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date: 19 September 2020


  • Marie-Christine Hellmann,
  • Francis Woodman,
  • Walter Smith,
  • John Villiers
  •  and Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt


Building type, usually consisting of a large roofed space with a public or communal function. The term probably derives from the Teutonic halla (‘covered space’) rather than the Latin aula (‘open court’).

Halls are not generally characteristic of Greek and Roman architecture. In Creto-Mycenaean palaces the hall is the great throne room (see Helladic, §II, 3). Subsequently this type of building was associated with democratic political organization that necessitated a place for the meetings of the council of the people (boule). In its earliest form this room (called the Bouleuterion) was rectangular and quite wide; it apparently derived from the Megaron with its axial colonnade, for example those on Delos and Kalauria and at Olynthos. It resembled a closed portico, and for this reason certain deep or long porticos are also called ‘halls’ by archaeologists, for example the Hall of Votive Gifts in Samothrace (...

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