from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A low basin in the center of a household atrium, into which rainwater flowed down from the roof through the compluvium.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In Roman dwellings, a cistern or tank, set in the atrium or peristyle to recieve the water from the roof, by means of the compluvium; generally made ornamental with flowers and works of art around its birm.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In ancient Roman houses, a basin to receive the rain-water, situated in the middle of the atrium or hall, below the compluvium or open space in the roof. See atrium and compluvium.
  • n. Same as compluvium.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin impluvium, from impluit ("rains upon")


  • Beyond the impluvium is the place of a small altar for the worship of the Lares.

    Museum of Antiquity A Description of Ancient Life

  • Through this light and air made their way down to the apartment, the rainfall from the roofs and opening falling into a marble tank, called the impluvium, below the level of the floor, which was paved with squares of coloured marble.

    Beric the Briton : a Story of the Roman Invasion

  • a large opening broke into a thousand sparks on a fountain in a quadrangular little basin, called the impluvium, which was in the middle to receive rain falling through the opening during bad weather; this was surrounded by anemones and lilies.

    Quo Vadis: a narrative of the time of Nero

  • The main door usually opened onto a vestibule—the spaces giving on to the street were often rented to shopkeepers—leading to the central atrium, where the residents greeted guests and tended to business matters; the walls were frescoed, the floors paved with terracotta or mosaics, the roof had an opening that allowed rainwater to collect in an impluvium , a basin on the floor that fed an underground cistern.

    The Gracious Art of Living

  • 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

  • - There are nine wide pedestrians in the impluvium.

    hamletwildie Diary Entry

  • After we had already excavated the southern part of Atrium XLV with impluvium in 2005 and 2006, we reached the purple schist pavement now all over the room.

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Urban Mansion Report 5

  • View of Atrium XLV, with the impluvium, nymphaeum, and lime kiln from the south

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Urban Mansion Report 5

  • The heart of this part of the house was a rectangular atrium with impluvium and private nymphaeum (Room XLV) entered via Corridor LIX (not fully investigated).

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Domestic Area Report 2

  • To the northeast, an atrium with impluvium for the collection of rainwater (Room XLV) gave access to two large rooms: Room LI (not yet completely investigated) in the north and Room XLVI (entirely excavated) farther south.

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Urban Mansion Report 2


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "...a snapshot of loquat trees and a dirty impluvium."

    - W.M. Spackman, An Armful of Warm Girl

    January 2, 2012