roman domus

The domus was the typical dwelling of ancient Rome. Inhabited by the wealthier classes, usually Patricians, it was a private house with two entrances: the external entrance, or ostium, and the atrium, the main entrance located in the centre of a large courtyard. The courtyard, which had a skylight and was the heart of the whole building, gave access to all the other private rooms. The domus should be distinguished from the insulae, the dwellings for the poorer classes which accommodated several families.