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What is a Megaron? - Definition & Architecture

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson, we explore megarons, the largest and most important rooms in an ancient Greek house which were required to hold important events and fete important individuals.

No Rental Hall Required

When planning a wedding or reception - as most grooms are displeased to find - there can be literally thousands choices to make. Perhaps the most important is where to hold the event. In modern America there are hundreds of places that can be chosen; weddings and receptions occur at golf courses, churches, backyards, banquet halls, lodges, and hotels, just to name a few! Days, even weeks, can be spent just trying to decide on a location.

Fortunately, for the beleaguered grooms of ancient Greece, most large houses already had built-in rooms where all of Greek life's most important events and rituals were held - the megaron.

What is a Megaron?

The megaron was the largest room in any ancient Greek building, and it had characteristic architecture. The entrance to each Greek megaron featured an open porch, sometimes with an awning supported by twin columns. The megaron itself is a large, rectangular room, often with four columns supporting the ceiling. In the middle of the room was often a large hearth, which was vented through a hole in the ceiling. A crude example of a megaron can be seen below.

Schematic of a typical Greek megaron
Schematic of a typical Greek megaron

Megarons were used for all sorts of important events and are mentioned frequently in ancient Greek literature. Megarons were the principal rooms used for feasts, parties, important religious rituals, or receiving visits by kings or important dignitaries. As the largest room and often most important room in the house, the megaron was often surrounded by supplementary rooms such as workshops and kitchens.

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