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What Did the Romans Eat? Food and Drink in Ancient Times

Painting from Pompeii showing a feast during a family banquet or ceremony 

With evidence collected from sewers and trash dumps at archaeological sites such as Herculaneum and Pompei, scientists can identify the diet of ancient Romans. The article linked below gives us a glimpse into what foods were enjoyed during those times. 

The average Roman ate breakfast (ientaculum) at dawn, light lunch (prandium) around 11:00 am and dinner (cena), as the main meal of the day. Sometimes they also took in a later dinner called vesperna as well. Wealthy Romans ate a bigger cena in the late afternoon, with no vesperna.

"The cena could be a grand social affair lasting several hours. It would be eaten in the triclinium, the dining room, at low tables with couches on three sides. The fourth side was always left open to allow servants to serve the dishes. Diners were seated to reflect their status. The triclinium would be richly decorated, it was a place to show off wealth and status. Some homes had a second smaller dining room for less important meals and family meals were taken in a plainer oikos."

Read about what was on the menu (aside from dormice) here. 

Via The Presurfer | Image: Andrew Dalby


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