Roman Bedrooms - Ancient Rome - The Cubiculum
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Roman Bedrooms

bedframe with wooden legs and bronze lattice-work platform
Etruscan bed-frame (in the Vatican Museum, Rome)

September 2016 - This is an Etruscan bed-frame. Roman bed-frames were pretty much the same. It would have had a mattress on top of it, stuffed with feathers or straw, and wool blankets. This frame is made of bronze, so it has lasted and we can see it. But most Etruscan and Roman beds would have been made of wood and strung with wool or linen string. (We still make lawn chairs in about the same way that the Romans made beds.)

an indian woman sitting on a string bed
String bed in modern India
(thanks to Cecil Images)

Many people probably didn't have mattresses. They slept right on the strings, or on straw mats laid on top of the strings. Cloth - because people had to spin and weave it by hand - was too expensive for most Roman people to use on bedsheets or mattress covers.

Learn by doing: try sleeping on a lawn chair laid flat, or in a hammock.
More about Roman houses

Bibliography and further reading about Roman furniture:

Ancient Rome (Eyewitness Books), by Simon James (2004).

Ancient Rome: A Guide to the Glory of Imperial Rome, by Jonathan Stroud (2000). A day as a time-travelling tourist in ancient Rome, for kids.

Houses, Villas, and Palaces in the Roman World, by Alexander McKay (1998).

Roman Dining Rooms
Roman Houses

More about Roman houses
More Roman Architecture
Ancient Rome
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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