By Jérôme Carcopino; H.T. Rowell (ed.); E.O. Lorimer (trans.)
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Extra resources for Daily Life in Ancient Rome (Peregrine Books)
Its doorways and its windows were no less numerous and often larger. Its row of shops was usually protected and screened with the line of a portico. In the wider streets its storeys were relieved by a picturesque variety either of loggias (pergulae) resting on the porticos or of balconies (maeniana). Some were of wood, and the beams that once supported them may be found still em bedded in the masonry; others were brick, sometimes thrown out on pendentives whose lines of horizontal impost arc the parents of the parallel extrados, sometimes based on a series of cradle-vaults supported by large travertine consoles firmly embedded in the masonry of the prolonged lateral walls.
II HOUSES AND STREETS * EVEN assessing the area of the Urbs as nearly 8 square miles, the circuit of the Imperial City was too limited to accommodate 1,200,000 inhabitants, comfortably - especially since every part of it could not be used for housing. We must subtract the numerous zones where public buildings, sanctuaries, basilicas, docks, baths, circuses, and theatres were in the hands of public authorities, who permitted only a handful of persons to live in them, such as porters, bonders, clerks, beadles, public slaves, or members of certain privileged corporations.
When the empire was in its glory, the tnensa was a set of little shelves in tiers, supported on one leg, and used to display for a visitor's admiration the most valuable treasures of the house (cartibula). Alternatively, it might be a low table of wood or bronze with three or four adjustable supports (trapezophores) or a simple tripod whose folding metal legs usually ended in a lion's claw. As for seats, remains of these are - not without reason - more rarely found in the excavations than tables.