Rus Articles Journal

How ancient Romans feasted?

the Solemn meal, a holiday with plentiful entertainments and binge are one forms of communication between people. Many of us took part in such actions. Usually each participant of a feast seeks to try good strong drinks, to eat any delicacies and, of course, sincerely to communicate to the people.

Feasts in ancient Rome

In the 3rd century BC in Rome began to develop violently culinary art: bases of healthy food were developed, new combinations of products and a dish are invented. We use some of antique culinary opening still.

The food of rather poor people was simple and was traditionally used for centuries. And among the rich population of ancient Rome there was an unusual fashion on refined food and hours-long feasts. It led to development by the person sophisticated - wasteful kitchen, to a cult of gluttony and a gluttony.

What products were used for feasts?


Very much appreciated pork and goat meat. Beef was used only when bulls were sacrificed to gods. On convivial tables the game and fish was popular. Especially for feasts rich citizens bred pheasants, guinea fowls, peacocks. They decorated a magnificent feast. The fashion on exotic foods did not stand still: at the emperor Augustus for feasts began to prepare storks dishes, and at the Roman emperor Tiberiya in a high price there were nightingale languages!

Usual wine was used in daily meals. For feasts those which were prepared from certain grades of grapes were considered as the most valuable and expensive wines and are well sustained.

Conversation was important attribute of the Roman feast . When on a feast there were very few people, small group feasting easily kept up the conversation on the subject interesting to all. But during populous feasts at emperors and grandees to conduct the general conversation there was no opportunity.

Where and as owners organized a feast

the Convivial hall usually settled down in back part of the house and adjoined a garden. In the middle of a refectory there was a big table surrounded with stone beds which were called trikliniya . On each stove bench three guests accommodated. The place was a little therefore reclining feasting felt not really comfortably. From drunk and eaten was hot, nearby lay hot as an oven, the neighbor. Windows and doors were indoors open. That guests did not catch a cold, the owner supplied them with capes which repeatedly changed during a meal as became wet from sweat.

On a table densely there were dishes, them was much. To give the chance to messmates to try the maximum quantity of the made foods, near plank beds additional serving trolleys were put.

Women had no right to settle down on trikliniya. They sat on chairs in a zone for casual guests. Invited, a rank is higher, occupied plank beds on the right, the most honored guests kept within to feast in the middle, and at the left left places for “citizens simpler“.

On special tables there were vessels with wine. Feasting the slaves carrying food on silver trays served. Each guest himself imposed to himself an entertainment in a plate. What is interesting, that person who helped himself fingers during food was considered as the most well-mannered and at the same time it was soiled less than others!

So, guests took the places intended to them, tables burst with a food, came it is time to begin a solemn meal.

The feast in ancient Rome traditionally consisted of three parts. At first snack, then a plentiful lunch moved, then there came time for a dessert. As snack served eggs, various salads, cabbage, artichokes, melons with a stuffing, salty fish, oysters and mass of other foods stimulating appetite. With snack feasting drank red wine.

During a body of a solemn lunch from 5 to 9 times changed dishes, and they sometimes were badly combined with each other. Feasting tasted, “whatever is in the house“, lying. From an inconvenient position, a heat, the drunk wine and abundance of the eaten food many guests were not capable to enjoy all new and new dishes any more. The cleverest people left “to wind“, and there vomited from themselves internal contents. Then came back “with light baggage“ and with pleasure continued to eat under jaundiced eyes of neighbors in a bed.

Feasts in ancient Rome proceeded on a mnoga of hours. Except flesh saturation, “the cultural program“ also was provided in each big meal to amuse guests. For this purpose invited actors, dancers, musicians and poets.

Tradition to arrange feasts in an occasion and without held on in Rome several centuries. At the end of existence of the Roman Empire feasts turned into frank orgies and a gluttony. For example, the emperor Vitelly became famous for the gluttony. Horace wrote about this time: “Good taste and customs were lost completely. At a table of a song there were obscene, and women almost undressed“.

Infinite feasts with unlimited consumption of food became a target for the Roman writers. They did not miss an opportunity to compose satirical works on this subject. Seneca repeatedly in the epigrams derided “a gluttony on feasts, bottomless and insatiable“ and convinced fellow citizens that the diseases overcoming them are a consequence of gluttony and alcoholism. But citizens did not hurry to listen to it … difficultly to imagine

that at the beginning of existence of the empire the Roman doctors developed science about a balanced diet - dietology. And on its decline infinite mad feasts set in, and it was not succeeded to reach reason feasting the scientist.