Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A space left unroofed over the court of a dwelling in Ancient Rome, through which the rain fell into the impluvium or cistern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A space left unroofed over the court of a Roman dwelling, through which the rain fell into the impluvium or cistern.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A quadrangular opening in the roof over the atrium or court of ancient Roman houses. The roof was made to slope toward the compluvium, so as to collect the rain-water in a basin or tank in the middle of the atrium. See atrium and impluvium.

Etymologies

Latin (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It was lighted by an opening in the roof, called the compluvium, the roof sloping so as to throw the rain-water into a cistern in the floor called the impluvium.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Assizes-Browne

  • Thence he passed into a huge atrium whose impluvium pool beneath the compluvium in the roof shimmered mirrorlike from an overhead sun.

    Antony and Cleopatra

  • The northern half of the mansion is occupied by a representative wing, containing an Italian-style atrium (room XLV) with a compluvium, a roof opening sloping inside, and an impluvium, a water basin collecting rain water below it.

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Domestic Area Report 2

  • The tuff column and two column bases exposed last week might suggests that the impluvium had been surrounded by four columns at its corners, supporting the entablature for an opening in the roof (compluvium).

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Domestic Area Report 7

  • Light floods through the roof's compluvium, and the multicolored marble surrounding a bubbling fountain sparkles.

    Interactive Dig Pompeii - Ancient Tour

  • Had the weather been less unnaturally cold, they might have remained there, since it was well past dinnertime, but the open rectangle of the compluvium in the roof was acting like a vortex, and the pool below it was a twinkling crust of rapidly melting snowflakes.

    Fortune's Favorites

  • The roof around the compluvium was edged with a row of highly ornamented tiles, called antefixes, on which a mask or some other figure was moulded.

    Museum of Antiquity A Description of Ancient Life

  • The compluvium also was ornamented with a row of triangular tiles called antefixes, on which a mask or some other object was moulded in relief.

    Museum of Antiquity A Description of Ancient Life

  • In the Tuscan, the girders that cross the breadth of the atrium have crossbeams on them, and valleys sloping in and running from the angles of the walls to the angles formed by the beams, and the rainwater falls down along the rafters to the roof-opening (compluvium) in the middle.

    The Ten Books on Architecture

  • As you looked into the atrium, after passing the _vestibulum_ or space between street and doorway, and the _ostium_ or doorway with its _janua_, you saw in front of you the impluvium, into which the rainwater fell from the _compluvium_, i.e. the square opening in the roof with sloping sides; on either side were recesses (_alae_), which, if the family were noble, contained the images of the ancestors.

    Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero

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  • An opening in the center of a roof of a Roman atrium to admit light. (From ArtLex)

    June 5, 2008