What does hearth mean? besides fireplace. Please Read the following definition of the word "Prytaneion" to better understand my question. Prytaneion: the public hall in an ancient Greek city that housed the sacred hearth and where official and public guests were entertained.
History of Art - Roman Architecture
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It's still a fireplace of sorts! A Prytaneion was a building dedicated to Hestia, goddess of the hearth, and so in addition to an altar, there was also a sacred hearth, presumably kept constantly alight, rather like a santuary lamp in a Catholic chruch today. Rather than being set into a wall like later fireplaces, the sacred hearth was a square or recatangular 'box' structure, either in the centre of a room or set into a corner. it would have been quite low and was simply a durable 'tray' (stone or bronze?) to contain the burning wood or charcoal.