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Ancient Greek Houses for Kids and Teachers Illustration

Ancient Greek Houses

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In most of ancient Greece, a house was built around an open air courtyard. Houses were built of stone, wood, and clay bricks. They were sturdy and comfortable. Larger homes might have several bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathing room, a woman's sitting area, a men's dining room, and one or two rooms for storage.

The central courtyard was a wonderfully private place. Because women were only allowed to leave their homes for short periods, and only if they had their husband's permission, they could always enjoy sitting outside in the privacy of their courtyard. They probably sat in the shade, because a pale complexion was a sign of beauty to the ancient Greeks, but at least they got fresh air. Mothers and daughters would sit in their courtyard and sew or cook or gossip. Meals were often eaten in the courtyard. The family would gather there in evening and share what happened to them that day and tell stories and fables. The courtyard was the center of family life.

In ancient Sparta, home life was very different. The men lived in the barracks. Women lived in homes. Husbands visited but they did not live at home. When the boys were old enough, they joined their fathers in the barracks. Women had far more freedom in ancient Greece, possibly because their husbands were often off fighting somewhere. It was up to the women, and injured or very old men, to keep the community going while the men were gone.