What Was a House Called in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, a house was called an oikos. The oikos was more than just a physical structure; it was the center of family life and played an important role in society. Let’s take a closer look at what the ancient Greek house was like.

The Design of an Ancient Greek House

The design of an ancient Greek house varied depending on the region and time period. However, there were some common features that most houses shared.

The typical ancient Greek house was small and simple. It had one or two stories and was made of materials like mud brick or stone. The roof was made of tiles or thatch, and there were no chimneys, so smoke from cooking fires would escape through openings in the roof.

The Courtyard

One distinguishing feature of the ancient Greek house was the courtyard. The courtyard served as a gathering place for family members and guests. It also provided natural light and ventilation to the interior rooms.

The Andron

The most important room in an ancient Greek house was the andron, which was reserved for men. The andron was used for entertaining guests, hosting symposia (drinking parties), and conducting business transactions.

The Gynaikonitis

Women had their own section of the house called the gynaikonitis. This area was located away from public view and consisted of bedrooms, storage rooms, and a kitchen.

Household Members

The household in ancient Greece consisted of more than just immediate family members. Slaves were an integral part of the household, performing tasks like cooking, cleaning, and childcare.


In conclusion, the ancient Greek house, or oikos, played a central role in family life and society as a whole. Its design reflected the values and traditions of ancient Greek culture, with separate areas for men and women and a courtyard for socializing. Despite its simplicity, the oikos was a place of warmth and hospitality, where family members and guests were welcomed with open arms.