Nadire Aslan is a PhD student at Middle East Technical University since 2021. Completed master’s degree at Hacettepe University in 2019 on “The relationship between courtyard and cultural identity in Roman residential architecture: Ephesus, Priene, Aphrodisias, Kremna, Sia, Zeugma”. She accomplished her undergraduate education at Ankara University Classical Archaeology Department in 2013. She participated in Salamis Ancient City Excavations between 2010-2012 excavation seasons and Alexandria Troas City Excavations in 2011-2012 as an intern archaeologist. She took part in 2013 Arykanda Ancient City and 2016 Aspendos Ancient City Excavations as an archaeologist. Also, she has been working as a volunteer manager at the Sharing Circle Association/Paylaşım Çemberi Derneği, a non-profit organization focused on the rights of human, animal, and inanimate beings since 2019.
The relationship between the use of courtyards and cultural identity in Roman domestic architecture
Individuals who constitute the society and the ethnic identity to which they feel a sense of belonging are one of the fundamental elements of that society’s culture. In order to be able to understand the development and cultural orientation of a past society, all epigraphic and archeological data should be considered. Nevertheless, recent studies demonstrate that architectural evidence has the potential to contribute to the understanding of the culture of a society as much as the epigraphic data and ancient resources. The approach that views architectural remains as cultural material puts domestic architecture in a particular position. In this context, domestic architecture, which previously was considered to be reflecting only the family and daily life, is now perceived to be closely related to the concept of societal culture. Moreover, recent approaches in archaeology tend to reconsider the mostly preconceived terminologies while researching cultural identity and its foundations of it. As a result of this, the Roman Empire and the socio-politic structure it established in different geographies came to be seen as a mutual cultural interaction between the ruler and the ruled, rather than one-way cultural imperialism. This research aims to demonstrate how the Roman Empire influenced local culture and how social identity was shaped during the Late Republic and Early Imperial periods taking some comparative domestic examples from Anatolia and Greece. The peristyle houses, which were shaped in the Greek architectural tradition, were preferred by the Romans as well as the atrium-type houses specific to Roman residential architecture. We can observe that the use of courtyards belonging to different periods is preferred together. These uses provide us with architectural data in terms of showing the interaction of different communities that have different historical or social background. In addition, houses with courtyards, which are generally owned by wealthy families, also show different decorative and architectural elements according to the effect of the administrative and economic relations of the city under the Roman Empire. For this reason, these houses will be examined within the texture of the city and it will be tried to understand how local and foreign elements are used. Consequently, the examples chosen within the scope of this study aim to evaluate how commercial, economic, hierarchical, social (gender, age etc.), and religious elements are shaped in residential areas.