Daily Life


A fisherman displays the fresh rewards of a hard day’s work at sea in this fresco from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. Fish was an important part of the diet of the ancient Greeks and Romans.


This Roman relief sculpture captures the intimate details of four servants attending to the grooming and dressing of their mistress. Although Roman women had more freedom than their Greek counterparts, a Roman woman was expected to behave in ways that would enhance her husband’s reputation.


This relief sculpture from an elaborate stone coffin called a sarcophagus shows a butcher in his shop. Sarcophagi were decorated in several different ways. Some carvings featured subjects from Greek myths; others depicted Roman battles. Sometimes images of the deceased person were carved on the lid.


Young friends amuse themselves in this Greek relief from the base of a kouros, which is a large statue of a standing or striding young man.


This Greek vase painting depicts a domestic scene between two women, one spinning, the other holding a hand loom. Upper-class Greek wives were generally confined to their houses where they looked after their children and tended to the business of housekeeping.


This detail from a Roman marble relief sculpture captures the intensity of sailing the sometimes turbulent Mediterranean Sea. Here shipmates attempt to rescue a man who has fallen overboard.


This relief sculpture on a Roman stela—a stone slab that serves as a monument or marker—shows a private session between a teacher and his students. The education of Roman children was mainly private and, therefore, limited to those who could afford it.


In this Roman market scene, merchants display their wares as other customers wait to be served.

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