DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE IN THE GREEK COLONIES OF THE BLACK SEA FROM THE ARCHAIC PERIOD UNTIL THE LATE HELLENISTIC YEARS
The present paper deals with the Greek house and its development in the Greek colonies of the Black Sea, as it is testified through the archaeological remains. Domestic architecture in these cities sheds light on various aspects of the private life of the Greek settlers and their ideology, influenced by contemporary social, political and economic factors. My study is focused on the gradual architectural changes of the Greek houses, observed during the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. For this reason, the present paper is structured in four main chapters, following a chronological lay-out.
In the first chapter is presented the archaic pit-shelter (dugout) dwelling; the oldest type of house, which prevailed from the end of the 7th - last quarter of the 6th century BC. Such houses were discovered in Nikonion, Olbia, Berezan, Kerkinitis, Chersonesus, Panticapaeum, Nymphaeum, Myrmekion, Tyramba, Gorgippia, etc., while the end of the 6th century BC, was marked by the emergence of the first above-ground houses, like the ones excavated in Olbia, Berezan, Myrmekion, Tyritake, Porthmion, Kepoi, Phanagoria and Gorgippia.
In the second chapter follows the presentation of the typical Greek oikos, with its main feature being the central courtyard, around which the rooms of the house were erected. Examples of the Classical houses were found in Odessos, Nikonion, Berezan, Kerkinitis, Theodosia, Panticapaeum, Myrmekion, Phanagoria, Hermonassa and elsewhere.
The Hellenistic residence is described in the third chapter. During this period (mid-4th – 1st century BC), the Greek colonies flourished economically and reached the peak of their development. The average house is now a construction larger in size, with many stores and rooms richly decorated. The peristyle courtyard (Mesambria, Olbia, Panticapaeum, Tyras, Toricos, etc.) and the pastas type houses (Apollonia Pontica, Olbia, Kerkinitis, etc.) are the most popular residential types, throughout the Northern and Western colonies of the region.
Since religion was of fundamental importance for the ancients, examples of home sanctuaries and private cult objects (like altars, small votive figurines, dedicated to a PanHellenic or local God) are presented in the fourth chapter of my paper, offering us valuable information about the gods worshiped at home, and how they affected the domestic life and beliefs of the house owners. Domestic sanctuaries were unearthed in Odessos, Tyras, Olbia, Kerkinitis, Chersonesos, Myrmekion, Tanais and Hermonassa.
Finally, the comparison between the finds coming from the residences in Greece and in the Black Sea, indicates that despite the geographical peculiarities, the urban Greek house developed in the same way, all over the then Greek world, and during the same periods. This was succeeded mainly due to the close relationships, which were maintained during the whole Antiquity, between the Greek colonies in the Euxine and their metropolises, and helped the Greek ideology evolve based on common morals and ideals.