The Ancient Home

  • Chris Berg
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)


This chapter explores how privacy was understood in the prehistoric and ancient world. Many historians have emphasized that ancient ideas of privacy were distinct from modern ideas of privacy. The chapter considers that question through the lens of the home—how dwellings provided a barrier between the public space and private domain, and how spaces within the home were structured to expose or protect inhabitants from each other. Beginning with the first dwellings—pit houses in the Neolithic era—the chapter traces the development of single room homes through to complex Athenian and Roman houses. The chapter argues that while the ancients’ ideas of privacy were different to ours they were not as sharply opposed as some scholars have suggested. In the ancient world as much as the modern, the ability to protect personal privacy is a function of wealth and prevailing technologies.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Berg
    • 1
  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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