from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A space under the floor of an ancient Roman building where heat from a furnace was accumulated to heat a room or a bath.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An underfloor space or flue through which heat from a furnace passes to heat the floor of a room or a bath.
- n. An underfloor heating system, even without such an underfloor space or flue, as adapted to the modern housing, east and west.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A furnace, esp. one connected with a series of small chambers and flues of tiles or other masonry through which the heat of a fire was distributed to rooms above. This contrivance, first used in bath, was afterwards adopted in private houses.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In architecture, an arched fire-chamber, from which heat is distributed through earthenware pipes to the rooms above it. The term is also sometimes applied to a fireplace, furnace, or oven.
The stube, or stove, of a German inn, derived its name from the great hypocaust, which is always strongly heated to secure the warmth of the apartment in which it is placed.
A dozen burials found in the surrounding hypocaust in the nineteenth century would be consistent with a graveyard around a church*.
The hypocaust was rebuilt, and part of the suspended floor was found still intact when excavated in 1969.
“It was Ahenobarbus Pontifex Maximus who refurbished the Atrium Vestae sixty years ago,” the housekeeper explained, “and then Caesar Pontifex Maximus installed hypocaust heating in all the living areas as well as the record rooms.”
The stoking had been done, but it was not yet time to rake the glowing coals into the hypocaust, there to heat the upper floors.
Our basement was given over to the storage of wills, but Caesar Pontifex Maximus worked out how to take enough of it to make the best hypocaust in Rome.
The hypocaust took up the entire basement, which allowed heated air to flow beneath the caldarium floor, and other rooms as well, and inside the walls through many terra-cotta pipes.
The water for the other two rooms was heated by wood-fired furnaces located in the hypocaust—the heating area.
The caldarium still shows the hypocaust underfloor heating system.
The floor, hollow underneath and heated by a stoked hypocaust fire, had mosaics the equal of Italy's.