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Hydriai were used to carry water. One of the daily duties for women was to collect water from the communal fountain. For Greek citizens it was important that women stayed at home as much as possible, so usually it was the slave women who queued at the fountain and chatted with each other, before carrying their heavy load back in large hydriai.
In ancient Greece, water was difficult to come by. Water had to be channelled into the cities where it would be collected at public fountains. Poorer Greek women and the slaves of richer families would meet at these fountains and chat as they queued for the water.