Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Domus Romana: A Roman House

Pierce Taylor
Santa Rosa District Schools


A home can tell a lot about the people that live there. This lesson explores the typical elements of a wealthy Roman politician or businessman's home and the types of activities that go on there.


The student identifies and discusses various aspects of the target culture (e.g., social and political institutions and laws).


-[Domus Romana] Floor Plan copied onto a transparency (see Associated File)
-Vocabulary List (see Associated File)
-Instruction Sheet (see Associated File)


1. Download the Associated File and make copies as needed.
2. Review the Vocabulary List (see Associated File).
3. Refer to the web link or any number of sources on Roman houses to review the functions of the various rooms/spaces in a Roman house.


1. Ask the students if they think that they can tell something about people from the house they live in, and ask them what kinds of things they can tell. Then show them a picture of a Roman domus. You can find a picture in any Latin textbook. Ask the students what they think about the people who lived there. Explain how the outside of the home was not as important to the Romans, and that the home was designed to shelter the occupants from both the elements and the people of the outside world.

2. Show the [Domus Romana] Floor Plan (see Associated File) on an overhead projector, and/or copy the floor plan and give one to each student. Using the numbers on the floor plan as reference, identify and discuss the use of each room/space.

3. Tell the students you want them to make a floor plan of their home or a dream home as a homework assignment. Hand out the Instruction Sheet (see Associated File) and review the assessment criteria (see Assessments).

4. Formatively evaluate the projects using the criteria listed in Assessments.


The following criteria are formatively assessed: student identifies in Latin the rooms/spaces in a Roman house and describes their functions. Student is able to name in Latin the rooms/spaces in a modern house, which were common in a Roman house.


Second or third-year students can translate Vitruviusí de Architectura, especially VI.5.1-2 which is available in the Ecce Romani series: Lawall, G. [The Romans Speak for Themselves, Book II]. White Plains, N.Y.: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.

Web Links

Web supplement for Domus Romana: A Roman House
A Diagram of a Roman House

An article concerning mealtime in a Roman house.
Additional Information about kitchens and dining rooms can be found

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.