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Chairs, beds, and tables: evidence for furnished interiors in Hellenistic Greece.


This study presents the archaeological evidence for chairs, beds, and tables from excavated domestic and funerary contexts in Greece dating from the 4th to the 1st century B.C. The author's principal aim is to present and analyze the evidence for domestic furniture in its primary location, and to discuss issues related to the organization of interior space. Because tombs often preserve furniture and furnishings in good condition, the evidence they provide is carefully examined as well. Methodological issues concerning the limitations of textual and iconographic evidence and the state of publication of so-called minor objects are also addressed.



In the last two decades, the study of domestic complexes and household oikonomia has attracted a number of scholars who have turned their attention to household environments and daily life. Domestic architecture, the identification of space, and the analysis of gendered areas are all subjects of current scholarship. One area that has been considerably neglected, however, is the material record of furniture and furnishings found inside the house, the study of which promises to shed light on issues such as interior design, household organization, and the use of space. (1)

The term "furniture" is used in this study in the prevailing modern sense of movable, useful, or ornamental domestic objects. The term "furnishings" includes materials that cover furniture (e.g., bedding) and materials that metaphorically "drape" the house interior (e.g., curtains). I focus here on three groups of objects--chairs, beds, and tables--for which we have the most excavated material.

Gisela Richter, in her pioneering work on the furniture and furnishings of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans, presented a wealth of visual and literary sources related to the domestic interiors of the Archaic and Classical periods. (2) Women preparing for weddings, men seated on stools and playing table games, flying Erotes bringing boxes, and women weaving are only a few of the images that recur in Classical Greek iconography. Furniture and furnishings are often depicted in great detail on Classical vases, funerary stelai, and wall paintings, in both indoor and outdoor scenes. Ancient texts and inscriptions of the Classical period provide us with a vocabulary of furniture types. The archaeological record of excavated houses, however, is still largely unknown and raises a different set of questions and methodological problems. A closer look at the sources of information available for the study of furniture and furnishings will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each type of evidence and serve as a starting point for more detailed discussion.

The geographical focus of the present study is restricted to ancient Greece proper, and its chronological focus to the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods, from the 4th to the 1st century B.C. For comparanda, however, reference is made occasionally to furniture found in Asia Minor and Italy.

Literary Evidence

Contemporary literary sources for the furniture of Late Classical and Hellenistic Greece are extremely limited. Inscriptions concerning the sale of houses (mainly from 4th-century Olynthos and Tenos) provide information about the purchase of the property itself, but remain largely silent about the fate of the furniture within. (3) Although houses ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) are explicitly mentioned in these documents, there is very little reference to specific types of furniture sold or rented along with the houses, and absolutely no reference to furniture transacted separately. It is possible that a creditor who accepted portable items (e.g., furniture, woodwork, slaves) as security for a debt would have insisted on immediate possession. This might have prevented the debtor from including furniture as part of the transaction. On the other hand, debtors sometimes took advantage of the portability of furniture and furnishings; there are cases known from legal speeches in which a house was put up as security and the debtor was accused of running off with the furniture. (4)

Fifth-century B.C. philosophers occasionally mention furniture in the context of luxurious living, making derogatory remarks. In Plato's Republic, for example, Socrates identifies three common needs ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of the individual: food, dwelling, and clothing (Pl. Resp. 369d). In order for an individual to satisfy these needs, some degree of "cooperative interdependence" is needed--in other words, a "polls." Glaucon interrupts Socrates' speech to say that this description would fit a "city of pigs" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (372d). When the philosopher asks him what is missing, Glaucon replies, "What is customary ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), since people must recline on couches, if they are not to be uncomfortable, and dine from tables and have prepared dishes and sweetmeats, such as are now in use" (372d-e). Socrates observes that Glaucon is asking for a "luxurious, feverish, or inflamed polis" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). He admits that some will not be content with the simpler way of life that he advocates ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and that "couches ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and tables ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and other furniture ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) will have to be added thereto" (373a). Socrates continues with a description of such a luxurious city, where painters and embroiderers will have a place, in order to decorate the existing houses; they will require additional materials such as gold and ivory and, finally, more occupations will have to be added, such as dancers, musicians, artists, more servants, tutors, beauty-shop ladies, and physicians (373b). Ultimately, according to Socrates, this city will generate warfare.

The most extensive epigraphical sources of information about furniture also date to the 5th century B.C., the so-called Attic Stelai, the accounts of the confiscated property of Alcibiades and his followers. (5) Thought to be the earliest accounts of the Athenian officials called the poletai (sellers), (6) they record the sales of personal and real property of those convicted of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries and mutilating the Herms. The texts mention about 20 names, but it has been suggested that the property might have belonged to as many as 50 people. (7) Together they provide evidence for domestic objects and land in Attica, Euboia, Eretria, Thasos, Abydos, and the Troad.

In the surviving fragments of New Comedy and its chief 4th-century playwright, Menander, furniture is mentioned almost exclusively in the context of the kitchen and the amusing cooks who prepare the dinners and set the tables. Menander's Dyskolos implies that even wealthy households borrowed furniture from neighbors; Getas, the servant, asks Knemon repeatedly if he can borrow certain items in order to set up a symposium [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Men. Dys. 920-945).

Archestratos, a mid-4th-century B.C. poet from Gela, produced a culinary tour of the Mediterranean in the Hedupatheia, a work preserved in 340 hexameters in the Deipnosophistai of Athenaios. (8) It was Athenaios, writing in the 2nd century A.D., who for the first time in literature provided a comprehensive collection of the evidence for eating and drinking, and unlike the earlier authors on whom his work was based, he did not consider the sympotic lifestyle a distraction from philosophy. In contrast to Archestratos, Athenaios is much more interested in the listing of dining paraphernalia and furniture than in the food itself.

The two literary sources most often used by scholars to reconstruct furnished interiors thus fall at the beginning and end of the period under consideration: as noted, the detailed lists of furniture and furnishings in the Attic Stelai date to the 5th century B.C., while the descriptions of the luxurious settings of symposia in the work of the antiquarian Athenaios belong to the 2nd century A.D. Despite the wealth of information about the names and materials of furniture and furnishings in both sources, they are not contemporary with the archaeological evidence discussed in the present study, and matching the Greek terms with the excavated objects is problematic. Furthermore, the Attic Stelai record items from an unknown number of houses owned by Alcibiades and his followers, and Athenaios presents us with a compilation drawn from earlier texts and lexica once available in his patron's library. For these reasons, the use of these particular texts as evidence for furniture names and types requires caution.

Iconographic Evidence

Representations of furniture in Hellenistic art are largely limited to funerary stelai and wall paintings, especially those illustrating symposia. (9) Scholars have therefore turned to earlier representations of what are usually labeled "domestic scenes" or "wedding scenes" in vase painting for additional evidence. (10) Depictions on red-figure vases can be interpreted in many different ways, however, and the use of Classical Athenian iconography for the reconstruction of Hellenistic Macedonian interiors is not necessarily appropriate. Ancient iconography relies upon topoi, conventions that are rooted in tradition and do not always reflect contemporary reality. On the other hand, the visual material from vase painting is so rich that it cannot be disregarded. If nothing else, vase paintings clearly show the way that furniture was used, although with respect to the variety of furniture types and the richness of the materials employed, such representations cannot be treated as "photographs" of the houses of the elite. The various containers and different types of chairs depicted in "bridal" scenes, for instance, do not necessarily represent pieces of furniture that were customarily used by brides. A further question raised by these representations of furniture is the accuracy of the depictions: certain artists may have had an empirical knowledge of the craft of woodworking, while others did not. (11) Therefore, any attempt to create a systematic typology of Late Classical and He llenistic furniture styles based on iconography alone is inherently problematic, and the result is bound to be incomplete or incorrect.

Excavated Objects

The archaeological remains of furniture and furnishings present a different set of problems, including the state of publication of excavated domestic complexes and their dating, as well as the archaeological interpretation of site-formation processes. Scholars working on urban or household studies in Greece draw most of their information from multivolume publications dealing with specific sites (Olynthos, Delos, Eretria, Halieis, Halos). (12) Such volumes have significantly increased our archaeological knowledge of important areas where houses have been excavated. Although the main focus of these studies is architecture and pottery, most (but not all) of them also record movable objects other than pottery found inside the house.

Not all excavated objects appear in publications. A scholar is often faced with a select group of recorded finds. (13) Vases of any kind, coins, and recognizable metal objects are usually given preferential treatment, in contrast to "smaller" and unidentifiable pieces of furniture. This incomplete presentation has introduced biases into the published record, since certain categories of household objects are grouped under the title "minor objects," a label frequently used for small pieces of ivory, bronze, glass, or wood, and one that communicates a qualitative judgment. (14)

In this type of publication the "minor objects" are usually presented in catalogue form with information on their materials and dimensions alone. Stratigraphic location and dates are rarely given. The disassociation of the objects from their primary archaeological contexts (the rooms where they were found) has produced an irreversible result: no future scholar can ask any further questions about the material, since most of the information is presented as a list of objects separate from the rest of the study. Close stratigraphic analysis of late-19th- and early-20th-century excavations is impossible, since early excavation techniques often included the removal of successive passes of earth over a large area, up to one or two houses in extent at a time (as at Olynthos and Delos). (15) For these reasons, it is often impossible to tell whether an artifact was found on the floor of a room or in some other context, information essential for dating and analyzing small objects, which can easily be trampled into an earth floor. This issue is especially critical for Delos, where the chronological phases of house habitation, destruction or abandonment, and rehabitation are not yet clear, and the furniture fragments are recorded simply as lists of movable objects. (16)

The formation processes of domestic floor assemblages came to play a central role in the archaeological analysis of domestic environments only after the mid-1960s. Vincent LaMotta and Michael Schiffer have recently stressed the importance of natural and cultural formation processes and the fact that what is found on the floor "cannot simply be interpreted apriori as tool-kits or 'household inventories' related to activities of the habitation stage. (17) Earlier studies were based on the assumption that the variability in domestic floor assemblages was linked directly to the variability in human activities. Subsequently, scholars have stressed the lack of "fossilized" strata (the "Pompeii Premise") (18) and even have taken into account psychological parameters for the preservation or discarding of certain objects. (19)

For the reasons discussed above it is clear that we lack much information about the main body of excavated household objects, a fact that must be kept in mind when we attempt to compare sites, calculate statistics, or draw conclusions about the use of domestic space. One should be very careful, especially when comparing material from different sites, for two main reasons: every site has been excavated using different techniques, which are often not mentioned in the final publications, and different cultural processes have had a major impact on the number, location, and state of preservation of household objects in ways that were not always immediately understood by excavators . (20) A further point, closely associated with cultural processes, is the distinction between short-term (i.e., periodic or seasonal) and long-term social life. As Lin Foxhall has pointed out, in domestic environments "the aggregate of quotidian behaviours and activities can be most dramatically misinterpreted if their remains are read amorphously as a long-term trend. (21) As a result, fixed room functions and the gender or status of those who used the house cannot be easily deduced from the distribution of artifacts. What remains is a series of mixed messages spread unevenly on the ground.

Because of these issues involving methodology and the preservation of artifacts, this study can offer only general conclusions regarding the amount of furniture and furnishings in a house and the use of individual rooms. Elsewhere (as in nearly all the houses of Herculaneum, for example), rooms and sometimes entire household units and their contents have remained virtually unharmed, frozen in time, and, as a result, their furniture is well studied. (22) Greece offers quite a different picture. In all cases, however, patterns of artifact distribution do not necessarily correspond to the activities assigned to certain rooms, as Penelope Allison has proven in the case of Pompeian houses. (23) Such patterns are, however, useful for characterizing the range of material found in different locations. This is partly because easily movable objects, such as furniture, were moved around according to need in the multifunctional rooms of ancient houses.

If we narrow our focus to furniture and furnishings dated between the 4th and the 1st centuries B.C., we are faced with two further issues that affect the material presented in this study. First, the furniture found in tombs outnumbers the furniture excavated in domestic contexts. This pattern of preservation is a result of the materials used in construction. Funerary furniture is usually made of stone, and thus is likely to be preserved. On the other hand, many of the materials used for domestic furniture, particularly wood, are perishable and have not survived. It should be stressed, therefore, that our grounds for comparison between funerary and domestic spaces are limited. It is impossible to know the amount of perishable furniture used in daily life. Only a few examples of nonperishable parts of furniture, such as metal-sheathed legs or appliques for bed rests (fulcra), have been excavated from houses of the period. In addition, many sites with Hellenistic habitation were entirely rebuilt in later times, a process leading to the reuse of Hellenistic material. (24)

Second, although it might seem likely that nonperishable furniture was looted and reused in later times, there is no literary evidence to support this assumption. (25) Furniture is not mentioned, for example, among the booty obtained from Greek sites in descriptions of Roman triumphs. (26) Asian booty, by contrast, did include furniture. (27) One might argue that literary accounts of triumphs are neither accurate nor detailed lists of objects obtained from the enemy, but the distinction between Greek and Asian booty is significant. If furniture was worth carrying off from Asia, then why not from Greece?

There are two possible explanations for the absence of furniture from the Greek booty described in accounts of Roman triumphs: either there was not much luxurious furniture in Greek sanctuaries or houses to attract the eyes of Roman soldiers, or the sociopolitical reality of Rome in the 2nd century B.C., when most of the plundering of Greece took place, was different from that of the 1st century B.C., the period of the Asian conquests. Expensive furniture of a private nature worth carrying off to Rome might have been associated by the Romans with personal luxury and hence better received in the 1st century, when their own tastes had begun to change. It is impossible to estimate how much furniture might have been on display when the Romans came through Greece, or whether Greek furniture was famous outside Greece during the last centuries B.C.

Although evidence for furniture used in food preparation, food processing, weaving, storage, and personal hygiene is often found among the remains of Classical and Hellenistic houses in mainland Greece, I concentrate in this study on the "traditional" types of furniture (chairs, beds, and tables), and discuss the problems associated with their reconstruction based on the excavated material and literary evidence available. (28) Representations of furniture in other media are cited as necessary. The principal sites mentioned in the following discussion, especially those in western Macedonia, are indicated in Figure 1. In the text below, boldface numbers refer to the catalogue of excavated material at the end of each section.The catalogue presents those objects for which we have the most published information; other pieces of furniture, those mentioned in excavation reports only briefly and with limited accompanying information, are cited in the footnotes. Few of the domestic items presented here can be securely associated with a particular location within the house, a problem that needs to be stressed because it affects the conclusions one may draw from the rest of the evidence.



Literary Evidence


Archaeological Evidence: Domestic

The archaeological record of excavated houses does not help us define the terms encountered in the Attic Stelai: we possess only two fragments of seats from domestic areas of Delos (1, 2, Figs. 2, 3). (37) It is possible, however, that these were originally intended for theatrical use and that they migrated at some point from the nearby theater (an example of secondary or de facto refuse). Their form and the absence of other examples strengthens this view.


The fact that no seat fragments were found at Olynthos and no other seats have been reported from houses in the rest of Greece is intriguing. One may conclude that the vast majority of seats were made of perishable materials. The numbers, types, and sizes of perishable seats remain unknown.

Miniature seats form a separate, related group of objects. Fragments of two miniature seats have been found on the acropolis of Stageira in Macedonia (3, 4, Fig. 4). Full reconstruction is not possible. It is, however, very interesting to find miniature pieces of furniture in a domestic area, since miniature tables and seats had previously been found only in tombs, especially those of the Archaic period. (38) The fact that the two miniatures from Stageira are identical raises the possibility that they were produced in pairs. There is no reason not to regard them as simulacra of seats used in the domestic environment. (39)


Benches were probably more common in everyday life than seats of any other kind. (40) On Delos benches are found in the vestibules of temples and in the monumental exedras, but not in houses. (41) Possible exceptions are the recently published Insula of the Bronzes and House of the Seals, dated to the 2nd century B.C., where marble benches of a simple, undecorated form have been reconstructed (Fig. 5). (42) This, of course, does not preclude the use of wooden benches or chests for sitting in houses, although none has survived. (43)




1 Marble armchair Fig. 2

H. 1.30, W. 0.77 m. Simple in form, with curved back, plain sides, and lion's feet. Found on the south side of the courtyard in house C of insula 11 in the Theater Quarter (Delos XVIII, p. 6, pl. V:47).

2 Set of marble legs from a seat or bench Fig. 3

H. 0.33 m. The front of each support has been sculpted in the form of a lion's leg, with an indication of veins and muscles. Found in bathroom C in the House of Hermes, dated to the 2nd century B.C. (Marcad6 1953, p. 583, fig. 72). It was probably placed next to the wall.

Stageira (Chalkidiki)

3 Lead miniature model of a seat Fig. 4, left

P. dim. of seat 0.043 x 0.043 m; weight 30 g. The seat is represented as plaited; bosses on the horizontal and vertical frame of the back probably represent decorative nails. Found on the east side of the north hill and outside the east peribolos of the acropolis (Sismanidis 1999, p. 472, fig. 10). The excavator (pers. comm.) believes that the area may be either domestic or a workshop that produced such miniatures. It is certainly not from a tomb."


4 Lead miniature model of a seat Fig. 4, right

P. dim of seat 0.04 x 0.04 m; weight 40 g. Identical to 3 in shape and decoration, and found in the same area (Sismanidis 1998, p. 390, fig. 11).


Archaeological Evidence: Funerary

The preserved examples of seats from funerary contexts are more encouraging. Stools without backs, usually of silver or iron, have been found in early Roman tombs of Thrace.(45) Such stools are apparently called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the literary sources. (46) A predecessor of these diphroi was found in a 4thcentury tomb at Stavroupolis in Thessaloniki (5, Fig. 6); with its silver foil covering, it appears to correspond to the term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] found in inscriptions. (47)


Built diphroi are found in Macedonia and were used in tombs either for the placement of a vessel containing the ashes of the deceased or as tables for the placement of offerings. The built diphros in the tomb at Ayios Athanasios in Macedonia (6) has the form of a cube and was found in a chamber furnished with two beds.

Marble thrones are part of the funerary furniture of three Macedonian tombs (48) at Vergina (8-10) and one tomb at Eretria (11). (49) The bones of the deceased were usually kept in a box that was placed either in a cavity inside the seat of the throne or on top of it. Such thrones, which are found exclusively in tombs, might have indicated high status, but were not restricted to members of royalty: literary evidence and representations in art attest the use of thrones by nonroyals. (50) On the other hand, although the palace is the obvious area in which one would expect to find a throne, excavations of Macedonian palatial structures have not yet produced any throne fragments. (51) The lack of any evidence of thrones from the palatial structures of Pella and Vergina does not, of course, mean that the latter were devoid of such royal symbols, but rather that none has so far been discovered.

It has been suggested that the use of funerary thrones was a custom specific to female burials. (52) Apart from Macedonian tombs, evidence for this custom is provided by funerary stelai and reliefs (53) and by the inscriptions on the beds and thrones of a 4th-century B.C. tomb at Eretria. (54) Whether this custom was local or more widespread in Greece cannot be determined without further excavation and study. (55)


Stavroupolis, Thessaloniki

5 Parts of two legs and four transverse beams of a diphros(?) Fig. 6

Dim. 0.55 x 0.55 x 0.45 m; L. of beams 0.34 m each. The wooden parts, which have decomposed, were covered with silver foil. Found in a tomb dated to the 4th century B.c., before the foundation of the city by Cassander (Rhomiopoulou 1989, p. 215, no. 22, pl. 56:6; Besios 1995, p. 246).

Ayios Athanasios, Thessaloniki

6 Built diphros

H. 1 m. Built in the form of a cube set on a base in the corner of the tomb chamber, and coated with white stucco, in which the legs and the seat of the diphros are rendered in relief. Found in the Macedonian tomb discovered by Petsas (1969, p. 399), dated by Gossel (1980, p. 84, n. 446) to the second half of the 3rd century B.C. and by Miller (1970, p. 109) to the beginning of the same century. No photograph published.

7 Remains of a wooden diphros(?)

Traces of the legs of a piece of furniture made of perishable materials, placed in the northwest corner of the tomb chamber. Found in the Macedonian tomb of Ayios Athanasios 111, dated to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2005, p.105).


8 Marble throne

H. 2.01, W. 1.18 m. Set on a rectangular podium. The four legs, rectangular in section, carry relief decoration. The two armrests are supported by sphinxes. The left side is decorated with two griffins attacking a deer, and the high back with a painting of Pluto and Persephone in a chariot. A marble footstool with relief and painted decoration was placed in front. Found in tomb VIII at Vergina ("Tomb of Eurydike") and dated by the excavators to 340 B.C. (Andronikos 1989, p. 375; 1988, pp. 82-83).

9 Marble throne

The unique characteristic of this throne is the fact that it has no back; instead, a representation of a backrest has been painted on the wall behind it. The artist painted the sections of the "back" of the throne in white (possibly in imitation of marble) and the spaces between them in red. In front of the throne was a footstool, presumably also of marble, with the impressions of two feet on its upper surface. Found in tomb VI at Vergina ("Bella Tumulus") and dated to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. (Andronikos 1984, pp. 36-37).

10 Marble throne

H. 1.98 m. The back of the throne is divided into nine rectangular parts, arranged horizontally in groups of three; the arms rest on sphinxes. A marble footstool bears a painting of two griffins attacking a deer. Found in tomb I at Vergina ("Rhomaios's Tomb"), dated to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. (Rhomaios 1951, p. 40, fig. 18; Andronikos 1984, pp. 32-33; Sismanidis 1997, pp. 171-174).



11 Three marble thrones

Dim. throne A: 0.80 x 0.80 x 0.65 m; throne B: 0.93 x 0.76 x 0.45 m; throne C: 1.00 x 0.75 x 0.45 m. Throne A has four flat feet; the back is not preserved. This throne is decorated with double volutes, palmettes, and acanthus leaves. The names of two women are inscribed on the lower taenia. Throne B bears a painting of a female figure standing between two animals, a panther to her right and a griffin to her left. Under the painted decoration a female name is inscribed. Throne C has a form of a box with lion's feet. The seat of the throne, made of a thin marble slab, imitates the lid of a box. On the front of the throne, below two rosettes in relief, a female name is inscribed. Under the inscription there are two wreaths in relief, in one of which the same name is inscribed a second time. The excavator has suggested that the tomb may have belonged to three generations. Found in a 4th-century B.C. chamber tomb (Kourouniotis 1899, pp. 222-234; Vollmoeller 1901, pp. 347-364, pls. XIII:b [throne A], XIII:a [throne C], XIV [throne B]).


As far as we know, there is no difference in form or construction between furniture used for sleeping and that used for eating. Greeks reclined during meals and probably slept on the same pieces of furniture after meals. There is no explicit evidence to indicate that, of the beds mentioned below, any one particular type was used for sleeping or feasting alone, as in the case of the Roman lectus and grabat(ul)us. (56) Whether of wood, straw, or marble, all beds were used as couches during feasts. For simplicity, however, I translate the Greek term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], as well as its derivatives and synonyms, as "bed" (rather than "bed/couch") throughout the following discussion. The items that probably served as children's beds (baskets or mangers) were made of perishable materials and are not generally represented in excavations. (57)

Literary Evidence

The literary evidence for beds is particularly rich. Terms for beds range from the Homeric [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to the Classical [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII],(58) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (59) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (60) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (61) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (62) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (63) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (64) and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (65) Unique is the type of bed with tables that could be pulled out from beneath it. (66) We also hear of beds with turned legs decorated with sphinxes ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (67) and beds with two risers ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (68) The latter type is still unknown in the archaeological record, with the possible exception of the recently published bed from Macedonian tomb III at Ayios Athanasios (22).

Terms for parts of beds are also known: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (the bedstead), [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (interlacings), and of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (legs). In the written testimonia wood is the most common material for the frame and the legs. (69) Decorations of precious materials are sometimes mentioned: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (70) (tortoiseshell interlacings), [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (71) (a bed with silver feet), [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (72) (gilt silver feet), or [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (73) (gold beds with feet decorated with sphinxes). Gold and silver couches appear more often in the sources of the Hellenistic period, used by figures such as Alexander and Ptolemy II; in earlier periods such costly couches are offerings listed in temple inventories, never domestic items (with the exception of the property of Alcibiades in the Attic Stelai).

Literary and epigraphical sources often mention "Chian" and "Milesian" beds. (74) These beds were probably renowned, since they are frequently cited in temple inventories and in the Attic Stelai. A "Milesian bed," according to Caroline Ransom, had rectangular legs and engravings and was distinguished in the 5th century for its elegance and richness. (75) She believes that the name indicates an Asiatic origin. It is, however, impossible to say with any degree of certainty whether these adjectives refer to the location of the beds' production, to their style, or to the origin of their artists.

Similarly, the "Delian beds" that appear in modern scholarship are not explicitly mentioned in any of the ancient sources, either literary texts or inscriptions. The assumption is based on a passage of Pliny (HN 33.144) in which he mentions the "Delian pattern" (Deliaca specie) of the banqueting couches owned by a certain Carvilius Pollio. The vague phrase Deliaca specie has been interpreted as evidence of a bed factory on the island, (76) although there is, thus far, no other textual evidence to support it. The passage is nevertheless significant in that it illustrates the way in which certain geographically defined styles lend their names to manufactured products.

What Pliny is clearly referring to in this passage is the bronze used for the feet and the head- or footrests (fulcra) of dining couches. (77) Since no sources of copper are yet attested on Delos, the meaning of the phrase "Delian bronze" is not entirely straightforward, but Pliny is probably referring to objects either manufactured on the island or imported and assembled there. (78) Carvilius Pollio, according to Pliny, was the first person to own silver-plated banqueting couches, but those couches were not of the "Delian pattern," by which he may mean that they did not conform to the fine style and appearance of the bronze-plated beds that customarily furnished the houses on the island. Thus, the name "Delian" might denote the local manufacture of furniture parts, the importation and assembly of pieces on Delos, or a general trend in the style of furniture on the island, regardless of where it was made.

What we actually know of bed manufacturers and bed workshops is limited to a few sources: Plato selects the maker of couches as an illustration of a "typical craftsman" and suggests that couch making was a trade distinct from chair making; while a true workshop with 20 couch makers belonged to Demosthenes' father, who had a stock of couch timbers and ivory, possibly for their decoration. (79) Workshops such as the one owned by Demosthenes' father may have existed in many Greek cities. Plato gives a variety of names for bed makers ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), (80) and specialized technicians who made parts of beds (fulcra, feet, frames) possibly existed as well.


The excavation of houses on Delos has produced only fragments that might be attributed to beds, such as a set of bell-shaped hollow "tubes" of bronze that might have belonged to bed legs (12, Fig. 7). (81) The only secure example of a bronze bed leg comes from the House of the Seals (13, Fig. 8). (82) Beds are also mentioned in the inventories of sanctuaries and the inscriptions of hestiatoria, or dining areas. (83)


One part of the bed that often survives and is recovered in excavations is the fulcrum, the arm- or headrest. (84) The beds depicted in two red-figure vase paintings of the 5th century B.C. clearly show that the fulcrum was an independent component. (85) The backs of these fulcra, in both the 5thcentury prototypes and later bronze beds, consisted of wooden railings. Helmut Kyrieleis suggests that wood was used almost exclusively for Greek beds until at least the middle of the 4th century B.C., based on the paucity of references to metal furniture in contemporary literary sources." There are many literary references to gold and silver couches, (87) but, as Kyrieleis points out, only one source mentions such metals in connection with Greek furniture before the Hellenistic period. (88) The extant fulcra from Hellenistic Greece range in date from the 3rd to the 1st century B.C.

On Delos, the quarter of Skardhana has yielded fragments of two or three fulcra from beds dated on archaeological grounds no earlier than the second quarter of the 1st century B.C. (14). (89) This is so far the only secure evidence of beds in a Delian context other than the parts of legs mentioned above.

In the excavations at Pella three entire fulcra have been discovered (15-17). Two of them were found in domestic areas and are dated between the end of the 3rd century B. c. and the end of the 1st. The third was found in 1983 in a building complex near a small temple, north of the agora and south of the acropolis, together with other bronze implements that may suggest a bestiatorion. (90)

Finally, five clay objects found on the northwest side of the south insula at Pella have been interpreted by the excavators as molds for bronze fittings, possibly for fulcra (18, Fig. 9). (91) A detailed study led to the conclusion that they are molds used to produce bronze objects in the "lost wax" technique. (92) Since these molds are intact, and thus never used, the area in which they were found has been interpreted as the storage area of a metalworking shop.


Fulcra often had ivory ornaments on their frames. (93) The head of an ivory satyr wearing a wreath was found in the Athenian Agora in 1957, in a cistern abandoned by the first half of the 2nd century B.C. (19, Fig. 10). (94) Its concave lower edge would fit the frame of a fulcrum panel.

The absence of stone beds from houses maybe the result of poor preservation and reuse of nonperishable materials, or of the fact that wood or other perishable materials were more common. We often read of planked beds ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (95) and beds repaired or manufactured for certain sanctuaries.

While traces of domestic beds are lacking, public dining areas (hestiatoria) are usually a good source for comparanda. Three examples may be mentioned. Two rooms with stucco sills for the placement of beds were unearthed in the circular structure at Pella (Kanali area), a building dating to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. and interpreted as a hestiatorion. (97) Fragments of beds, each cut from a single large poros block, are preserved in the late-4th-century abaton of the Asklepieion at Corinth. (98) Finally, in the recently excavated building complex at Mieza (north of modern Naousa), glass decoration from beds was found in the rooms that served as a hestiatorion. (99) The building is dated to the second half of the 4th century B.C. This is the only known evidence of wooden beds decorated with glass from a nonfunerary context.

The number of couches in a domestic room varies in the literary and archaeological sources. Pollux records rooms with three, five, and ten couches (Poll. 1.79). Athenaios records dining rooms with three, four, seven, and nine couches (Ath.1.47e-f). Plutarch records a dining room of 30 couches, an indication of luxury (Plut. Mor. 679b). References to luxuriously decorated and spacious rooms in terms of the numbers of couches that they can accommodate are not infrequent in literature, especially in the Hellenistic period, (100) but none of the sources refers to such opulence in Greece, with two notable exceptions: Diodorus's account of Alexander's tent at Dion (Diod. Sic. 17.16.4; Ath.12.538c) and Karanos's wedding banquet in Macedonia (Ath. 4.128c-130d).



12 Bell-shaped hollow "tubes" of bronze Fig. 7

H. ca. 0.03-0.10; Diam. 0.055 m. Fragmentary, but interpreted as bed feet (Delos XVIII, p. 2, inv. B 1258, pl. V:50-51).

13 Bronze bed foot Fig. 8

Traces of wood are reported to have been found attached to the bed foot. Found in the House of the Seals (Delos XXXVIII, p. 91, pl. 42:4; Siebert 1976, p. 814, figs. 24,25). The proposed chronology by Siebert for the excavated houses of the insula of Skardhana falls within the 2nd century B.C., although the remains of habitation extend well into the Imperial period.

14 Fragments of two or three bronze fulcra

The fragments represent the busts of two Silenoi (H. 0.68 and 0.43 m) and the head of a mule (H. 0.28 m). It has been suggested by Siebert that one Silenos and the mule belong to one fulcrum and the other Silenos to a second fulcrum, both decorated by the same artist. Found in the quarter of Skardhana and dated on archaeological grounds not earlier than the second quarter of the 1st century B.C. (Siebert 1973, pp. 559-561; Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 26).


15 Bronze fulcrum

H. 0.085 m (bust). Bears the head of a mule and a bust of Dionysos holding a kantharos. According to Oikonomos, an eagle that was found with them is not part of the same fulcrum, but could be reconstructed on one of the lower beams of the bed. Found in a house destroyed during the Roman conquest of 168 B.C. (Oikonomos 1914, pp. 141-143, figs. 7, 8;1926; Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 53, no. C82, and p. 20, n. 18). The mule and the bust of Dionysos are dated by Faust (1989, pp. 41-42, nos. 16, 88) to the 2nd-1st century B.C., and by Barr-Sharrar (1987, p. 53, no. C82) to the first quarter of the 2nd century B.C.

16 Bronze fulcrum

H. 0.085 m (bust). Decorated with a bust of Dionysos of the Apollo Lykeios type, reclining and holding a kantharos in his left hand. Found in the north house of insula III (Makaronas 1963, p. 209, pl. 237:a, b; Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 52, no. C80). Dated by Barr-Sharrar to ca. 210-200 B.C.

17 Bronze fulcrum

H. 0.075 m (bust). Decorated with a nude male bust wearing a garland or diadem of laurel leaves. Found in a building complex near a small temple north of the agora and south of the acropolis, along with other bronze implements sug gesting a dining area, possibly a hestiatorion (Lilimbaki-Akamati 1986, pls. 52-54; Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 76, no. C171 his). Dated by Barr-Sharrar to the last quarter of the 3rd century or the first quarter of the 2nd century B.C.

18 Five clay molds Fig. 9

H. 0.13-0.14; Diam. (base) 0.067-0.085 m. Found on the northwest side of the south insula and interpreted by the excavators as molds for bronze fittings, possibly for fulcra (Lilimbaki-Akamati 1998b; 1999, pp. 193-194, figs. 1-4). (101)


19 Ivory head of a wreathed satyr Fig. 10

H. 0.10 m. Found in a cistern in the Athenian Agora and believed to be a fulcrum attachment (Thompson 1958, p. 159; Hill 1963, pl. 78:b). The cistern was abandoned by the first half of the 2nd century B.C.

Archaeological Evidence: Funerary

A recent, comprehensive study by Kostas Sismanidis has presented the beds and bed-shaped structures (sarcophagi, cists, and rectangular bases) from Macedonian tombs. (102) According to Sismanidis, 48 beds were uncovered in 35 Macedonian tombs, the largest group of furniture preserved. Seventeen of the tombs had stone beds with painted or relief decoration or no decoration at all; five tombs had wooden beds; eight tombs had sarcophagi-beds; (103) and five tombs had a structure commonly interpreted as the base for a wooden bed. (104) These numbers are growing rapidly with the discovery of additional furnished tombs.

Beds and bed-shaped structures have been found in the principal chambers of Macedonian tombs. From the material studied by Sismanidis it is apparent that the number of chambers inside a tomb is unrelated to the number of beds and that the positioning of the beds does not recall the arrangement for a symposium. (105)

Funerary beds are either of stone or wood. Sismanidis believes that wooden beds may have been more common than the numbers actually found in Macedonian tombs would suggest. (106) In general, traces of wooden beds are common inside cist or pit graves. (107) In Macedonian tombs, however, the choice of material is also closely connected to the funerary rites: stone beds mainly accommodated inhumations, while wooden beds received cremations. Both burial practices are attested side-by-side throughout the period covered by the present study. Stone beds are usually of poros, coated with white stucco, although white marble was used in few cases. (108) Marble beds are not stuccoed, except in the case of the two beds found in tomb I at Pydna. (109) Conglomerate beds form a much smaller group. (110)

The arrangement of stone beds in Macedonian tombs might be indicative of the arrangement in a house. If this is true, it is worth noting that the funerary beds were usually placed adjacent to the back wall of the chamber with a space left next to the bed. Sismanidis assumes that this space was used for a wooden offering table of the sort described by Arrian (Anab. 6.29.6). (111) Three beds placed in a [PI]-shaped arrangement (along both sides and the back) are recorded from a looted chamber tomb at Derveni and dated by a few remaining offerings to the 2nd century B.C. (112) Domestic beds, when more than one was placed in a room (a sympotic arrangement), could have been placed in either a [PI]-shaped or a [GAMMA]-shaped arrangement (along one side and the back). Yet another possibility is presented by the recently published Macedonian tomb at Foinikas in Thessaloniki (40), where the wooden beds are placed on pedestals in a parallel arrangement, to the right and left of the entrance, with one side close to the wall. (113) The arrangement of funerary (or domestic) beds was most likely dictated by the dimensions of the room, its function, and the rest of the furniture. Smaller rooms with more than one bed and space restrictions may have favored the [GAMMA]-shaped arrangement; larger rooms may have preferred the parallel arrangement with space left between them, as in many modern Western bedrooms.

Beds normally received the body of the deceased or, in the case of cremation burials, the ashes, which were placed in precious larnakes. (114) The bed in tomb III at Vergina (the so-called Tomb of Philip) is unique in that it held the weapons of the deceased. (115)

Funerary beds of any material are, on average, 2 m in length and 1 m in height and width. (116) It is worth noting that the average length of the funerary beds is less than the estimated length of the couches in public buildings, while depictions on red-figure vases may represent beds greater than 1 m in height, since footstools accompany the majority of them. Monumental stone beds of considerably larger dimensions have been found in three tombs (at Angista, Pella, and Nea Kerdyllia) (117) and monumental sarcophagi in four others (Thessaloniki II, Vergina VII, Langadas I, and Dion IV). (118) Unique is the example of the marble bed in tomb I at Dion, for which the width is sufficient to accommodate two people lying next to each other (a "double bed"). (119) Stone footstools accompany the beds in some Macedonian tombs, (120) while others are rendered in paint. (121)

A question that arises from the discussion of movable funerary beds is how closely they were associated with the beds found in domestic settings, and whether the same beds were used by their owners during life and then placed in their tombs after death. Manolis Andronikos believed that the elaborate bed in tomb III at Vergina was used by its owner in life. (122) On the other hand, Sismanidis believes that the bed was made specifically for the tomb, but he stresses that the evidence is by no means conclusive. (123) One of the reasons for his conclusion is that the Dionysiac iconography of the decorative frieze of the bed (Fig. 11) is generally found only on funerary biers. The iconography of Dionysos has been interpreted as an allusion to an eternal banquet in the afterlife, and the appearance of the mule in such scenes as an allusion to the "mystic trip" to the other world. (124) However, there is also evidence of Dionysiac decoration on the fulcra of the beds from Pella (15, 16, and possibly 17), discussed above and found in a domestic context, as well as in the decoration of domestic houses, such as the mosaic in the House of Dionysos at Pella. (125) This imagery was certainly readable on more than one level: it alludes to drinking and revelry, both in life and in the afterlife.


The use and decoration of the beds found in tombs are definitely indicative of their use and decoration in life, although the role played by elaborately decorated wooden or stone beds in everyday life will remain unknown until more examples from domestic contexts come to light. The choice of materials certainly depended in part on what was available: wood, for example, was readily available in the north of Greece, but less so in the south. (126) Demosthenes had a stock of ivory in his bed factory for a clientele that wanted something more than a simple wooden bier. (127) There is no evidence of specialized workshops that produced beds with gold and ivory decoration. We do not know whether the exquisite gold decoration on the wooden bed in the "Tomb of Philip" at Vergina was the work of specialized jewelers, or whether the finest of Plato's "typical craftsmen" (the couch makers) were also capable of applying such decoration to their products when asked.

The simplest form of a funerary bed remains a wooden stretcher placed either directly on the ground or on the stone bed of the tomb. Wooden stretchers are common in the 2nd-century B.C. rock-cut tombs of Veroia, where the remains of wood and iron wedges are recorded, and reconstruction has been attempted by the excavators (Fig. 12). (128) Other examples include the biers from the tombs of the Ambelakia tumulus at Orestiada, dated to the end of the 1st/beginning of the 2nd century A.D.; (129) from tumulus B at Aineia, dated to the third quarter of the 4th century B .c.; (130) and from the Hellenistic tombs of Samos. (131)


Finally, in one exceptional case at Veroia, organic material of either leather or cloth is preserved along with the remains of wood. (132) It is possible that the deceased was placed on a wooden bier with a leather or cloth covering. Nails for securing such a cover to the wooden frame of the funerary bed are recorded from the Macedonian tomb at Foinikas in Thessaloniki (see below, 40). (133)

Since the beds from funerary contexts have been published by Sismanidis in an exemplary manner, the following catalogue includes only those beds or parts of beds found in Macedonian tombs after the publication of his study, together with beds from non-Macedonian tombs and areas outside Macedonia, which Sismanidis deliberately omitted. Descriptions are based on the excavation reports, where the furniture is often summarily treated; dimensions are given where published. (Examples of other wooden beds, attested only by pieces of decoration or traces of their feet on the floor, are cited in the notes to the preceding discussion.)



20 Fragments of bed decoration

Among the "numerous" fragments of ivory decoration recorded by the excavators are elongated, meander-shaped, leaf-shaped, and curved pieces, as well as ivy leaves and rosettes. Found in one of the pit graves in the area of Xyrovrisi (Kallintzi 1998, p. 450). The cremation burial is dated by the contents of the tomb to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.

Ayios Atbanasios (Tbessaloniki)

21 Fragments of bed decoration

Fragments of four Gorgons with painted details, gilded stucco, and beads are mentioned from the bed in tomb T11 (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1997a, p. 252). In tomb T16 were found gilded clay figures representing reclining gods and goddesses, griffins, and warriors (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1997a, pp. 253-254, figs. 7, 8). Tomb T20 produced fragments of glass beads, stucco Gorgons, and gilded clay plaques with sphinxes and griffins (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1997a, p. 256). All four tombs are dated to the 4th century B.C.

22 Fragments of decoration from a possible [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

Inlaid ivory figures and at least 18 glass plaques with silver-gilt figures from the decoration of a wooden bed. Found in Macedonian tomb III, dated to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1997b, p. 432; 2005, pp. 104105, 161-165, fig. 21, pl. 48:b).

23 Fragments of bed decoration

Twenty-nine bronze nails, gilded stucco fragments, and glass decoration from a wooden bed. The main figured decoration consists of various ivory fragments of human figures, some of which preserve color. Found in a chamber tomb and dated to the end of the 4th century B.C. (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2000, pp. 563-566).


24 Fragments of bed decoration

Ivory fragments with incisions and small human heads in relief. Found in the Macedonian tomb of tumulus B at Korinos, south of Pydna, and dated to the end of the 4th century B.C. (Besios 1994, p. 177).


25 Fragments of bed decoration

Thin iron plates, nails, ivory pieces, and glass plaques and rosettes. Found in a robbing trench east of the Macedonian tomb at Giannitsa, north of Pella, and dated to the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. (Chrysostomou 1997, p. 127).

Dafni (Thrace)

26 Fragments of bed decoration

Found in a cist grave at Dafni, northwest of Didymoteicho (Triantafyllos and Terzopoulou 1997, p. 935). No further information has been published.


27 Fragments of bed decoration

The preserved pieces include an ivory statuette of a naked woman (Aphrodite?) with a circular hole on the bottom, a hemispherical ivory object with spiral decoration that might belong to a box, and three glass fragments, possibly from the legs of a wooden bed. Found in the antechamber of the "Tomb of Judgment" (Stefani 2000, p. 419). The burial in the antechamber is dated by the pottery to ca. 300 B.C.


28 Fulcrum with a bust of Artemis

H. 0.12 m. The bust was originally gilded and both eyes were inlaid with silver. Found in a tomb dated to the 3rd century B.C. (Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 45, no. C50).

29 Two poros blocks from a bed

The bed consisted of two poros blocks covered with off-white stucco. The remains of the deceased and the funerary offerings were found on the bed. The walls of the cist grave were decorated with a painted scene depicting two females. Found in cist grave 1, in the east cemetery, dated from the contents to the second half of the 4th century B.C. (Malama 2003, p. 120).


30 Poros funerary bed

Found in an underground chamber tomb of the 4th century B.C. on Cheliotomylos hill, northwest of the city (Robinson 1962, p. 133).


31 Fragments of bed decoration

Remains of ivory, glass, and stucco decoration from a wooden bed, including the head of a griffin, an acanthus leaf, a flat-shaped leaf, part of an Ionic relief, fragments of other reliefs, two square glass plaques from the leg of the bed, and various stucco fragments from the decoration of the frieze. Found in tomb I, tumulus A, dated to the end of the third quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Vokotopoulou 1990, pp. 19-20, pls. 9:[alpha], [gamma], 10:[alpha]).

32 Fragments of bed decoration

Fragments of ivory figures, architectural reliefs, and floral motifs. Found in tomb II, tumulus A, dated to the third quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Vokotopoulou 1990, pp. 28-30, fig. 8, pls. 17:[delta],18:[alpha]-[delta], 19:[alpha], [gamma], [epsilon]).

33 Fragments of bed decoration

Ivory and glass fragments from the decoration of a wooden bed. Found in tomb III, tumulus A, dated to the beginning of the third quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Vokotopoulou 1990, p. 71, nos. 60-62, figs. 42:[beta], 43:[alpha]).

34 Fragments of bed decoration

Fragments include ivory, bone, and glass decoration from the leg of a wooden bed. Iron nails from the bier were also found among the remains. Found in tomb IV, tumulus B, dated to the late third quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Vokotopoulou 1990, pp. 83-84, nos. 10-16, fig. 43, pls. 51-53).

Paionia (Kilkis)

35 Fragments of bed decoration

Fragments of glass and bone decoration from a wooden bed. Found in tumulus B at Paionia, in the district of Kilkis (Savvopoulou 1995, p. 427, fig. 3). The tomb is probably to be dated to the end of the 4th century B.C.

Sedes (Thessaloniki)

36 Fragments of bed decoration

Dim. 1.70 x 0.80 x 0.50 m. The bed was made of unbaked brick, stuccoed and decorated. Various fragments of glass decoration are reported. Bone fragments of various shapes and sizes (including a gilded relief of Persephone) might have belonged to the bed and not to boxes, as suggested by the excavator (Kotzias 1937, pp. 886-887, figs. 21-23). Found in tomb [GAMMA], dated by the excavator between 320 and 305 B.C. (Kotzias 1937, pp. 875-876, 886-890).


37 Three frit casings from bed legs Fig. 13

Total H. 0.295 m. Made of frit, a material similar to faience. The legs of the wooden funerary bed passed through the holes in the center of each piece of sheathing. Three sets of decoration can be distinguished, showing strong Near Eastern influence. This is a unique form of decoration for funerary beds in Greece. Found in a cist grave in the east cemetery, dated to the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. (Lilimbaki-Akamati 1989, figs. 1, 2). (131)



38 Stuccoed stone-built bed

Dim. 2.30 x 0.90 x 0.40-0.52 m. The bed is stuccoed, with representations of two pillows. It was placed on the eastern side of the tomb chamber, and the remains of a man were found upon it. Found in the Macedonian tomb at Kotroni (Karapaschalidou 1989, p. 20), dated to the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 3rd century B.C.

39 Two stone beds

Dim. 1.60 x 0.80 m (bed 1);1.68 x 0.85 m (bed 2). Both are decorated with carved representations of a mattress and pillows, and both are inscribed with male names. Found in a 4th-century B.C. chamber tomb (Vollmoeller 1901, pp. 333-376).

Foinikas (Thessaloniki)

40 Fragments of bed decoration

The decoration of two wooden beds placed on pedestals includes glass rosette leaves, rectangular plaques, "eyes" of various shapes, bronze nails, silver-gilt nails (possibly for securing a leather cover or cloth to the wooden frame), and ivory fragments of a multifigured scene. A third bed was placed in the chamber at a later date and was also decorated with ivory. Found in a Macedonian tomb (tomb VI) dated to the beginning of the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1988, pp. 261-262; 2005, pp. 39-44, 70-71, 75-79, pls. 19-21).


On top of the bed's interlacings (the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the inscriptions) one should envision mattresses, covers, and pillows. Funerary beds are often decorated with carved mattresses, pillows, and bedclothes; examples are known from a wide range of sites and represent our best source of information about Hellenistic bed furnishings. (135) One of the best iconographic representations of furnishings on beds is the exceptional wall painting found in the 4th-century B.C. tomb III at Ayios Athanasios. (136) The depiction of six symposiasts reclining on beds with colorful covers preserves a number of interesting details. Each symposiast rests with his left arm on a pillow and seems to be covered by a blanket or a sheet. In front of the beds are three serving tables, one for each pair of symposiasts. No rugs or mats are depicted. The favorite color appears to be purple and matching colors are used for the pillows and the sheets.


The evidence for bedclothes that has survived in the Attic Stelai (137) and the texts of Pollux (138) and Athenaios (139) is striking. Pollux in particular gives a long list of epithets for bedclothes ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]): [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In Athenaios we read of sweet-smelling ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and rose-smelling covers ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (140) The most common terms for mattresses are [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and for bedclothes [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Pollux says that bedclothes were made of wool, linen, or animal skins, (141) Feathers, wool, or even dry leaves served as filling. (142) Pillows are known as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (143) Leather pillows ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) are mentioned in the Attic Stelai, (144) and Pollux specifically mentions wool, leather, and linen pillows. (145) A reference to linen pillows ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) is also preserved in the Delian inventories. (146) A [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (weaver of cushion covers) is mentioned by Pollux. (147)

Athenaios (6.255e) describes the luxurious lifestyle of a young man who had three pillows under his head and two under his feet. Propertius (2.13.12, 4.5.24) and Pliny (HN 8.196) refer to "Attalid embroidery," a name explained by Pliny's observation that gold embroidery was invented in Asia by King Attalos. Pliny also mentions that the fabric called damask (polymita in Latin), which was woven from a number of threads,

was introduced from Alexandria (HN 8.196).

According to the rich literary and iconographic evidence, textiles were very common in everyday life. Both male and female weavers are attested. (148) Textiles covered furniture and decorated the walls and ceilings of domestic interiors, valances hung from the edges of bed frames, pillows and mattresses made sitting and sleeping more comfortable, and curtains divided rooms and changed interior organization when necessary. (149) Cloth does not normally survive in Greece, but a handful of textiles have been found in tombs, where the conditions are favorable for the preservation of perishable materials.


The only trace of furnishings found in direct association with a bed in Greece was "a substance that gives an impression of wool or feathers," found in the "Tomb of Philip" at Vergina. (150) This was probably the remains of a mattress or a feather pillow ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), such as those described by Pollux (6.9-11,10.36-43).

Of the seven surviving pieces of textile that fall within the chronological limits of this study, six were used to wrap the remains of the deceased or the vessel that housed the remains (41-46), and one covered the ceiling of a tomb (47). (151) They are direct evidence of the multiple uses of textiles, their fabrics, and their styles.


Koropi (Attica)

41 Ten fragments of fine linen cloth

All of the fragments are colored a shade of green. Five were once embroidered, five were plain, three bear the impression of the embroidered pattern, and one has a selvage. The design is a diaper pattern with walking lions, their tails uplifted and their forepaws raised in salutation. (152) Spectroscopic analysis has indicated the presence of silver and gold in the textile, the fiber core of which may have been silk or linen. Said to have come from a tomb at Koropi and dated by associated pottery to the end of the 5th or the 4th century B.C. Now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Beckwith 1954).

Athens, Kerameikos

42 Piece of silk cloth

Found in a bronze vessel inside a sarcophagus (Kubler 1936, pp. 188-190, fig. 16; Knigge 1988, pp. 109-110, no. 17). (153) It covered the remains of the deceased (possibly the granddaughter of Alcibiades). Dated to the end of the 5th or in the 4th century B.C.


43 Embroidered piece of cloth

Dim. 0.410 x 0.615 x 0.285 m. Embroidered with gold and porphyry-colored thread, possibly on woolen fabric. The shape of the cloth itself is trapezoidal; the running motif on the border is a meander and the central design is a synthesis of floral motifs. Found in the antechamber of tomb III ("Tomb of Philip") at Vergina, inside a golden larnax along with the remains of the deceased (Andronikos 1984, pp. 191-192; Drougou 1987).


44 Group of gold threads

Found in the 2nd-century B.C. Macedonian tomb B at Pella. It covered the remains of a woman (Chrysostomou 1998a, p. 31, no. 6, fig. 15).

Ayios Athanasios (Thessaloniki)

45 Gold-porphyry textile

Presumably woven of gold and porphyry-colored thread. A meander design is said to be slightly visible. Found in a chamber tomb, inside a silver-plated box (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2000, p. 549).

Elliniko (Attica)

46 Linen cloth

The mineralized fragments of the cloth were found under the neck of a bronze hydria, which had been placed inside a stone kalpis. The cloth was wrapped around the center of the hydria only and no remains were found inside the vessel. Analysis has shown that the cloth is linen, with 24 threads per cm. Found in the 4th-century B.C. cemetery at Elliniko (Spantidaki and Moulh6rat 2004, p. 6; figs. 7-10). (154)

Sedes (Thessaloniki)

47 Multicolored piece of cloth

A very small piece of cloth (0.01-0.02 m), with off-white, blue, and red coloring, is reported to have been found in the late 4th-century B.C. tomb [GAMMA] at Sedes in Thessaloniki, where it covered the wooden ceiling of the tomb (Kotzias 1937).


Literary Evidence

The literary record includes the following terms for tables: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (155) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (156) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (157) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (158) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (159). Such tables could be made entirely or partly of maple wood, (160) citrus wood, wicker, (161) or ivory, (162) and plated with silver or gold. (163) As in the case of other pieces of furniture, they were possibly quite light in weight so that they could be moved around as needed. (164) According to W. Kendrick Pritchett, there is no specific literary reference to a round table earlier than the 1st century B C. (165) The tables listed simply as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the Attic Stelai were probably rectangular, three-legged, and of a small size that could fit under a couch. (166) Interestingly enough, the term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] does not necessarily mean a round table. (167)

Delian temple inventories mention tables as dedications, (168) tables for the placement of offerings, (169) and tables that may have served as mobilier du culte. (170) The tables mentioned in the Delian inscriptions of the Hieropoioi were of precious materials, such as silver, (171) bronze, (172) or wood covered with silver. (173) Some fragments of tables found in sanctuaries are inscribed. (174)

In the Attic Stelai a curious figure associated with the setting of the table and the organization of the symposium is the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (175) Reference to this profession is also found in Athenaios, (176) Menander, (177) and the later lexicographers Hesychios and Photius. According to Hesychios, "a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is not the cook but the person who attends to the symposia. (178) Athenaios, on the other hand, quoting the 4th-century comic poet Antiphanes, describes him as one of the cooks "who washes the dishes, prepares the lamps, performs the libations, and does everything else that is appropriate." (179) Photios specifies his duties at the symposium (preparing the tables, the utensils, the libations, and the music). (180)

Table making is even mentioned as a hobby: Plutarch in his life of Demetrios tells us that Aeropos the Macedonian used to spend his leisure time making little tables or lampstands. (181) He is probably referring to King Aeropos II, who reigned in the beginning of the 4th century B.C. (182)

Archaeological Evidence: Domestic

Richter, in her treatment of tables, asserts that "tables with the Greeks had much fewer uses than with us." (183) In vase paintings and funerary wall paintings, it seems common to hang objects on the walls instead of placing them on tables or other surfaces. (184) However, tables are depicted during meals, (185) in workshops, (186) and in "wedding scenes," where they serve as surfaces for making wedding cakes. (187) Although the types of tables known from representations in art are numerous, very few examples have actually survived. (188)

There are no table fragments recorded from Olynthos and the picture from other Macedonian sites is equally disappointing. Tables and seats are objects that can be easily moved around and, unless the published record indicates that they were found in situ, it is hard to locate them inside a house with any degree of certainty. The same is true in determining chronology: unless the phases of the domestic complex are clear, any single fragment of a seat or table without context is impossible to date. This is the main problem with the material from Delos.

Although Delos has provided us with a large number of table fragments, the overall problems of dating hinder any further conclusions. (189) Since the fragments have not been published with their exact findspots or dated ac cording to the phase of the house to which they belong, they can only be presented as a list of representative examples. (190) They are made of granite, volcanic stone, and marble, and are recorded from shops, warehouses, and houses. (191) A reexamination of this material on the basis of the excavation notebooks is absolutely necessary and will be attempted by the author in due course. Among the few securely dated examples are five fragments of tabletops and table legs from the House of Hermes, dated to around 200-180 B.C. (48, Fig. 14:a, b, g). (192)


Two marble tables are known from Macedonia. The first (49, Fig. 15) was found at Vergina, but not inside a house. (193) The circular tabletop was supported on a single leg. The upper surface is flat, decorated in relief but not finished. The decoration has been compared by Stella Drougou with the mosaic floor in room 13 of the palace at Vergina. Based on this decoration, the table has been dated to the end of the 4th/beginning of the 3rd century B.C. It is similar to a second round tabletop (50, Fig. 16), found inside a house at Pella, which had an unknown form of support. (194)


Finally, the top of a round marble table was found in room 4 of the House of the Mosaics in Eretria (51, Fig. 17), (195) The house was destroyed by fire around 270 B.C.


Miniature table models of lead have also been found on Delos, one in the House of the Dolphins in theTheater Quarter (Fig. 18), (196) the other in the region southeast of the Sacred Lake. (197) They are interpreted as imitations of offering tables, and are similar to other miniature furniture found at Delos, (198) Eretria, (199) and Archaic Sindos. (200) Their small dimensions might support their interpretation as domestic cult offerings, although the possibility that they were used as toys for children should not be ruled out. (201)

Tables are associated with feasting and are common in sanctuaries in conjunction with beds. For instance, tables are reconstructed in the three dining rooms of the 4th-century abaton of Asklepios at Corinth. (202) The blocks for the table supports were set in place and the floor was laid around them. The excavators suggest that boards with cleats on their underside were placed on the supports to serve as tabletops and that these tops were not permanently fixed, a conjecture that cannot be proven. The guests seated at the corners shared a table; those on the sides had a table to themselves. (203)

We have already discussed benches in the role of seats; in a number of Hellenistic houses they apparently functioned as tables as well. In house IB in Eretria, part of a wall in front of the west wall of the kitchen (room u) possibly functioned as a bench. (204) Another curious structure in the same house, made of tiles and covered by stucco, was found in the bathroom (room a). (205) It is thought to have been used for seating or as a platform to step on when pouring water into the adjacent bathtub. Such benches are known from Geometric and Archaic houses as well. (206) Benches for the placement ofvarious domestic items have also been recorded in the Hellenistic houses of Florina. (207)



48 Fragments of marble tabletops and legs Fig. 14

Five fragments of bluish or white marble. Both rectangular and circular tops are represented. One of the tables, decorated with sculpted side panels, was thought by the excavators to have been used for offerings. Found in the House of Hermes and dated to the 2nd century B.C. (Marcad6 1953, pp. 579-581, fig. 71:a, b, g).


49 Round marble tabletop (unfinished) Fig. 15

P.Diam. 0.87 m. The marble is white and harder than the marble often found in the area. The upper surface is flat, decorated in relief but not finished. The main motif on the periphery is a spiral meander. A rosette in relief decorates the center of the table surface, within a double circle drawn very precisely with a compass. It was once fixed on a single leg. Found 300 m northeast of the palace at Vergina and dated, on the basis of its decoration, to the end of the 4th/beginning of the 3rd century B.C. (Drougou 1989, figs. 1, 2, 4, 5).


50 Round stone tabletop Fig. 16

Diam. 1.30; Th. 0.025 m. Tabletop with incised decoration filled with a white substance: three concentric circles enclose a square, all formed by floral and meander patterns. The form of support for the table is unknown. Found inside a house (Makaronas 1962; Drougou 1989, pp. 75-76, fig. 3).


51 Round marble tabletop Fig. 17

Found in room 4 of the House of the Mosaics, destroyed by fire around 270 B.C. (Eretria VIII, pp. 44-45, fig. 43). Fragments of other marble and poros tables were found in the courtyard, but unfortunately no further information about them has been published.

Archaeological Evidence: Funerary

Tables of nonperishable materials and benches used as surfaces for the placement of objects have so far been found only in a few Macedonian tombs. Their purpose is not always clear, but most held the vessel containing the remains of the deceased. (208) One can only assume that table surfaces would have been used for these and other "sacred" remains that it would not be appropriate to leave on the floor.

One of the best-preserved examples (52) was found in tomb IV at Vergina (the "Prince's Tomb"). (209) Tomb V at Vergina also contained a simple stone table in the chamber (53). (210) A poros slab from a bench, with anathyrosis and remains of iron, was found in tomb I at Lefkadia, but not in situ. 211 Similar are the remains of a bench found in tomb VII at Lefkadia (54). (212) two others from a tomb at Ayia Paraskevi (55), (213) and two in tomb VI at Foinikas in Thessaloniki (56). (214) Remains of a bench, recently looted, are also recorded in Macedonian tomb [GAMMA] at Derveni. (215)



52 Stone-built table

Dim. 1.10 x 0.65 x 0.54 m. Coated with stucco and built in front of a wooden bed. The remains of the deceased were placed on the table in a silver hydria. Found in tomb IV (the "Prince's Tomb"), dated by the excavator to ca. 325 B.C. (Andronikos 1984, p. 202; Sismanidis 1997, p.144).

53 Stone-built table

W. 1 m. Found in tomb V, dated by the excavator to the second half of the 3rd century B.C. (Andronikos 1984, p. 35; Sismanidis 1997, p. 89).


54 Stuccoed stone bench

Found along the side wall of chamber tomb VII, dated by the excavator between 250 and 140 B.C. (Rhomiopoulou 1973, p. 90).

Ayia Paraskevi (Thessaloniki)

55 Two small stuccoed stone benches

The lengths are not the same, but exact dimensions have not been published. Found in the chamber of a Macedonian tomb, dated by the excavator to the late 4th century B.C. (Sismanidis 1982, p. 272).

Foinikas (Thessaloniki)

56 Two low stuccoed stone benches

Dim. 2.02 x 0.425 m (right); 2.05 x 0.445 m (left). Similar to 54, but with feet in the form of lion's paws. The benches probably originally served for the placement of offerings, but the left bench subsequently received the funerary bed of a third person, buried at a later time. Found in a Macedonian tomb (tomb VI), dated to the beginning of the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. (Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1988, p. 261; 2005, pp. 37-39, p1s. 18, 20:b).


In 1749 Alexander Drummond noted that in the houses of the Argolid, the only furniture present was a mattress on the floor, two stools, and a hand-mill. (216) The furnishings of the majority of Hellenistic Greek houses thus far excavated must have been similar, although the formation process of floor assemblages needs to be taken into account. In the future, when such processes are better understood, we will be able to investigate the treatment of furnishings by their owners, with an eye to behaviors such as curate or lateral cycling, scavenging, and looting. (216) This knowledge will be long in coming and hard won, but it is unquestionably important for the interpretation of ancient domestic complexes and daily life.

The amount of furniture placed inside a house was dictated by space, the availability of materials, their cost, and the time spent indoors. Each of these factors played a role in the formation of interior space and decoration.

The amount of perishable furniture in Greek houses cannot be estimated, nor, for the reasons discussed in the introduction to this study, can we make any functional distinction between rooms based on the type or amount of furniture found in them. (218) Sitting and sleeping probably took place on wooden chairs and beds, large wooden chests, or pillows of some kind. None has left any traces. Similarly, eating could be done while squatting on the floor. Tables are likely to be found only in the setting of a symposium, where they are regularly depicted in front of beds as part of the "ritual." There they serve as portable trays to carry the dishes, and are placed next to the beds at a height convenient for the occupant. It might not be far-fetched to assume that tables came with beds as a "set" in houses where such entertainments were customarily held. (219) Supporting evidence is provided by a unique reference in the Delian inventories to attached tables that could be pulled out from under the beds ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (220)

Space restrictions would probably have dictated several solutions for furniture storage. Built-in furniture or furniture stored flat against a wall, as in the case of modern 18th-century tilt-top ("Pembroke") tables, would have been ideal. In modern Greek villages on the islands, stone-built beds are very common where there is no wood supply and space is limited. (221) Some of the "benches" recorded by excavators inside ancient houses might also have been used as beds, tables, or seats.

Portability must have been a watchword. Portable furniture is light and movable, so that daily activities can be performed anywhere inside or outside the house, depending on weather conditions and the amount of light. (222) Light, portable furniture also facilitates housecleaning. The reserving of certain rooms for specific activities is an 18th-century notion, and it was not until the 1930s that architects began to think of certain rooms as "capsules" of integrated architecture, furniture, and function. (223) Even in cases where beds have been found in certain rooms, as at Herculaneum, the function of those rooms seems not to have been limited to sleeping. (224) On the other hand, most of the furniture excavated in Greek domestic contexts comes from small households, where by necessity more than one activity was performed in a single room. In larger Roman houses, the distinction between public and private space and the uses of particular rooms were sometimes indicated by a series of architectural and decorative clues, as in the case of Petronius's description of the house of Trimalchio. In Greek households, however, where such indicators are generally absent, multiple use seems to have been the norm for most rooms. This conclusion is supported by the evidence from contemporary vernacular Greek houses that closely resemble ancient houses in their interior organization. (225)

If every piece of furniture inside an ancient house had multiple functions, then we are probably dealing with a society in which the understanding of privacy within the home was different from our own. (226) The conceptual or behavioral distinctions between males, females, slaves, and children were not reinforced by any spatial rules and were probably quite fluid.

The availability of materials is another issue. Wood is abundant in Macedonia; marble is not. The reverse is true for Delos and Athens. It can therefore be difficult to distinguish expensive from inexpensive materials, since conditions vary from site to site. In Athens, for example, where very few examples of furniture survive, a wooden table could have been an expensive acquisition, perhaps even imported. The value of a simple, wooden piece of furniture might have been further increased by expensive textiles or applied decoration in metal and ivory. Ivory, in particular, was an expensive, imported material that had been cherished by the Greeks since prehistory. (227)

Time spent indoors was certainly dictated by light, ventilation, and weather conditions. The placement of windows in houses is a key factor, often ignored in scholarship. Late Hellenistic Delos provides us with the first evidence of large windows in the exterior walls of a house, coupled with windows in the interior walls of the rooms overlooking the courtyard. (228) A light and airy environment would have encouraged more indoor activity and gradually increased the need for furniture inside the house.

As a result of the incomplete, fragmentary, and often poorly published evidence, we cannot label certain houses as "houses of the elite" on the basis of furniture alone. Architecture and wall and floor decoration are important aspects that must be considered together with furniture. None of the elaborately decorated houses so far excavated in Greece, however, have produced any considerable amount of furniture. Moreover, Greek literary sources of the Classical and Hellenistic periods are not as clear as Roman sources on the question of social status. In the latter we read, for instance, of subsellia used by parasites or senators and cathedrae used by persons of dignity. (229) Leaving aside the question of their accuracy, there is at least an attempt on the part of the Roman sources to differentiate status based on furniture types. In Athenaios, on the other hand, a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is a meaner kind of seat than a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], while in Polybios and Plutarch it is the chair that designates a Roman magistrate. (230) 230 In Greece we cannot infer the status of people seated on chairs based only on iconographic evidence.

In tombs the circumstances are much different. There the closed context is often well preserved, but blurred by symbolic values and rituals. The leap from the funerary to the domestic interior is still a difficult one to make because our knowledge of Hellenistic beliefs about the afterlife is insufficient. (231) Tombs may suggest the arrangement of furniture inside the house, but they do not mirror house interiors and they do not speak directly to social status. "The dead," as Michael Parker Pearson asserts, "do not bury themselves. If graves are in any way an index of social status it is the social status of the funeral organizers as much as the social status of the deceased that is involved.... Grave goods are not just elements of an identity kit but are the culmination of a series of actions by the mourners to express something of their relationship to the deceased as well as to portray the identity of the deceased.... Concepts of honour and sacredness may be far more important than wealth and ownership in organizing society's values." (232)

Research into ancient furniture has tended to focus on chronology, typology of styles, technique, and iconography. In this study, by focusing on the archaeological material, I have tried to call attention to the quantity and high quality of furniture preserved for the afterlife, while also highlighting the contradictions between the iconographic evidence and the surviving artifacts. It should be noted that there is no textual evidence for furniture being displayed inside the house for its exquisite design, decoration, or material. The finest and best-preserved furniture excavated so far in Greece comes from funerary contexts.

If the elaborate beds of the Macedonian tombs were used in everyday life, then we are dealing with a local phenomenon restricted to a certain group of people during a certain period of time (the second half of the 4th century B.C.). As Ioannis Touratsoglou has already argued, these tombs were perhaps those of Macedonian soldiers (the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] par excellence) who had returned from Asia and brought with them an appreciation of luxury. (233) Arrian (Anab. 5.27.6) attests that these men had become "great instead of small, and rich instead of poor"; they probably sought to emphasize their status and experience through the lavishness of their household and funerary furnishings. In other words, we may be dealing, at least in the majority of our examples, with the military elite that came back from Alexander's expedition to the East. On the other hand, the lack of such lavishness in later, 3rd-century B.C. funerary contexts might point to a socioeconomic reality of decline in production and demand in the old Greek centers, at a time when there were no more military conquests. (234)

The producers of the elaborate pieces of furniture found in tombs remain unknown. Apart from the names of bed makers and table makers, nothing is known of their workshops, specializations, or the manner in which orders were received and filled. The names of professionals who specialized in certain aspects of clothing and furnishing production, however, are attested in the literary and epigraphical sources. (235) Simple, everyday pieces of furniture would have been put together in antiquity by family members who themselves had no specialized training. The production of furniture for sanctuaries and tombs was, on the other hand, surely commissioned from a team (possibly including carpenters, jewelers, and/or architects). The term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which implies the acceptance of a commission, is attested in temple inscriptions. (236) Literary sources indicate that sculptors and carpenters working on building or shipping projects occasionally made furniture as well.

From the evidence that has survived, it is possible to infer that the interior of a Late Classical-Hellenistic house was anything but gloomy black-and-white. Since weaving was one of a woman's primary chores in the house, one can envision domestic interiors with textiles hanging from the walls, throws on the floors, and pillows and covers on furniture. Physical evidence of these objects is found only in tombs.

Modern homes provide a sense of who we are, how we got here, and how far we can reach. They provide a sense of connection, balanced by a sense of direction and progress. Ancient homes must have fulfilled similar needs, serving practical and social functions, while also leaving space for aesthetic expression.

(1.) This article is the first of two drawing upon the author's doctoral thesis on the domestic furniture and furnishings of Late Classical and Hellenistic Greece (Andrianou 2003). The present study concentrates on the archaeological material, primarily the excavated objects from houses and tombs. The epigraphical evidence for furniture and furnishings from 4thto 1st-century B.C. sanctuaries will be covered in greater detail in a separate study (to appear in Hesperia). I am grateful to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens for facilitating my research with a postdoctoral fellowship, to Elizabeth Simpson and Kevin Glowacki for suggestions on an earlier version of this study, and to the two anonymous Hesperia reviewers for their helpful comments and additional bibliography on Roman matters. Special thanks go to the Athenian Agora Excavations, the Ecole francaise d'Athenes, the Ecole suisse d'archeologie en Grece, and the individual excavators in Macedonia for providing the photographs that illustrate this study. All translations are my own.

For current issues in domestic studies, see Kent 1990; Wallace-Hadrill 1994; Ault 1994; Nevett 1999; Allison 1999; Cahill 2002.

(2.) Richter 1966.

(3.) Olynthos: Robinson 1931, pp. 51-53, no. 4; 1934, pp. 124-132, nos. 3-7. Tenos: Tenos II, pp. 51-84. Chalkidiki: Hatzopoulos 1988.

(4.) Dem. 30.28; Lys. 19.31.

(5.) Agora XIX, p. 70, no. P1. We owe the name "Attic Stelai" to Pollux (10.97,148).

(6.) A different view is expressed by Lewis (1966).

(7.) Lewis 1966, p.182.

(8.) Wilkins and Hill 1994.

(9.) This is not to suggest that a symposium always required furniture, but that furniture is usually shown in scenes depicting symposia. An example of a symposium scene in which the symposiasts rest on pillows, possibly on the floor, is the red-figure kylix attributed by Beazley to the Tarquinia Painter (Basel, Antikenmuseum Kd 415: f4R V2 868,45; Rasmussen and Spivey 1991, p. 25, fig. 6).

(10.) For depictions of furniture in vase painting, see Richter 1966. The scholarship devoted to "wedding images" on vases is extensive: see, e.g., Oakley 1995, p. 73; Sabetai 1997 (with further bibliography). Recent discussions of such themes in vase painting emphasize the "ideal viewer" and the "visual cues" appropriate to a conceptual area. Other questions involve the gender and status of givers and receivers in scenes where objects such as furniture change hands: see, e.g., Humphreys 1995, p.108.

(11.) Simpson 2002, on a bilingual vase by Andokides (Munich 2301).

(12.) Olynthus II, IV, VIII, XII; Delos XVIII; Eretria VIII, X. For Halieis, see Ault 1994; for Halos, Reinders 1988.

(13.) For a discussion of the "scholarly selection" of publication at Olynthos, see Cahill 1991, pp. 117-118.

(14.) For recent attempts to remedy this situation, see Cahill 1991 and 2002 (Olynthos); Ault 1994 (Halieis).

(15.) Cahill 1991, p. 115 (Olynthos); Nevett 1999, p. 44 (Delos).

(16.) Important questions remain in respect to the habitation of Delos during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The extent of the village in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. is still unknown. Most of the houses mentioned in this study are dated to the end of the 2nd/beginning of the 1st century B.C., but their abandonment, destruction, or rehabitation after the attacks by Mithridates in 88 B.C. and the pirate Athenodoros in 69 B.C. are not clear. These problems are discussed in length in Bruneau 1968.

(17.) LaMotta and Schiffer 1999, p. 20; see further discussion in Ault and Nevett 1999.

(18.) Schiffer 1985.

(19.) These include, for instance, what Gould (1987, p. 149) has termed the "nostalgia effect."

(20.) Cahill, for example, describes these problems in his study of Olynthos (Cahill 1991, pp. 125-127). For processes that modify de facto refuse, possibly the most common refuse in domestic assemblages, see Schiffer 1985, pp. 26-29.

(21.) Foxhal12000, pp. 491-492. As she notes further (p. 496), "a lot of people doing the same thing with slight variations over time looks on the ground like a trend."

(22.) Mols 1999, pp. 22,123-130.

(23.) Allison 1994, pp. 54-55 (triclinia), 56 (tabling), 58 (gardens), 84-85 and 99 (conclusions). See also Glowacki 2004, p. 9.

(24.) A good example is Pella, where the Roman and Byzantine cities were rebuilt with Hellenistic material on the same site (Chrysostomou 1999, p. 229).

(25.) Looting is one of the processes that modify or deplete de facto refuse (Schiffer 1985, pp. 28-29).

(26.) Triumphs with war booty obtained from Greece are recorded in connection with the following victories: the sack of Thessaly and Euboia by Quinctius Flamininus in 198-194 B.C. (Livy 32.16.17,34.52.4-5); the sack of Ambracia by Fulvius Nobilior in 187 B.C. (Livy 39.5.16); the victory of Aemilius Paullus at Pydna in 168 B.C. (Plut. f4em. 32-33; Livy 45.33.5-6); the final defeat of Macedonia at Dion by Metellus in 148 B.C. (Plin. HN34.64; Justin 11.6, 13); the sack of Corinth by Mummius in 146 B.C. (Strabo 8.6.23 [C 381]; Polyb. 39.2-3); and, finally, the looting of various Greek sanctuaries by Sulla in 88-84 B.c., where no triumph is mentioned in the sources (Died. Sic. 38.7; Plut. Sull. 12.3, 6; Sall. Cat. 11.5-7; Paus.10.21.6).

(27.) Livy 37.46.2-4 (190 B.c.); Plut. Luc. 37.4-5 (74-66 B.c.), App. Mith. 115-116 (66-61 B.c.).

(28.) I will discuss furniture associated with weaving and storage in a book on Late Classical and Hellenistic furniture.

(29.) IG I3 421, line 209. For discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 213-214. This is a word with many meanings: it is part of a "bed" in Poll. 6.9 and Ar. Eccl. 907; it is used for various types of "chairs" in IG 11' 1379, line 4; 1421, lines 97-99;1415, line 26;1425, lines 206-207;1460, lines 6-7; and it can also denote part of a chair (usually the back), as in Ath. 5.192f. It is difficult to determine what is meant when this word is listed separately in inscriptions.

(30.) IG I3 422, line 160 (where it is grouped with thrones and a cliphros); 423, line 11 (where it is a few lines away from beds); 425, line 14 (where it is grouped with household articles). For discussion see Pritchett 1956, p. 215, where it is interpreted as a bench, seat, or stool.

(31.) IG I3 421, line 208; 422, lines 107, 161, 268, 283. For discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 215-217. The term is usually taken to mean a "stool" without arms or back. It is mentioned among the furniture of the bedroom in Il. 3.424 and Poll. 10.47.

(32.) IG I3 421, line 140. For discussion see Pritchett 1956, p. 217, with the meaning "bench."

(33.) IG I3 422, lines 160, 287. For a complete discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 217-220, with the meaning "chair of honor." The name is also attested in an inscription on a vase (Richter 1966, p. 8).

(34.) The word was restored by Pritchett in Stele VI, line 169 (=IG I3 426, line 180), with the meaning "chair with a back." For discussion see Pritchett 1956, p. 220. The term is otherwise known only from lexicographers, and the difference in meaning between it and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is not clear.

(35.) The word was restored by Pritchett in Stele II, line 150 (=IG I3 422, line 165), with the meaning "couch or a reclining chair." For discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 229-230. Most, but not all, of the passages cited suggest that a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is an article of furniture for women.

(36.) IG I3 422, lines 286-287; 425, line 17. For discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 232-233. The lexica offer two meanings: a comfortable armchair or couch, or the headrest of a couch or bed. Pritchett concludes, after reviewing the literary evidence, that the word denotes an elbow- or headrest that could be fitted onto or removed from couches and beds.

(37.) Fragments of "cultic thrones" are known from sacred Delian contexts, including the Letoon (Vallois 1929, pp. 213, 217, 222, figs. 21, 23-25; Delos XVIII, pp. 5-6, fig. 3) and the Asklepieion (fragments of a throne with a dedicatory inscription by a certain Nikon, dated to the 3rd century B.C.: BCH 50 [1926], p. 571; Delos XVIII, p. 6, fig. 4).

(38.) For examples from 6th-century Sindos, see [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], pp. 84, 95, 118, 141, 171, 185, 241 (from the tombs of men, women, and children)

(39.) I discuss the miniature furniture in detail in an article to appear in BABesch.

(40.) It may be significant that benches were more common than stools in Herculaneum, where actual examples have been found (tools 1999, pp. 52-55).

(41.) Delos XVIII, pp. 12-14 with notes.

(42.) Delos XXXVIII, pp. 70-71, pl. 105:3 (house II in the Insula of the Bronzes: at least two benches reconstructed); p. 92, n. 36 (House of the Seals: one bench with lion's feet and no back). It is not clear, however, whether these benches were found in their original positions. (Another bench, in the House of the Lake, was certainly found in situ: Llinas 1973, pp. 306-309.)

(43.) It is interesting to note that the figures of Demeter and Kore on the east pediment of the Parthenon are seated on chests.

(44.) I would like to thank the excavator, Kostas Sismanidis, for discussing these two miniature seats with me and for giving me the permission to study them thoroughly. A similar miniature seat found in an unpublished tomb at Akanthos will be published in Andrianou, forthcoming, b.

(45.) Roman examples from Macedonia include the following. (1) The remains of a silver diphros found in a pit grave in the area of Abelakia in Orestiada. The grave belongs to the main burial of a tumulus and is dated to the end of the 1st or the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. (Triantafyllos 1998, pp. 352-353). The offerings for the dead, which had been placed on the earth that covered the pit, included bronze and glass vessels, the remains of a cloth with which the offerings were covered, and the silver diphros. The ends of the axones of the diphros are decorated with bronze lion's heads, together with bronze discs bearing Medusa heads in relief. (2) A second diphros of unknown material is very briefly reported from the excavation of tumulus A at Spilaio Evrou (Triantafyllos 1999, p.626). The diphros comes from a pit with a cremation burial dated to the 2nd century A.D. (3) Two iron diphroi are among the offerings found in cremation pits B and C of the mound at Mikri Doxipara-Zoni in Thrace, which date to the late Istearly 2nd century A.D. (TriantafyllosTerzopoulou 2005, pp. 4-6). Diphroi of this kind are very common in Roman burials in Thrace and Bulgaria. See now Delemen 2006, p.258, for a pair of 4th-century B.C. monolithic marble diphroi from southeastern Thrace.

(46.) The word is usually taken to mean a "stool" without arms or back. As Pritchett (1956, p. 215, n. 24) rightly notes, however, it is sometimes used by ancient authors as a general term for any kind of seat.

(47.) IG II2 1394, line 14.

(48.) By "Macedonian tomb" I mean a built chamber tomb roofed with a barrel vault and covered by an earthen tumulus, found in Macedonia or areas where Macedonian influence may have been particularly strong. For this definition and additional bibliography see Miller 1993, p. 1. For the numbering of the Macedonian tombs I have followed Sismanidis 1997. As various systems exist, I have tried to avoid confusion by indicating other features of the tombs or other names by which they are known.

(49.) Such thrones were found in Vergina I, VI, and VIII, possibly Vergina III (of wood), and Eretria. For further details on the Macedonian examples, see Sismanidis 1997, pp. 198-199 and n. 540. For Eretria see Vollmoeller 1901, pp. 345-354, pls. XIII, XIV.

(50.) E.g., Arr. Anab. 7.4.7, referring to Alexander's wedding at Susa, where the brides and grooms were seated on thrones. Such thrones also appear frequently on Classical and Hellenistic funerary stelai and reliefs (Richter 1966, figs. 71-73,114).

(51.) In 1876 Heuzey reported that he had seen "remains of a marble exedra accompanied by votive pillars next to the wall" in the circular room (tholos) of the palace at Vergina, and he concluded that "the form of the base, its division into two levels, and the arm rests all point to the base of a royal seat or of a statue" (Heuzey and Daumet 1876, p. 216: "l'espece de tribune, en marbre accompagnee de piliers votifs, que l'on voit adosse contre le mur de la meme salle. La forme du soubassement, sa division en deux degres, le bras saillants qui y sont menages, se preteraient mieux, a ce qu'il semble, a la base d'un siege royale ou d'une statue"). This description, although later repeated by Rhomaios (1955, p. 144) and Andronikos (1961, pp. 16-17), is controversial, and it is doubtful whether Rhomaios or Andronikos had actually seen the remains. When excavation at the palace was begun again in 1938, the marble steps were already missing, along with the marble threshold that Heuzey found in situ at the entrance to the circular room (Heuzey and Daumet 1876, p.190; Saatsoglou-Paliadeli 2001, pp. 203-204). Recent research in the area, undertaken in 1998, has established that what currently remains is a noncanonical construction of the foundation of the exedra, belonging to a later intervention of the Late Hellenistic period (Saatsoglou-Paliadeli 2001, p. 204). If this is so, then the exedra, the small rectangular bases, and the richly decorated ornate pillar seen and drawn by Heuzey and Daumet (1876, pl. 13) are later in date and thus disassociated from the function of this room of the palace. The bases and the pillar are also a matter of controversy since Heuzey associates them with the exedra, while Saatsoglou-Paliadeli assigns them to "one or more monuments, but not necessarily related to the exedra" (Heuzey and Daumet 1876, pp. 190-191; Saatsoglou-Paliadeli 2001, p. 204). I would like to thank M. Hatzopoulos and D. Diamantourou for discussing this issue with me in detail.

(52.) Heuzey and Daumet 1876, p. 263; Pantermalis 1972; Andronikos 1989, pp. 375-379 ("Tomb of Eurydike").

(53.) Kurtz and Boardman 1971, p. 277; Dentzer 1982, pp. 123-125, figs. 536-538, 565 (on vases). A throne with turned legs decorated with sphinxes is depicted on a 4th-century funerary stele found in the atelier of a sculptor in the Agora of the Italians on Delos. The deceased is depicted with her feet crossed on a footstool and a man standing in front of her: see Delos XVIII, p. 10, no. 5c, fig. 9, pl. VI:54; Bizard and Roussel 1907, p. 468, no. 73 (inscription). For simpler seats see Delos XVIII, p. 10, nos. 5d and e; Roussel and Hatzfeld 1909, p. 511, no. 30 (inscription).

(54.) Vollmoeller 1901, pp. 345-354, pls. XIII, XIV. The beds in the tomb were inscribed with male names and the thrones with female names.

(55.) Andronikos, who suggested this scheme of gender differentiation based on the furniture accompanying a burial, already noted (1993, p. 150) the problems raised by the tomb in the "Bella Tumulus." See also Paspalas 2005, p. 88.

(56.) Mols 1999, p.127.

(57.) For excavated children's beds from Herculaneum, see Mols 1999, pp. 43-44.

(58.) E.g., Hdt. 6.139, 9.16; IG II2 1315, line 9. The word appears in the Attic Stelai: IG I3 P 421, lines 202, 206; 422, lines 7,104,281-282,284-286, 292, 295-296; 423, line 6; 425, lines 18, 107; 426, lines 33-34.

(59.) Ar. Lys. 916. The first four letters of the word are also preserved in the Attic Stelai (IG I3 423, line 7).

(60.) IG I3 422, line 165. This term is found in Poll. 10.32 along with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], but it is uncertain whether they refer to couches or lounging chairs.

(61.0 IG I3 423, line 8; 425, line 11; Poll. 10.35. The scholiast on Ar. Nub. 254 gives the Attic equivalent [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which also appears in Poll. 10.35. Eustathius (ad Il. 16.608) states that it is an Attic word and defines it as a "cheap and low bed that is near the ground." At the beginning of Plato's Protagoras (310c), Socrates is seated on a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In Xen. An. 6.1.4 soldiers dine while reclining on them. As Pritchett concludes (1956, p. 231), the term possibly denoted a low, humbler bed, of light weight, used also by soldiers.

(62.) Mentioned in Attic Stelai (IG I3 421, line 204) with the adjective [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (veneered or tessellated). Theophrastos (Hist. pl. 4.3.4, 5.7.6) uses the word for the ornaments attached to chests, footstools, and the like, which is possibly why this bed is so expensive in the stelai.

(63.) In Lucian Lexiphanes 6, it signifies a poor bed, in Anth. Pal. 7.634, a bier.

(64.) In Ath. 4.138f these are rough couches of wood ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) serving guests at a festival. In Men. Dys. 420 only the word [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] appears, denoting a mattress or bed of straw, rushes, or leaves carried outside for a celebration in a cave. They are also mentioned by Poseidonios as votive offerings at the sanctuary of Kynthe on Delos (Delos XI, p.120; IDelos 1937, no. 1894; Deonna 1934, p. 383, no. 10).

(65.) IG XI 14713, line 14: a half-sized couch or part of a couch.

(66.) IDelos 1403BbII, lines 29-30, 33-34: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(67.) Ath. 5.197a.

(68.) One "Milesian" bed is described as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the Attic Stelai (IG I3 421, line 206), and Pollux (10.36) mentions the word [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The lexica of Hesychios and Photios define [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as "a bed that has an anaklintron or anaklisis at either end."

(69.) Maple and olive wood are mentioned in Od 23.195 and Poll. 10.35. 70. Poll. 10.35.

(71.) Ath. 6.255e.

(72.) IG I3 343, lines 15-16; 344, line 31; 346, line 66 (Parthenon inventories).

(73.) Ath. 5.197a.

(74.) Kritias fr. B2 (West); Ath. 1.28b, 11.486e (Chian and Milesian beds); Attic Stelai: IG I3 421, lines 202,206; 422, line 295 (Milesian beds); Parthenon inventories (Chian and Milesian beds): IG I3 343, line 13; 344, line 28; 345, lines 45-46; 351, line 13; 357, lines 66-67; IG II2 1425, line 277 (Milesian beds). In the Parthenon accounts Milesian beds appear in the accounts of the year 434/4 B.C. and occur regularly thereafter. For further discussion see Andrianou, forthcoming, a.

(75.) Ransom 1905, p. 54, n. 5.

(76.) E.g., by Faust (1994, pp. 577, 600).

(77.) CE Plin. HN 34.9 (Deliaco aeris).

(78.) Delian objects of bronze (vessels in particular) are also mentioned by Cicero: Deliaca supellex ex aere (Verr. 2.34).

(79.) Pl. Resp. 596b-597b; Dem. 27.10, 30. On the materials used for couches, see Ransom 1905, p. 39.

(80.) Pl. Resp. 597. See also Dem. 27.9,24,29-30, 35, 37; Poll. 7.111, 159. For an earlier use of the word [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (carpenter), see Raubitschek 1949, p. 231, no.196.

(81.) Delos XVIII, pp. 2-3, figs. 1, 2, pls. IV:43, V:50, 51. Their heights range from 0.03 to 0.10 m. The small dimensions of these fragments puzzled the excavators, who also suggest that they might come from small benches and footstools rather than beds. A bronze plaque with elaborate decoration, probably of Roman date, was also found in Delos; it may have served as a headrest for a bed or as the back of a chair (Delos XVIII, p. 4, pl. V:48). There is general confusion regarding the distinction between the back of a chair and the arm- or headrest of a bed, since very few extant and securely identified fragments have been published and discussed: see, for example, the opposing interpretations of the word avaxktats in the Attic Stelai (IG P 421, line 209; for discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 213-214). Most reconstructions of Greek bed legs are based either on Roman bed legs or representations on vases.

(82.) Delos XXXVIII, p. 91, pl. 42:4; Siebert 1976, p. 813, figs. 24, 25. Traces of wood were found attached to the foot. For reconstructed Hellenistic beds outside the geographical scope of this study, see Faust 1994 (from the Mahdia shipwreck); Wiegand 1904, pp. 378383 (from Priene).

(83.) From sanctuaries in Athens: IG P 343, lines 12, 13, 15-16; from Delos: IDelos 1417BII, lines 74-75; 1412a, line 27; IG XI 287B, line 20; 161B, line 22. A [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] was also offered to a Roman in the Establishment of the Poseidoniastes (Picard 1936, p. 195). From hestiatoria in sanctuaries: IG XI 154A, line 4; 161A, line 114 (Artemision); 144A, line 68 (Asklepieion); 165, line 33 (Sanctuary of Zeus Kynthios); Roussel 1916, p. 204, no. 216, line 18 (an Egyptian sanctuary).

(84.) For a thorough treatment of fulcra, see Faust 1989; for earlier specimens, see also Greifenhagen 1930; Hill 1963; Barr-Sharrar 1987; Kyrieleis 1969.

(85.) On an oinochoe by the Eretria Painter and a Lucanian krater (Kyrieleis 1969, p.129, nos. 1, 6).

(86.) Kyrieleis 1969, p.141.

(87.) Hdt. 9.80-82 and 1.50; Arr. Anab. 6.29.5-6; Dem. 24.129; Ath. 5.197a-b, 6.255e.

(88.) Kyrieleis (1969, pp. 141-142) refers to Thuc. 3.68.3: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ... [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(89.) Siebert 1973, pp. 559-561; see also Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 26, on the suggested date.

(90.) Lilimbaki-Akamati 1986, pls. 52-54; Barr-Sharrar 1987, p. 76, no. C171 his.

(91.) Lilimbaki-Akamati 1999, pp. 193-194, figs. 1-4.

(92.) The technique is fully described in Mattusch 1988, pp. 16-22,219. For similar molds see Mattusch 1977, p. 389, pl. 104:e-h.

(93.) Hill 1963, pls. 78, 79.

(94.) Thompson 1958, p. 159, pl. 46:c. A similar ivory ornament from a fulcrum was found in the Greek colony of Mirmekion (Mirmeki) in the Crimean peninsula (Daux 1958, p. 352, fig.3; Michalowski and Gaydovkeivitch 1957). The ornament, which is dated to the end of the 3rd century B.c., depicts a satyr's head with an ivy garland in profile. The lower edge of the plaque is curved and was once attached to the fulcrum with a single nail. Its resemblance to the ornament from Athens is striking.

(95.) E.g., IDelos 1408d, lines 7-8; 1412a, line 46.

(96.) Examples from Delos include the sanctuary of Artemis-Hekate, where twenty beds are mentioned in one of the inscriptions (IDelos 1400, line 16); the Hieropioion (IG XI 14713, lines 13-14); in the Serapeia A and B (Roussel 1916, pp. 77 and 98, n. 20); the sanctuary of Zeus Kynthios, where 14 beds were manufactured by Patrokles in 250 B.C. and repaired in 178 B.C. (Delos XI, p. 75-76; IG XI 287A, line 115; IDelos 443Bo, lines 142, 162); and the beds used for the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Sokolowski 1935, p. 382; Vallois 1931, pp. 280-281). Other repairs are mentioned in IG XI 144A, line 65; 199A, line 27; 287A, line 70 (250 B.C.).

(97.) Lilimbaki-Akamati 1998a, p. 109, fig. 2.

(98.) Corinth XIV, pp. 51-57, pl. 14:4.

(99.) Allamani, Koukouvou, and Psarsa 2004, p. 574.

(100.) E.g., Ath. 204d-209e, on the barge of Ptolemy Philopator and the furnished boat of Hieron of Syracuse; Died. Sic. 20.91.1-4, on the lavish siege engines built by Demetrios Poliorketes. For the idea that the couches mentioned in these passages represent units of measurement rather than actual furniture, see McCartney 1934. For comparison, the andrones of the houses at Pella could fit 13-19 beds (Makaronas and Giouri 1989).

(101.) 1 would like to thank the excavator, Maria Lilimbaki-Akamati, for providing photographs of the molds and additional information about them.

(102.) Sismanidis 1997. Recently excavated beds or parts of beds not included in that study are discussed below (20-40).

(103.) The term sarkophagoi-k1inai is used for long, rectangular structures constructed of large stones, empty on the interior and undecorated on the exterior, set on the tomb's floor rather than into or below it (Sismanidis 1997, p. 154).

(104.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 181-182.

(105.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 183-184. See Delemen 2006 for an example of a sympotic arrangement of furniture in a chamber tomb in southeastern Thrace.

(106.) The wooden beds from Macedonian tombs are discussed in Sismanidis 1997, pp. 134-153.

(107.) Examples include those found in a cist grave in ancient Mieza (Misaelidou-Despotidou 1993, p. 128); in two cist graves at Pella (Lilimbaki-Akamati 1992, p. 92, fig. 4); in cist graves at Pydna (remains of ivory and clay decoration from wooden beds: Besios 1992, p. 158; 2003, pp. 373, 375); in tombs I, II, and III of tumulus A and tumulus B at Aineia (31-34; for a reconstruction of the leg of the bed in tumulus B, see Vokotopoulou 1990, p. 83, fig. 43); in the area of Allatini (possible bed fragments: Siganidou 1968, pp. 340-341, fig. 8); in the pit grave T12 in northern Pieria (Besios 1995, pp. 245-246); in the cemetery at Pydna (Besios 1993, pp. 242-243); at Abdera (Kallintzi 1993, p. 563); in a cist grave at Vergina (Kottaridi 1993, p. 36); at Pella (Chrysostomou 1998b, pp. 63, 65, 66); in a cist grave in the tumulus at Abelia in Pella (Chrysostomou 1998c, p. 143); in a pit grave on the grounds of the Thessaloniki International Fair (Tsimbidou-Avloniti, Galiniki, and Anagnostopoulou 2003, p. 219); in tumulus B at Paionia (35); at Sedes (36); and in another cist grave at Pella (37). These tombs are not discussed by Sismanidis, since they are not of the Macedonian type.

(108.) Sismanidis 1997, p.190, n. 603.

(109.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 105-111.

(110.) Sismanidis 1997, p. 190, n. 606.

(111.) Sismanidis 1997, p. 189.

(112.) Tzanavari 1997, p. 464.

(113.) Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2005, p. 33. Similar is the arrangement in the Palatitsia tomb (Heuzey and Daumet 1876, pp. 232-233, pls. 15, 16).

(114.) Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2005, p. 41 (Macedonian tomb at Foinikas).

(115.) Sismanidis 1997, p.139. The bones of the deceased were placed in a golden larnax and this was set into the marble box of the chamber. The decoration of the bed is still being studied. In the latest written report by Angeliki Kottaridi and the team responsible for the bed's reconstruction, 85% of the remains of the decoration is said to have been put in place (Kottaridi 1999, pp. 129-134, figs. 8-11). For an older, hypothetical reconstruction and discussion of the possible decoration, see Andronikos 1961, pp. 121-131.

(116.) For the general dimensions of beds, see Sismanidis 1997, p. 190.

(117.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 82,128, 123.

(118.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 156, 155, 161,147.

(119.) Sismanidis 1997, p. 93.

(120.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 84 (Angista), 121 (Thessaloniki III).

(121.) Sismanidis 1997, pl. 1 (Pydna).

(122.) Andronikos 1961, p. 131. Nicholls (1979, p. 26), writing about Roman beds of the 1st century B.c.lst century A.D., also believes that elaborately decorated beds might have been used in life in a "prestigious or semi-prestigious role in the house and only later have been re-employed as funeral biers-possibly because of the special associations of an earlier use to be equated with that of the Roman lectus genialis."

(123.) Sismanidis 1997, p. 213.

(124.) Dionysos, according to tradition, brought Hephaistos back to Olympos on a mule after Hera threw him away (Pans. 1.20.3). For the Dionysiac iconography on Italian fulcra, see also Letta 1984, p. 92. I would like to thank Massimo Cultraro for bringing this study to my attention.

(125.) Makaronas and Giouri 1989.

(126.) As Sismanidis (1997, p. 230) notes, we should be careful when categorizing the tombs as poor or wealthy, since both the act of cremation and the construction of stone beds were costly in Macedonia. On the other hand, the ivory and gold decoration as reconstructed on some wooden beds certainly would have increased their value.

(127.) Dem. 27.10, 30.

(128.) Drougou and Touratsoglou 1998, pp. 174-175, fig. 46. This sketch will be revised when the wooden beds of Vergina are published.

(129.) Triantafyllos 1998, pp. 350, 352. One bier consisted of two parallel pieces of wood (L. 2.04 m, W. 0.05 m) with three more pieces (L. and W. both 0.65 m) placed perpendicularly across them. A second bier from the pit grave is reconstructed from 12 pieces of wood and iron nails.

(130.) Vokotopoulou 1990, p. 84.

(131.) Tsakos 1982, pp. 416-417, n. 114.

(132.) Drougou and Touratsoglou 1998, p. 93.

(133.) Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2005, pp. 42, 81.

(134.) I would like to thank the excavator, Maria Lilimbaki-Akamati, for providing information about this find.

(135.) The two beds in the Vathia tomb in Euboia preserve carved pillows and bedclothes (Vollmoeller 1901, pp. 370-371); an imitation of a real mattress can be seen in Macedonian tomb III at Thessaloniki (Sismanidis 1997, pp. 120-121); four headrests are carved on the bed in Vergina tomb V (Sismanidis 1997, p. 91); both beds at Palatitsia have stone mattresses with curved sides (Sismanidis 1997, p. 127); mattresses and double headrests are carved on the two beds in a tomb at Stavroupolis, Xanthi (Sismanidis 1997, pp. 132-133), and in a tomb from Late Hellenistic Aitolia (Dyggve, Poulsen, and Rhomaios 1934, pp. 346-348); and two carved pillows are preserved on the bed at Kotroni in Eretria (38).

(136.) Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1996; 1998; and 2005, pp. 114-134.

(137.) IG P 421, lines 190-196; 422, lines 257,259-260.

(138.) Poll. 10.42.

(139.) Ath. 2.48b-d, 6.255e.

(140.) Ath. 2.48c (quoting Aristophanes).

(141.) Poll. 10.40-41.

(142.) Richter 1965.

(143.) Pritchett 1956, pp. 253-254.

(144.) IG P 422, lines 257-258.

(145.) Poll. 10.40.

(146.) IDelos 104/26C, lines 11-12.

(147.) Poll. 7.191.

(148.) Helikon and Akesas of Cyprus are known as "celebrated weavers" in the 4th-3rd century B.C. (Ath. 2.48b).

(149.) The visual evidence from vase paintings and terracottas is rich: see, for example, Richter 1966, figs. 593, 598, 596, 649 (bedclothes); Richter 1966, figs. 593, 597, 598, 649, and Walters 1903, p. 244, no. C 529, pl. 30 (valances); Bruno 1985, pp. 22-30, pls. 3, 5a (curtains depicted on the frieze of the actors in the House of the Comedians on Delos); Benassai 2001, pp. 7778, figs. 98, 99 (Pompeian and Capuan wall paintings thought to represent or imitate Hellenistic interiors).

(150.) Andronikos 1977, pp. 24-25.

(151.) The latter has been seen as an imitation of a large baldaquin, as part of an interpretation of the funerary chamber itself as the setting of an eternal prothesis for the heroized deceased (Guimier-Sorbets 2001, pp. 218, 223).

(152.) The subject matter may be compared to a wall painting found in the 3rd-century B.C. chamber tomb of Dion, thought to mimic fabric (Soteriades 1930).

(153.) I would like to thank Judith Binder for locating this publication for me.

(154.) 1 would like to thank Yiouli Spantidaki for bringing this find to my attention and for providing me with additional information.

(155.) IG I3 421, line 110; 422, lines 105,164, 262-263, 293; 425, line 109; 426, line 35. For discussion see Pritchett 1956, pp. 241-243. All of the tables listed in the stelai were probably rectangular and three-legged. A Delian inscription of 364 B.C. speaks of small and large tables (Homolle 1886, p. 467, line 145; see Andrianou, forthcoming, a).

(156.) IG P 422, line 294. For discussion of these adjectives see Pritchett 1956, pp. 241-242; Richter 1966, p. 68.

(157.) IG I3 426, line 28.

(158.) IG I3 422, line 39; 425, line 40; also in Hesychios and the Suda. For other meanings of the word see Pritchett 1956, pp. 243-244.

(159.) Ath. 4.173a; 11. 9.215.

(160.) Kratinos apud Athenaios 2.49a; Poll. 10.35.

(161.) IG P 386, line 143 (heavily restored).

(162.) Athenaios (2.49a) speaks of tables with ivory feet and tops of maple wood. Others, such as the table in the Parthenon accounts (IG P 343, line 15; 357, lines 68-69), were carved and inlaid with ivory.

(163.) IG XI 199A, line 82; Hdt. 9.82.2. Gold and silver tables are mentioned especially in the pompe of Ptolemy II (Ath. 5.197b).

(164.) Xen. Symp. 2.1; Plato Lakonians fr. 71 KA; Men. Kekrypbalos fr. 209 KA.

(165.) Pritchett (1956, p. 242) discusses the problems of this shape, citing a passage from Asklepiades of Myrlea quoted by Athenaios (11.489c).

(166.) For the sizes of tables see IDelos 1403BbII, lines 29-30,33-34 (Kynthion, Treasury D), with discussion in Andrianou, forthcoming, a.

(167.) See, e.g., Ath. 2.49a. The miniature tables from Sindos are rectangular with three legs (Eivdoc, pp. 84, 95, 118, 141, 171, 185, 241). These will be treated in detail by the author in Andrianou, forthcoming, b.

(168.) E.g., IDelos 142811, lines 48-50

(169.) E.g., IDelos 1412A, line 26; 1417AII, lines 156-157.

(170.) E.g., IDelos 366A, line 53;104, lines 139-140; 104, lines 144-145. This material will be discussed at length in a study on the epigraphical evidence for furniture (Andrianou, forthcoming, a).

(171.) E.g., IDelos 439, line 4; 366, line 53; 44213, line 157; 443Bb, line 80. See also Homolle 1882, p. 46, no. 157, and p. 118; Deonna 1908, p. 83, line 53.

(172.) In the Serapeion: Roussel 1916, p. 218, line 159 (inventory of Kallistratos, 156-155 B.C.); in the 4th-century temple of Aphrodite: Homolle 1884, p. 323; 1886, p. 466, lines 139-140. See also Andrianou, forthcoming, a.

(173.) Durrbach 1905, p. 541, line 10.

(174.) Delos XVIII, p. 16.

(175.) IG I3 422, line 73.

(176.) E.g., Ath. 4.170d-e.

(177.) E.g., Men. Sam. 286-293. There the cook asks Parmenon for all the information necessary to prepare the dinner: how many tables he intends to set, how many ladies he will invite, at what hour he will serve the dinner, if he will hire a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], if he has enough cooking vessels, and if his oven is covered.




(181.) Plut. Dem. 20.2.

(182.) Tataki 1998, p. 268, no. 297.

(183.) Richter 1966, p. 63; examples are discussed on pp. 63-72.

(184.) E.g., Vokotopoulou 1990, tumulus A, tomb II, figs. 1, 3, 4, 6.

(185.) A recently discovered example is the wall painting in tomb III at Ayios Athanasios (above, n. 136).

(186.) Richter 1966, fig. 362 (a shoemaker's shop).

(187.) Richter 1966, fig. 367.

(188.) Richter (1966, pp. 66-72) has identified and dated five types on stylistic grounds. Her analysis is based mainly on representations in vase painting.

(189.) Delos XVIII, pp. 15-63; Deonna 1934, pp. 1-77.

(190.) In Delos XVIII the following are recorded: lion's feet in a "room" to the southwest of the House of the Diadoumenos (p. 17, n. 1, inv. 2858, from a table or a bench); lion's feet in a house to the east of the bases of Hephaistion (p. 17, n. 1, inv. 1633); a table support with traces of color and a snake in relief from the House of Dionysos (p. 19, inv. 3332; see also Chamonard 1906, p. 562, no. 13); another support with a snake from the House of the Lake (p. 53, inv. 5530, pl. XXIV:169); a table support with traces of color from a house below the Street of the Theater (p. 19); a table leg without decoration from the House of the Hill (pp. 24-26, pl. XII:91, 93); a table leg with a vertical molding, base, and capital from a house on the Street of the Theater, close to the House of Dionysos (p. 26, no. 14b, pl. XII:90); two fluted table supports with lion's feet, possibly used for offerings, from a house southwest of the House of Kerdon (p. 29, pl. XIV:102,103; the house is thought to have been the atelier of a sculptor); a plain support with a rectangular tabletop found in the House of the Masks and dated to the 2nd century B.C. (p. 34, pl. XVI:113; this type of table with just one support is common in the Roman period and the Italian peninsula, especially at Pompeii and Herculaneum: see Stefanidou-Tiveriou 1993); a table support with animal decoration from a house to the north of the Street of the Theater (p. 36, inv. 4673, pl. XVII:121); table supports in houses south of the Theater, southeast of the Agora of the Competaliasts, and in insula II (p. 51, pl. XXIII:156-159); a table support in a house close to the monument of Tritopator (p. 52, pl. XXIII:162); table supports without decoration from the House of Dionysos and from a house in the quarter east of the stadium (p. 52); a circular tabletop with an inscription from a house to the northwest of the Establishment of the Poseidoniasts (p. 56); a circular tabletop decorated with animals and floral motifs from house IIC in the Theater Quarter (p. 60, fig. 88).

(191.) Bakalakis (1948) mentions five more table supports not included in Delos XVIII, the primary Delos publication. All of them were found in or believed to have come from sacred areas, not houses. Their chronological range is between the 5th and the 1st centuries B.C. Table supports are mentioned with their excavation record numbers in Delos XVIII, p. 17, n. 1. Other fragments of tables with relief decoration of people (deities?), also lacking recorded findspots, are thought to have come from sanctuaries (Delos XVIII, pp. 26-29). Two tabletops, partially published, come from the House of the Seals (Delos XXXVIII, p. 92, n. 36).

(192.) Marcado 1953, pp. 579-581, fig. 71: a, b, g.

(193.) Drougou 1989, figs. 1, 2, 4,5.

(194.) Makaronas 1962, p. 80, fig. 65: b; Drougou 1989, pp. 75-76, fig. 3.

(195.) Eretria VIII, pp. 44-45, fig. 43.

(196.) Delos XVIII, p. 20, n.10, figs. 20,21; Deonna 1934, p. 27.

(197.) Delos XVIII, p. 20, n. 11, pl. X:80; Deonna 1934, pp. 27-29.

(198.) Delos XVIII, pp. 337-341: miniature stoves, tables, grills, casseroles, rhyta, pots, amphoras, and situlas are among the objects reported from religious and, more interestingly, domestic contexts. Unfortunately, none of the objects has a recorded findspot.

(199.) Bronze appliques, bronze animals, and a miniature sword, double axe, key, wheel, plough, and club were found in room x2 of house IIA at Eretria, dated to the second half of the 3rd century B.C. (Eretria X, p. 110, with the appendix by Kassapoglou, pp. 265-268, figs. 271, 272). The miniature objects are interpreted by Kassapoglou as attributes of divinities or heroes.

(200.) Vokotopoulou 1993. In the discussion that followed her lecture she specified that these miniatures are around 8-15 cm in height (p. 45). See also [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], pp. 84, 95, 118, 141, 171, 185, 241.

(201.) Miniatures in houses are traditionally interpreted as signs of domestic cult. Deonna (1934, p. 27) rejects the interpretation of the Delian miniatures as toys. Tomlinson (1993) rules out the use of the Sindos group as toys, on the grounds that miniature furniture was found mainly (but not exclusively) in the tombs of adults. He suggests that this is proof of an Archaic custom of dining in a seated rather than reclining position. The fact that such miniatures have since been found in later tombs weakens his theory. See Andrianou, forthcoming, b, for further discussion of these issues.

(202.) Corintb XIV, pp. 53-54. The terminus post quem for the building is 350 B.C.

(203.) The same arrangement of supports is found in the dining rooms at Troezen (Welter 1941, p. 32).

(204.) Eretria X, p. 55, fig. 75.

(205.) Eretria X, p. 56. Its dimensions are H. 0.28 m, L. 2.00 m, W. 0.28 m.

(206.) See, for example, Lauter 1985, p. 42 (Lathuresa); Zagora 1, p. 25.

(207.) Lilimbaki-Akamati and Akamatis 1999, p. 590.

(208.) A similar piece of furniture, consisting of two poros blocks coated with stucco and preserving traces of red color (dimensions L. 0.60 m, W. 1.16 m, H. 0.84 m), was found next to the bed in tomb III in Thessaloniki (Sismanidis 1997, p. 122). It is uncertain whether it was used for the placement of the vessel containing the human remains or simply as a table for offerings. For a Thracian example of a funerary table clearly alluding to a banquet-unique for the Greek repertoire-see Delemen 2006, pp. 257-258.

(209.) Sismanidis 1997, pp. 144-146. Similar is a poros block with a conical recess on the top, probably for the placement of the vessel containing the ashes, thought to have come from a 3rd-century B.C. tomb at Larisa (Arvanitopoulos 1909, pp. 35-36, fig. 2). Its dimensions are H. 0.44 m, W. 0.61 m, Th. 0.51 m, Diam. 0.41-0.31 m. According to Arvanitopoulos, such blocks were very common in Thessaly in his day, reused for the feeding of animals or the grinding of grain.

(210.) Sismanidis 1997, p. 89.

(211.) Sismanidis 1997, p.150.

(212.) Sismanidis 1997, p.153; Rhomiopoulou 1973, pp. 91-92, figs. 1, 3-5.

(213.) Sismanidis 1982, p. 272, fig. 4.

(214.) Tsimbidou-Avloniti 1988, p. 261.

(215.) T2anavari 1997, p. 464.

(216.) Simopoulos 1973, p. 261.

(217.) For these formation processes of archaeological assemblages, see Schiffer 1987.

(218.) As can be done, for example, in the case of Herculaneum (tools 1999, p. 141).

(219.) A 5th-century vase painting by the Pan Painter depicts a young man carrying a couch and a table together (Lucie-Smith [1979] 1997, p. 27, fig. 22). Anxious chefs in Menander's comedies ask about the number of tables to be set and the number of guests to be entertained (Men. Samia 286-292; Pseuclerakles fr. 409 KA).

(220.) IDelos 1403BbII, lines 29-30, 33-34. See also Andrianou, forthcoming, a.

(221.) Imellos 1983, pp. 21-22 (Naxos); Simopoulos 1973, p. 225 (wooden beds on Chios used for storage).

(222.) Jameson 1990a; Cahill 2002, pp. 77-79.

(223.) Lucie-Smith [1979] 1997, p. 181.

(224.) Mols 1999, p.137.

(225.) For example, in a house at Ano Poroia in Macedonia the upper room, called the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], is used for family celebrations and the entertainment of guests, but also as a storage area for weaving implements, and even for agricultural purposes, such as the drying of tobacco leaves (Perms 1989, pp. 188-191).

(226.) Jameson 1990b (with earlier bibliography).

(227.) Lapatin 2001; Scullard 1974.

(228.) Haddad 1995, pp. 242-243.

(229.) See Mols 1999, p. 54 (with references).

(230.) See Pritchett 1956, p. 216 (with references).

(231.) For a discussion of the suggested meanings of the interior decoration of the Tomb of Lyson and Kallikles, for example, see Guimier-Sorbets 2001. The same author argues (2003) that the decoration of the tomb and the area of the bed in particular allude to the setting of the prothesis and the consequent heroization of the deceased (see n. 151, above).

(232.) Pearson 1999, p. 84.

(233.) Touratsoglou 1998, pp. 35-36.

(234.) Treister 1996, p. 331.

(235.) A few professions known from the literary texts are [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; there is also an exceptional reference to a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a weaver of cushion covers (Poll. 7.191). Only Plato names the profession of bed makers (Resp. 596b-597b). For a list of attested occupations see Harris 2002, Appendix 2, p. 98.

(236.) IDelos 443Bb, line 162: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].



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Dimitra Andrianou

National Hellenic Research Foundation



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Date:Mar 22, 2006
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