawing supplies, designing ancient Greek houses can be a rewarding hobby.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Drawing paper
- Graphite pencils
- Coloured pencils
- Kneaded eraser
- Straight-edge tracing tool such as a triangle or ruler
Courtyards are essential to an authentic ancient Greek home. Greek homes were built around a central courtyard that often contained shrines to Hestia, the goddess of the home and hearth.
One of the most important rooms was the andron. This was a special recreational area designated for use by men only. The drinking parties known as symposia took place here, and the only females allowed were slave girls or hired entertainers.
Another important room was the gynaikon, a room used solely by the women of the household. Here they would weave, take care of small children, and entertain female relatives. While men of the house were not forbidden from entering the gynaikon, an intrusion by an unrelated male would have been deemed a very grave offence.
Other important rooms included the kitchen, the storerooms, the bedrooms, and the slave quarters.
Draw the bottom floor of the house, using the graphite pencils and the straight edge. This should look like a long rectangular box. Draw another rectangular box directly on top of the first box. This second box should look like the second floor of the house. Erase the front portion of the second box. This will provide a cutaway view of the second floor.
Draw the courtyard In the centre front of the bottom floor. Draw three large rooms, one on each side of the courtyard. These will be the kitchen, the storeroom, and the andron. Draw two to four very small rooms in between the three larger rooms. These will be bedrooms and the male slave quarters.
Draw one large, long room on the second floor. This will be the gynaikon. Draw several smaller bedrooms and the female slave quarters next to the gynaikon.
Fill in the major house details, using the graphite and coloured pencils. The walls of an ancient Greek house would have been made of mud bricks covered in plaster and may have had elaborate mosaics of stone and shells set into the walls. The roof would have been made of terracotta tiles. Windows would have been square-shaped holes in the wall.
Add the courtyard features. The courtyard would have benches built into the walls and a shrine to Hestia. The shrine would contain a statue of the goddess on a pedestal, with an oil lamp and perhaps an offering of grain or flowers next to it.
Add the features for the andron and gynaikon. The andron would have had several pieces of furniture similar to chaise longues lining the room. Also, these rooms were meant for entertaining and often had elaborately tiled floors. The gynaikon would had have contained low benches, x-frame stools and chairs, looms, baskets of yarn, and rich woven tapestries hanging on the walls.
Tips and warnings
- While the general layout of an ancient Greek house was strictly standardised, do not be afraid to express your individual personality in the details. You may do things such as depict a favourite breed of dog in a tapestry or a beloved mythological character in a wall mosaic.
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