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Posted on January 28th, 2009 by

Ancient Greek homes doubled as pubs, brothels

A new analysis of archaeological remains might have solved the mystery of the elusive kapeleia, lively Greek taverns that have long puzzled archaeologists.

Despite the kapeleia being featured prominently in classical plays, no tangible evidence of the drinking dens has ever been found.

“Taverns are indeed so well hidden. We know them to have existed, yet we cannot seemingly find any physical evidence for the buildings themselves,” said Clare Kelly Blazeby

Suspecting that archaeologists were missing something, Blazeby reviewed artifacts unearthed at several private houses across the Greek mainland, dating from 475 to 323 B.C.

She was struck by the fact that some houses had yielded hundreds of drinking cups — far too many even for well-off families hosting lavish parties.

The most likely explanation, according to Blazeby, is that Greek homes doubled as pubs.



“There was nothing to stop part of a house being utilized for commercial gain by using a room fronting onto the street as a shop, or indeed from using the household courtyard for business transactions,” she said.

Domestic walls might have also hidden other dubious commercial activities. Indeed, drinking, eating and sex seemed to have gone hand in hand in the homes of ancient Greece.


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