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Peristyle in an antique house
Peristyle near a basilica

The peristyle ( ancient Greek περίστυλον perístylon , Latin peristylium ) is a rectangular courtyard in ancient architecture , which is surrounded on all sides by continuous columned halls ( colonnades ). The Greek word is made up of περί peri , German 'around' and στῦλος stylos , German 'column' and actually means 'what is surrounded by columns'. Occasionally, totum pro parte only the surrounding colonnaded halls are referred to as the peristyle.

Ancient Egyptian architecture

Numerous temple complexes from the New Kingdom onwards have courtyards that are surrounded by peristyles.

Hellenistic architecture

The peristyle was developed as a building type in Greek architecture and has been used since the 5th century BC. Chr. On. It connects the idea of ​​the inner courtyard with that of the stoa (pillared hall). The paved inner courtyard has a rectangular or square floor plan and is surrounded on all four sides by evenly designed halls that open towards the courtyard with columns. The rear of the courtyard halls can either be adjacent to other parts of the building or to an external wall. Peristyle can also be built on two floors, the gallery on the upper floor then has a smaller column position with retracted parapets . The peristyle is often a central component of the stately residential building (for example in the palaces on the Pergamon Castle Hill ) and is directly connected to other representative rooms such as the Andron via the porticoed halls .

Roman architecture

During the 2nd century BC The peristyle was adopted into Roman architecture and developed into the so-called garden peristyle. The traditional Italian town house (domus) had a walled garden (hortus) in the back of the house , which has now been increasingly redesigned in more representative houses based on the model of a Greek peristyle. An ornamental garden was preferred on the courtyard area, the view of which could be enjoyed from the adjoining dining rooms (e.g. triclinien ). The peristyle also became an important component in the luxurious villas ( villae urbanae ) of the Roman upper class in the countryside. Many villas had several peristyle of considerable size, of which one was often designed as a garden peristyle, often equipped with water basins and fountains, and one as a paved peristyle in the living area (example: Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum ). The Roman architectural theorist Vitruvius recommended the sequence of entrance, peristyle and atrium in the central axis of the building for the villa , while the reverse sequence was usual for the town house, with the atrium in the entrance area and the peristyle in the rear, more private area of ​​the house.

Christian sacred architecture

In the early Christian basilica , the columned halls surrounding the forecourt are also called the peristyle, and the inner courtyard itself is also known as the atrium (see narthex ). The terms only partially match the ancient designs of the same name. The courtyard halls were usually designed as arcades (arcades).

Image examples

See also


Web links

Commons : Peristyle  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Hans Lauter: The architecture of Hellenism . Darmstadt 1986, p. 132.
  2. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Pompeii. Archaeological guide . Bergisch Gladbach 1999, p. 55
  3. Harald Mielsch: The Roman Villa. Architecture and way of life . Munich 1987.