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View from the atrium to the tablinum, with the peristyle behind (drawing from the 19th century)

As a tablinum (from Latin tabula , "panel") in the ancient Roman house was a room that was directly adjacent to the atrium , usually on the side opposite the entrance. The tablinum often opened up with its entire front to the atrium and could be screened off by curtains or wooden doors if necessary. Often the back wall of the tablinum was open or at least provided with large windows so that an impressive line of sight was created from the entrance of the house, through the atrium and tablinum to the garden or into the peristyle .

The room was originally reserved for the head of the family, the " pater familias ", who also received his clients here in his capacity as patron . Later it was generally used as a representation room richly decorated with pictures. The busts of ancestors were found here in noble families.