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488 UNIVERSAL HISTORY- THE ANCIENT WORLD.

of the abodes of the Hellenes. Their houses belonged to the Southern rather than the

Northern type of buildings. Instead of one great hall lighted from without and steeply

roofed, the house of the South consisted of an inclosure about a rectangular court, from

which the light is admitted into the various apartments. It was a house of this sort in

which the Greeks of the Heroic Age made their dwelling. Whether the common abode of the

peasant or the palace of the prince the type was the same, the structure being varied

merely in its details and adornment.

The first distinctive tenure of the Greek house within was the division into a man*s and a

woman's, department-the andronitis and the gynesconits. Above the first court was a second

or even a third; according, to the wealth and ambition of the builder. In villages and

other situations where there was abundance of room, the ground-plan was a rectangle about

twice as great in length as in breadth, but in cities where space on the streets was

valuable the fronts of the houses were narrowed, and the depth and height of the buildings

proportionally increased.

On the outside the houses of the Greeks were generally stuccoed and painted. In the second

story front some small windows looked down on the street. Between two columns below was

the door, which was guarded by a slave, and was. opened at the signal of knocks. Between

the door and the street were the apartments of the servants, arranged on either side of a

passage.

The andronitis, or man's hall, was generally surrounded with columns. This apartment

occupied the front of the dwelling. Here the man of the house attended to his private

affairs, assisted by his steward and servants. Here he prosecuted his studies. Here were

his parchments. Here he received and entertained his friends. Here was spread the banquet-

of which an account has already been given. From the andronitis a passage leading to the

rear entered the woman's hall or gynasconitis, where were arranged the various apartments

for the female occupants of the house. Here the women lodged, washed the linen, spun and

wove. From these rooms a second passage, closed by a gate, led into the garden in the rear

of the dwelling, or into the street if the building extended the whole depth of the

square.

In the center of the whole establishment was the court called the Prostas-a place sacred

to religious devotions. Here stood the family altar. Here in the background was set up the

statue of Hestia, the protectress of the hearthstone. Here were celebrated the festivals

and anniversaries of the family. Here were offered the sacrifices and vows of religion.

Here the marriage was celebrated. Here the new-born child was joyously welcomed into the

household. Here at the altar of Hestia was the refuge of the slave and panting fugitive

who fled thither for protection.

From the earliest times the Greeks took pride in decorating their houses. Already in the

Homeric age ornaments of metal and ivory were beaten or carved for the adornment of the

walls and cornice. In the most ancient ruins which have been uncovered -those of Mycenae

and Tiryns-the work of decoration is already fully displayed, even in the Treasure-house

of Atreus. The work of the hammer and the chisel preceded that of the brush. So far as

artistic painting is concerned, it was at first restricted to buildings of a public

character. Alcibiades is said to have been the first to employ a painter to fresco and

ornament his house with artistic figures in color. Afterwards, however, down to the times

of Alexander the Great, this kind of decoration grew in fashion, especially in Athens,

until all except the poorest houses bore some trace of the artist's skill. Even Zeuxis was

many times called from his studio to honor with his brush the palaces and villas of the

wealthy Athenians.

It is the peculiarity of modern times that mechanical skill has taken the precedence of

art. One of the results of this inter- change of faculties is the superior elegance and

splendor of modern furniture as com- pared with that of antiquity. Still the latter was

not wanting in many evidences of artistic taste, and especially in a certain Oriental

magnificence. Of course, the couches and tables of the kings of the East