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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an overview of artificial lighting means and their efficiency in the performance of domestic nocturnal activities (except cult practices) in ancient Greece. Through experiments conducted in the Lighting Laboratory of the National Technical University of Athens, the optical properties of exact copies of ancient light sources are investigated. The experimental data are used to assess the sufficiency of light produced by the lighting devices, and to examine the resulting lighting conditions in relation to colour perception and domestic nocturnal activities. The results show that people in antiquity could move around and operate with relative ease at night. Most domestic nocturnal activities could be performed even by the light of a single lamp, provided that it was located relatively nearby. Activities involving colour discrimination, such as weaving, were the most difficult but not impossible to perform. Therefore, artificial light in antiquity could be both effective and economical.

Keywords: artificial light, Ancient Greece, measurements, lighting devices, light and colour perception, nocturnal activities feasibility

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