By Jérôme Carcopino; H.T. Rowell (ed.); E.O. Lorimer (trans.)
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Additional resources for Daily Life in Ancient Rome (Peregrine Books)
While the domus of Pompeii easily covered 800 to 900 square metres, the insulae of Ostia, though built according to the specifications which Hadrian laid down, were rarely granted such extensive foundations. 40 Even if there were no smaller ones (which is extremely unlikely) of which all trace has been buried for ever in the upheavals of the terrain, these figures are misleading: a foundation of 300 square metres is in adequate enough to carry a structure of 18 to 20 metres high, particularly when we remember the thickness of the flooring which separated the storeys from each other.
57 Also they appear in literature as the distinguishing property of the master who is teaching in a schola** or, in connexion with religious ceremonies, as the property of the frater arvalis of the official religion,50 of the head of certain esoteric pagan sects, and later of the Christian presbyter. We speak with perfect right, therefore, of the 'Chair of Saint Peter' or the 'chair' of a university professor. Ordinarily the Romans were content with benches (scamna) or stools (subsellia) or sellae without arms or back, which they carried about with them out of doors.
Most beds were single ones (lectuli). There were double beds for married couples (lecti geniales); beds for three which graced the dining-room (triclinia); and those who wished to make a splash and astonish the neighbours had couches for six. Some were cast in bronze; most were simply carved in wood, either in oak or maple, terebinth or arbor vitae, or it might be in those exotic woods with undulating grain and changing lights which reflected a thousand colours like a peacock's tail (lecti pavonini).