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Households such as the House of the Herms represented built environments where Greek females worked to create safe, attractive homes to raise their children and to enjoy their lives. At the lower level of the house stood a massive double-story peristyle ssex, with the characteristic complement of a large dining room oecus maior and ading service rooms on its northern side.
Undoubtedly, exposed floors were covered by rugs, possibly woven by the women of the household. In sumptuous houses such as this, netting may have covered the open roof of the courtyard to create a closed aviary for exotic birds.
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Facilities for household sanitation remained relatively primitive. During these celebrations the Greek polis would suspend all public work, and men would congregate in taverns and private houses to drink, to converse, and to amuse themselves. All marriages were arranged by parents, usually neighbors or interrelated aristocratic families, at the time when prospective spouses were still children.
Even the least advantaged citizens found ways to celebrate symposia typically by arranging potluck dinners that would rotate, month by month, among the households of the associated participants. From here access could be gained to different parts of the fourth floor via two short flights of stairsas well as to the ni door at the upper southeast corner of the house.
Married women were expected to maintain the household, to spin and weave clothing for the family as well as for retail saleto direct household servants, to attend to the highly demanding tasks of cooking, cleaning, and domestic hygiene, not to mention, the raising of the family's young. The ground-floor rooms were sumptuously decorated and surviving fragments of mosaic and wall painting from the second floor indicate that the interior decor at this level was equally refined.
In a word, the symposium was arguably the most central social practice to the formation of cultural identity in the Greek polis. Sometimes Greek males would have to wait until fairly advanced in age before he acquired his portion of the family patrimony.
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Additional elements further demonstrate the degree of Greeec planning that went into the House of the Herms. Within the social stratum of freeborn landholding citizen elites, young people of opposite genders remained rigidly segregated.
In an earlier chapter we attempted to outline a paradigm for the status of women in Bronze Age Mesopotamia and the ancient world in general. Its builders deed the house to exploit the slope's uneven terrain to full advantage.
The site has undergone archaeological excavation by the French School in Athens almost non-stop since Patterns of Grrece Bonding at the Greek Symposium Houses such as the House of the Herms were also the setting of iFnd Greek male drinking party or symposium. Normally, this occurred through inheritance, for example, when the eldest surviving male of the family died and the estate was divided among his sons and grandsons. Continuing up another short flight of stairs, one arrived at a landing or vestibule situated between the third and fourth floors.
Lamps were required to illuminate rooms at night, made doubly dark on the ground floor by the absence z windows. Besides the museum quality piece by Praxiteles and a recovered Satyr head in the sed room, the ground-floor courtyard revealed a marble herm, a marble cult table, a statue of Artemis and, in the niche at the southwest corner of the court, a nymphaeum complete with a statue of a nymph and an ading grotto. As with other ancient cultures, the freeborn daughters of respectable landholding families entered into contractually arranged marriages with males from neighboring families for purposes of procreation and to maintain the economic foundations of both families.
Portrayed on the interior floors and exterior walls of Greek kylikes were provocative scenes of sexual encounters, including chains of nude male figures engaged in simultaneous homosexual relations, scenes of romantic love GGreece older males and young boys, hedonistic instances of group sex involving men and women, even violent scenes displaying examples of men simultaneously beating women with sandals while engaged with them in intercourse.
As with so many other aspects of the Greek experience, the surviving literature for Greek gender relations furnishes greater detail on these matters. On the whole, young freeborn women of property holding families would be married as soon as they reached puberty to begin the process of child bearing and to maintain the domestic quarters of the newly formed family.
Fjnd of human labor hours were required to create this environment, not to mention those needed to perform the basic necessities of cooking, cleaning, and maintenance.
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Every facet of household sanitation sfx food preparation was done by hand, however, and required ificant hours of human labor energy to complete. In addition to the usual complement of service and storage rooms, one large open room on the third floor displayed niches where the bust of an archaized Hermes was discovered to lend the domicile its name.
This spectacular view is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. These outlets included household servants, professional courtesans, and homosexual relationships.
Dating with freeborn females of respectable property-holding families was out of the question. The elite caste of freeborn, landholding, citizen-soldier-warriors tended not only to dominate the narrative of Greek history but also to impose its norms on all subordinate elements of the population. Solid insulated walls, ceramic roofs, paved floors, interior kitchens, cisterns, and sewerage disposal all made living more tolerable.
The male's decision to marry was determined by the availability of property assets necessary to sustain a family. Sustained bonds of family unity, school-age camaraderie, shared political and military experiences, and repeated instances of personal loyalty helped male members of the Greek polis to forge bonds of collective identity. Symposia occurred during festivals that coincided with Greek religious events approximately once a month. Repeatedly we find ourselves confronted by the following question: was the behavior represented on the vases or in the textual source literature "closet behavior" of a privileged and limited aristocratic elite, or was it something symptomatic of mainstream society?
Religious taboos, such as the need to produce a male heir to preserve the ancestor cult, added the additional requirement that the Greek bride be a virgin at the time of her marriage.
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These instruments would have left a sooty residue on the walls and ceiling that required periodic cleaning. In view of the limited technologies available for these tasks the of laboring hours devoted to them was considerable. Typically, young freeborn females of respectable society would experience no sexual FFind, no dating as we know it, prior to marriage.
The vase paintings raise ificant questions about the character of Greek sexual relations that are difficult to interpret given the fragmentary, uneven, and largely anecdotal character of the evidence. Popular figures like Themistocles, Aristophanes, Alcibiades, or Socrates, were expected to make the rounds of dozens of Greecf during the festival season, dropping in on one dinner party after another in an ancient form of table hopping. Dowries and gifts of land parcels accompanied the coming of age in Greek society.
The one hundred or so artists who decorated the tens of thousands of Attic Red Figure forms that survive to this day undoubtedly drew their subject material from Grwece personally witnessed at symposia.
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Domestic plants and animals pets added a warm and cheerful natural setting to contrast with the noise of passers by outside. These frequently determined the outcome of military conflicts as well as political contests. From the third-floor landing, for example, an arriving visitor could have gazed directly down the flights of stairs deliberately kept steep and alignedthrough the south portico of the second story directly into the dining room on the ground floor, where a magnificent sculptural group by the celebrated fourth century BC artist, Praxiteles, would have caught the eye.
In the southeast corner of the court two stairways allowed access to a second floor.
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Hellenistic Greek houses were typically centered on an internal peristyle court, with rooms opening onto and arranged in rectangular fashion around this. However, it is equally possible to view this development within the context of broader social mores and patterns of childhood development. Respectable freeborn males, however, were pressured by peers, by the nature of male hormonal development which peaks early on in lifeand by high mortality rates to engage in sexual Gteece early in life.
These requirements inevitably induced families to arrange marriages for Fins children early on in life. Evidence from other houses indicates that potted vines likely stood in the corners of the interior court, deliberately trained to climb the columns all the way to the second floor roof.