If you know me well, you’ll know that I have a lot of varied interests — history, obviously, but also a rather dedication passion for video games. Some time ago, I had the brainwave while playing Minecraft to demonstrate a little historical flair while scratching my itch for playing with, essentially, pixelated Legos.
What follows is a common Roman house, known as a domus, done lovingly in 1×1 blocks.
First, here’s a top-down view of the whole building, taking up a significant chunk of my home island.
Next is the atrium, basically a foyer, as well as a combined lararium. In the center of the room is the impluvium, a pool which collected rainwater from the open roof, which gave it a practical purpose as well as an artistic one. The lararium would consist of shrines of the “lares,” or household gods. These could consist of personal gods associated with the Vesta, goddess of the hearth and home, or family ancestors (Penates). Romans would offer sacrifices daily to their household gods, represented here with sacred fire.
Behind the atrium is the tablinum, or study. A Roman man of status would have letters to write and answer to, and business would usually be conducted in this room. I chose to represent this room with bookshelves for reading.
Next is a cubiculum, or bedchamber. Notice this isn’t a large room; barely enough for the bed and not much else.
Toward the rear of the house is one of my favorites: The peristyle garden. This, like the atrium, would have an open roof, with lots of flora to flourish the mild Roman weather. Normally this would be surrounded by a colonnade, held up by columns, where hallways would lead to the bedchambers and foodstores to the back.
Finally, I’ve included the triclinum, or the dining room. There would be reclining couches where the emphasis was toward the midday meal, rather than dinner. According to HistoryHit.com:
“They ate meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, cheese, grains (also as bread) and legumes. Meat included animals like dormice (an expensive delicacy), hare, snails and boar. Smaller birds like thrushes were eaten as well as chickens and pheasants. Beef was not popular with the Romans and any farmed meat was a luxury, game was much more common. Meat was usually boiled or fried – ovens were rare. … The Romans grew beans, olives, peas, salads, onions, and brassicas (cabbage was considered particularly healthy, good for digestion and curing hangovers) for the table. Dried peas were a mainstay of poorer diets. As the empire expanded new fruits and vegetables were added to the menu. The Romans had no aubergines, peppers, courgettes, green beans, or tomatoes, staples of modern Italian cooking.”
This does not mean, however, that Romans didn’t also have a sweet tooth.
And that’s it for the Latin version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Check back next time!