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Shedding Light On Late Roman Housing

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents textual and archaeological evidence for the use of lighting, natural and artificial. It uses computer reconstruction to suggest the impact of these patterns of lighting and draws conclusions about the pattern of use of rooms in the late antique house. It is argued in the chapter that 'ray-tracing', together with texts and archaeological information, can indeed shed light into areas of the Roman house that have remained in darkness. The use of the spotlight may have been a distinctive characteristic of late antique dining rooms. This spotlight effect can be contrasted with the front part of the dining room, which was lit by glancing light from the peristyle and garden. The distinction between the times of day during which a husband and wife took charge of an aristocratic Roman house is substantively one between night and day respectively.

Keywords: archaeological evidence; aristocratic Roman house; late antique house; lighting



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