Gynaeceum - Encyclopedia




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GYNAECEUM (Gr. yvvacKE70v, from yvvi i , woman), that part in a Greek house which was specially reserved for the women, in contradistinction to the "andron," the men's quarters; in the larger houses there was an open court with peristyles round, and as a rule all the rooms were on the same level; in smaller houses the servants were placed in an upper storey, and this seems to have been the case to a certain extent in the Homeric house of the Odyssey. "Gynaeconitis" is the term given by Procopius to the space reserved for women in the Eastern Church, and this separation of the sexes was maintained in the early Christian churches where there were separate entrances and accommodation for the men and women, the latter being placed in the triforium gallery, or, in its absence, either on one side of the church, the men being on the other, or occasionally in the aisles, the nave being occupied by the men.

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