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Roman blinds – how did Romans protect themselves from sun and take care of their privacy?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Charred ancient shutters in Herculaneum
Charred ancient shutters in Herculaneum | Photo: Jebulon / Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Nowadays, it is common to take care of privacy in your apartments by installing pleats, blinds or curtains on the windows. In addition, this way you can effectively reduce the heating of rooms in the summer. As it turns out, these solutions were known already in ancient times.

Living in Italy, in a big city like Rome, it was essential to have a little privacy and refreshment. For this purpose, a material was hung in the windows, which was often soaked to keep the room cool and effectively protect against dust falling through the windows and clouds of sand, which were stirred up by horses and carts on the streets.

Over time, materials appeared that could be rolled up or unfolded, depending on the needs – thus the so-called modern and still used so-called Roman blinds.

In some houses, wooden shutters were also installed, as evidenced by the preserved and charred buildings in Herculaneum. In summer, they prevented the interior from heating up; in winter they kept the heat. In addition, the shutters ensured safety, as they could be locked from the inside and prevent theft.

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