The roman Domus



Roman private architecture can be divided into three different types – domus, insulæ, and villæ.

The inspiration for this type of residence is the typical Greek house, organized around the peristyle – an inner courtyard surrounded by columns.

For Romans, the centre of the domus was the atrium, a vast courtyard whose centre was in the open air to allow the circulation of air and light as well as the collecting of rainwater in a pond (impluvium) beneath a hole in the ceiling (compluvium). The entrance door led to a short corridor consisting of the vestibulum and the fauces – both separated by a chancel door (ianua). There were two separate rooms (tabernæ), which could be the paterfamilias’s studios for his business, at each side of the entrance corridor. The bedrooms (cubicula) were around the atrium. The first one we find when entering from the front door was the tablinum, for family meetings and receiving visitors. The laterals of the atrium were the alæ, where there was a small cupboard with the family’s ancestors’ sacred images (imagines maiorium) and altars (lararia) for domestic cult.

The domus was organized according to the private life of an outstanding member of society – the building itself was a social product linking the residence type to the owner’s social status.

There are some ruins of a domus on a land plot at Vázquez López Street – one of the shopping streets of Huelva close to Las Monjas Square. It is estimated that the rests are from the first century AD.

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