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Ancient Roman Entertainment (Banquet)- Shuman
Transcript of Ancient Roman Entertainment (Banquet)- Shuman
Roman banquets, known as convivium, (Latin: eating together) were important rituals of Roman society. They were classified into three different types:
Epulum (public feast): Open to the general public
Cena (dinner): Typically eaten during the mid-afternoon; private*
Comissatio (drinking party): private*
*Private banquets took place in the host's residence and were open to a small group of invited guests
E.g. A group of friends, business associates/clients
Roman banquets were thrown by the rich, as they attempted to impress their guests with extravagant decorations. Dining rooms had expensive floor mosaics, beautiful wall paintings, and portable artpieces. The Romans, like the Greeks, ate in a comfortable reclined position. Women were additionally permitted to partake in the festive activities of some types of banquets to the discretion of the host.
Guests ate while reclined in a triclinium, which was literally three sofas. They were arranged in a "U" shape along three walls of the room, with a table of food in the middle between the three tables.
Roman tableware was often extravagant, with the unofficial motto being "the higher the price, the better your host." The furniture itself was created out of rare and expensive materials from all over the empire, along with materials from outside of the empire, such as ivory. Utensils were elaborate masterpieces made of silver and gold by master artisans. These aspects of a normal banquet served as subtle ocular entertainment.
The real entertainment of the banquet was to delight one's ocular and aural senses. They included musical performances that involved flutes, lyres, and water-organs, accompanied with choral works. Active forms of entertainment included acrobatic feats, beautiful dancing women, gladiatorial fights, mimes, and sometimes trained animals, such as lions and leopards. Dramas could also be preformed, or poetry/epics could be recited. All the members of the residence participated in the entertainment, for example, chefs sang as they served guests, and young, attractive male wine waiters provided visual entertainment.