In ancient Greece, prytaneums were present in every city, village and state. They were lit with fire from the place in which the people settling came from. It was tended to by a leader of the establishment and was never allowed to be fully extinguished. And if the sacred fire was allowed to die, the city, village or state had to rekindle the fire from the prytaneum of the mother or parent city, state or village.

In a storm, how did the Greeks keep the fire lit?

1 Answer 1


I'm not quite sure why you think this would be a problem. A Prytaneum was a building, with a roof, and presumably doors that could be closed and windows that could be shuttered. While modern westerners tend not to have open fires indoors, the methods of keeping a fire alight indoors during rain without suffocating had been established for thousands of years.

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    Of course, now that you say it, and yet I had the same mental image that the OP likely had: A sort of brazier burning in an open square. Without even thinking about it, I imagined the flame in the only place a modern person would think of putting it: outside, away from my house, children, and everything else of mine that burns. It's fascinating how my modern experience screws up my understanding of the past. Jun 10, 2018 at 21:29
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    @WayneConrad Fireplace.
    – isanae
    Jun 10, 2018 at 21:37
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    @isanae I haven't lived in a house with a fireplace since... forever. At least 1985. I kind of forgot those were a thing. Jun 10, 2018 at 21:45
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    @WayneConrad Candles, oil lamps, kitchen stoves? Your comment made me realize most modern homes actually don't have any open flames, but I think most people even in 2018 have seen fire indoors.
    – JollyJoker
    Jun 11, 2018 at 7:49
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    @JollyJoker In the UK, a lot of houses have gas stoves. Possibly even a majority. OTOH, Wayne's profile says he's in Phoenix, Arizona, where fireplaces would seem... less useful. :-) Jun 11, 2018 at 10:55

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