Rome 2014

The Public and Private in the Roman House and Society Conference 2014 in Rome was a success! A warm thank you to all the participants.

Participants of the Public and Private in the Roman House and Society Conference 2014 at Villa Lante.

Participants of the Public and Private in the Roman House and Society Conference 2014 at Villa Lante.


Registration for the conference is now open! Due to limited room at the institute, registration for the conference is mandatory. There is no registration fee. You can find the registration form here. Please register by November 2nd. Invited keynote speakers and those presenting a paper do not need to register.


Programme of the Public and Private in the Roman House and Society Conference 2014
Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Passeggiata del Gianicolo 10, 00165 Roma (map).

Friday 7.11.2014

14.00 Opening of the conference

14.15-15.15 Keynote lecture
Joanne Berry: Cave canem: boundaries and control in the Roman house
Chair: Samuli Simelius

15.30-17.00 Decorating the line between private and public spheres: paintings and mosaics
Chair: Kaius Tuori
Antero Tammisto: The interior decoration of the House of Marcus Lucretius in Pompeii and its parallels – How rare are the features appearing as promotion of the commissioner of the decoration?
Domenico Esposito: Interrelations between painters ’workshops and patrons in the private and public sphere: some remarks from Pompeii and Herculaneum
Fanny Kärfve: How to communicate with the outside world. The tessellated entrances in Pompeian atrium houses

17.15-18.15 Outside the public axis?
Chair: Laura Nissin
James Andrews: Reconsidering the role of the upper floor in the houses of Pompeii and Herculaneum
Miko Flohr: Shops, workshops and the commercialization of private space in Roman houses: the case of Pompeii

Saturday 8.11.2014

9.00-10.30 Infrastructure, water and sanitation
Chair: Juhana Heikonen
Thomas Staub: Private water installation for the public – the case of the Casa del Torello (V 1,7) in Pompeii
Robyn Veal: Fuelling Roman private houses
Stefano Iavarone: Between Public and Private: sidewalks management in Roman towns, a case study from Cumae

11.00-12.30 Parks and recreation
Chair: Samuli Simelius
Summer Trentin: Public Display and Private Life in the Pompeian Peristyle
Rona-Shani Evyasaf: It’s a room, It’s a picture, It’s a Garden! A view on the private and public aspects of the garden in the Roman house
Mieke Paulsen: Satyrs in the Garden

Lunch break

14.30-16.45 Private houses outside the Vesuvian area
Chair: Heta Björklund
Juhana Heikonen: The one or two Domus under San Clemente in Rome – Possibilities of Reconstructing the Changes Between Public and Private
Mantha Zarmakoupi: The Italian houses of late Hellenistic Delos: Blurring the boundaries between public and private

(15 minute break)

Fabiana Battistin: Living in the Severan Rome. Housing typologies from Forma Urbis Romae fragments
Kaius Tuori: Administrative Space in the Early Imperial System Between Public and Private


Call for Papers: Public and Private in the Roman House and Society, November 7-8, 2014, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae (Rome, Italy)

Abstract deadline: May 1, 2014


Ancient Roman houses were designed to suit both the private life of its occupants and the demands of public life. As a result, the division between public and private spaces inside the domus was a complicated topic even for the Romans themselves. Previous scholarship has tended to treat the domus in terms of a rigid division between public and private, with the same division acting as a gender marker for (male) political activities and (female) domestic activities respectively. This strict division within the household now seems outdated. The aim of this conference, then, is to take a fresh look at notions of public and private within the domus by exploring the public and private spheres of the Roman house from the first century BCE to the third century CE. The “Public and Private in the Roman House and Society” is an ongoing project organizing its third major event, building on the success of a workshop at NYU (October 2012) and a conference at University of Helsinki (April 2013).

We therefore invite papers that explore the complex relationship between public and private in Roman society from a variety of perspectives – historical, archaeological, philological, architectural and anthropological – in order to further the understanding of the domus as a place for social, cultural, political and administrative action. Keynote speakers include Fabrizio Pesando and Joanne Berry.

Potential themes include but are not limited to:
– Painting the line between private and public spheres. Wall paintings and decorative art in the debate of public and private.
– Private houses in Ostia and the city of Rome.
– Parks and recreation. Nature and garden between public and private space.
– Private nights? Night life in the Roman house.
– Terminology of public and private in the ancient context.
– Infrastructure, water and sanitation. A public or private task?

The conference is organized by the project Public and Private in the Roman House (http://, which seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate on privacy in the ancient world as well as the issues of how the limits between public and private spaces were drawn. In an attempt to gain new perspectives on these questions, the project seeks to utilize comparative anthropological theories concerning the conceptualization of the public/private interface.

Please submit your abstract (300 words) as a [word/pdf] file to Mr Samuli Simelius at Please include your name, academic affiliation and address in your email. The language of the conference is English.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 1, 2014.