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A rich Roman family would own a house in the city called a DOMUS and if they were very rich, one in the country as well called a VILLA.
However, poor Romans would rent a one-roomed flat. As most buildings were wooden, they could catch fire easily because of the oil lamps they used to light their homes, and so were very dangerous.
In a Domus, the floors would be decorated with MOSAICS. These were patterned pictures made of very small tiles stuck onto plaster. They would sometimes have rugs on their floors as well.
Large houses would have kitchens with a slave as a cook. Those without kitchens would have to buy their food from the shops and market stalls.
One of the great Roman inventions was central heating or HYDROCAUSTS which let hot air warm their floors and walls.
This was the same technology that let them heat their PUBLIC BATHS.
The Public baths were an important place to socialise for the Romans (as well as to get clean!). DOMUS’, VILLAs and army FORTS would also have baths.
Water would enter the baths from an AQUEDUCT or stream and would be heated by a log-burning fire.
The main features of the Baths were:
ATRIUM (by the entrance, where the men would exercise)
FRIGIDARIUM (cold bath)
TEPIDARIUM (warm bath)
CALDARIUM (hot bath)
If I didn't have a kitchen I could have a takeaway every night!
Some examples of mosaic floors in an excavated villa in France. The centre photo is the dining room.