What Were Buffets Like In Ancient Roman Times?

Baked birds stuffed with fruits, with flower petals for garnish, and swimming in the herb sauce. That is how the Romans were actually into cooking. Or, to be precise, that is how they desired their food to satisfy them.

The individuals of history seemed to have more class than those consuming at today’s buffets, but the Romans did enjoy food to the point of throwing it up afterward. There are numerous stories about how the Romans actually conducted themselves around food throughout a feast or the banquet. A banquet would be the closest equivalent to the buffet for comparison’s sake.

Fictional Feaster:

Beginning with the most extravagant is the Dinner of Trimalchio. Although it’s fictional, the story about this banquet was one of extreme gluttony. Trimalchio was actually a character in the Satyricon story. He was a rags-to-riches character and did that by getting his way into the higher society.

His banquets featured exotic foods, featuring food like poultry fitted inside swine and other varieties of birds in contraptions that guests at the banquet had to search for before eating them. Petronius went to the extent of having the characters act out Trimalchio’s funeral throughout his banquet.

Mean, Old Domitian:

Another prankster was Emperor Domitian. He assembled the banquet where everything was colored black, comprising the food. Emperor Domitian was recognized for his strict leadership and his determination to reconstruct and expand the Roman Empire.

In one of the banquets, he had his guests consume next to his gravestone. People were embarrassed, but they just found out about the emperor’s prank when they were sent back home and had been given parting presents. Domitian also was accountable for reviving public banquets.

Purging Is Fake News:

With all such consumption and feasting, it is not astonishing that the Romans had a special spot to throw up all the food so that they could have another round at the banquet table. Vomitoriums were spots for the Romans to throw up when they were already full.

This practice and Roman’s extremes on food and banquets were pointed out by Seneca in one of his inscriptions, Letter to Helvia. But vomitoriums are, in fact, doorways (exit or entrance) to theaters or stadiums.

Seneca was figurative in the writings, and that well-liked culture (hello, Hunger Games) reinforced the thought of the practice of purging after consuming. In addition to the two, linguistics had most individuals fooled into thinking that it is really a spot to vomit.

So the next time you eat at a buffet restaurant such as MGM Buffet or Bacchanal Buffet, don’t try to search for a vomitorium. Amusingly enough, Bacchanal’s name is from the Roman god Bacchus, the wine god.

Good Vibes And Good Food:

The Roman banquet’s focus was the wine. Food shortages were common for the groups, but Rome saw an everyday import of inexpensive wine. The leading suppliers of wine came from Crete and Western Italy, among others. Despite the luxuriousness of Roman banquets, drunkenness wasn’t revered, and it was common for individuals to mix it with some water.

Roman banquets were also set with women, entertainment, dancers, and musicians. Banquets were held privately by a few well-off families, and they served a political function. Roman leaders held banquets as a networking forum. It also worked as intimidation against possible foes. Guests were frequently accommodated in the dining area with a garden view.

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