Poorer Roman citizens lived in apartments or flats often above shops. Entire families would share one room. These Roman Apartments at the time of the Emperor Hadrian were the most common form of housing accomodation for Ancient Romans.
These apartments were known as "Insulae", meaning "island houses". They were often three or more floors high. As the higher floors were only made of wood, and supported on wooden beams, there was always a serious risk of fire and collapse.
In the time of the Emperor Hadrian it was law that Insulae must not exceed 17 metres in height to lessen the danger of collapse.
Light came from the open windows of the Insulae which had no glass in them.
Water would be brought in from outside and residents would have to go out to public latrines to use the toilet.
Cooking was frowned upon in these cramped and crowded conditions and whilst some people cooked at home, many poorer Roman families had no cooking facilities and had to buy cooked food from a shop.
The apartments, or Insulae, would have been covered with signs advertising vacancies - the wealthy Roman Landlords would have been trying to keep the Insulae full of tenants, and so maximise their profits and income.
Waste disposal from the Insulae was via a sytem of sewers, but many of the tenants in these buildings would have to take their waste and sewage to a communal disposal point or just tip it from a window into the street.
Fire, in these wooden buildings was a major risk, and the city, at the time of the Emperor Hadrian, had several fire brigades.
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The Emperor Hadrian ruled for 21 years from A.D. 117 until A.D. 138, when the Empire of Ancient Rome was at its height.
The Emperor Hadrian consolidated and strengthened The Roman Empire. He was The Roman Emperor responsible for the building of Hadrian's Wall in England.
Hadrian was one of the most remarkable and talented of all the Emperors of Rome.... more about Emperor Hadrian
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