Kos island, in the 5th century b.C. was influenced by Athens. Built in 366 b.C. on the basis of Hippodamus city planning system, was divided in big building blocks, with sewers and water infrastructure.
It is important to note that houses in this period throughout democratic Greek cities were modestly built so that they would not differ and reveal the wealth or the political power of the owner. Only public buildings were lavishly decorated. As Demosthenes mentions, democratic citizens were sensible and faithful to democratic morals. Thus Pericle’s house bore no difference to the house of another citizen. This was revealed by the excavation findings, which proved that houses at this period did not show signs of wealth, power or education.
Materials used to build the houses were the ones found in abundance in nature around men. Local stone, marble, wood, clay and straw were the components of the Greek house.
The Arcade was a loan from the public building architecture to the private houses. So a yard with a peristyle is created. At the yard there are rooms used to store goods, stables and workshops. Through their window, goods manufactured were sold.
Elements found in common at the houses throughout Greece, were the tile covered yard and the altar.
A daily chore at the yard was the sacrifice to Gods. If weather permitted, women cooked outdoors. Otherwise, cooking took place on the “hestia”, the fireplace, the gathering point of the family. The latrine is placed on the northern side of the house, next to the “hestia”.
Clay bathtubs have been found at the excavations. Next to the latrine there is a small space used as a kitchen. Andron, the mens room, the most famous room at the time, lays independent from the rest of the house. One enters the room through the yard. On the floor of the Adron there is a pebble mosaic.
Symposia took place in the Andrones, where male guests of the owner participated. Symposia were private feasts were participants drank wine, discussed various matters and entertained themselves. The most famous symposium was that of Platonas work under the same title, a philosophical discussion about eros, where Socrates, Alkibiades, Aristofanes and other less known Athenians took place.
From the main room of the house, the hestia, we climb the stairs to the first floor. There is the women room, the couples room and the istion the room where women spent their time weaving. We can resemble womens life at this period like the one lived by women 200 years ago in Greek villages.
They led their household, took part in the religious ceremonies, the public feasts, and in many aspects of daily life. They were not, as some think, submitted to their husbands. But they could not vote, nor participate at a Symposium. Laws protected them. They could divorce their husbands and reclaim the dowry given.
Observing the dynamics of the house, we note that each building had its own special direction. i.e. libraries faced east so that sun kept the building warm and the documents were protected from moisture. Houses faced south, to be warm during winter and cool during summer.
Hippocrates, who studied the influence of weather conditions on the health of man, at his work “On winds and waters” explains how winds and underground waters affect us, a knowledge that ancient Greeks took very seriously.