Ancient peristyle building „Eirene”
During the period of the archaic and classical Greek architecture the peristyle space appeared. It became a logical and functional centre in the composition of the Ancient residential and public building. The peristyle space is used even today, especially in the construction of representative public buildings.
The peristyle is a courtyard surrounded by columns from all sides. The columns are covered by a roof, thus forming a corridor-gallery, open to the courtyard. Through this space all the rooms in the building are accessed. The Romans liked this space so much that it became the main place for rest in their homes too.
Such peristyle building is uncovered in the ancient Philippopolis, currently located in "Archaeological" underpass in the centre of Plovdiv.
During the construction works of "Archaeological" underpass, the archaeologists came across a monumental building with impressive floors, covered with colourful mosaics. It became clear that these were ruins of a residential complex, whose householder was not a common man. The inscriptions in the mosaics indicate that his name was Desiderius.
The peristyle building was situated on an entire insula – the quarter among four streets. The main representative rooms surrounded the court and were situated in the east part of the complex. The service buildings with brick floors, in which lots of broken pottery was found, were located in the south-west corner of the insula. Later on, an apse was built, as a part of the main entrance space of the representative area.
In the representative part of the house all the rooms had colourful mosaic floors. The main technique was opus tessellatum. In the central room the attention is drawn by the image of a woman inlaid in the precisely ordered mosaics. Below it can be read the inscription EIRHNH from which comes the name of the building. The portrait of Eirene was made in the opus vermiculatum technique, where the tesserae (mosaic stones) are smaller and irregularly shaped. Natural stone in white, black, red, ochre, yellow, green and smalt in cyan were used. Eirene or Irene was the Greek goddess of peace, daughter of Zeus and Themis. Eirene was usually portrayed as a young woman carrying a cornucopia or bearing arms in the God of wealth Plutus. In the Roman mythology she was called Pax.