A Cultural History of the Home

A Cultural History of the Home
Bloomsbury Academic
8 September 2022

A Cultural History of the Home

'Home' is a powerful idea throughout antiquity, from Odysseus' epic journey to recover his own home, nostalgically longed-for through his long absence, to the implanting of Christianity in the domestic sphere in late antiquity. We can recognise the idea even if there is no word for it that quite corresponds to our own: the Greek oikos and the Latin domus mean both house and family, the essential components of home. To attempt a history of 'the home' in antiquity means bringing together two separate, if closely related, fields of study. On the one hand, study of the family, both in the legal frameworks that define it as institution and the literary representations of it in daily life; on the other, archaeological study of the domestic setting, within which such relationships are played out.

Ranging across a period of over a millennium, this collection looks at the home as a force of integration: of the worlds of family and of the outsider in hospitality; of the worlds of leisure and work; of the worlds of public and private life; of the world of practical structures and furnishings and the world of religion.

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