Roman Dining

About this site

This site holds the class projects for Latin 398 Special Topics: Roman Dining, Spring 2019 and Spring 2022 (University of Richmond Department of Classical Studies, Dr. Elizabeth Baughan). The translations and commentaries here have been prepared by Latin students for students without knowledge of Latin, in Classics 212: Dining and Drinking in Antiquity and First-Year Seminar: Wining and Dining in the Ancient Mediterranean.

Course description for Latin 398 Roman Dining: Catullus and Martial invited friends to dinner parties in some of their verses. Juvenal satirized imperial banquets while Statius glorified them. Pliny’s letters give fascinating details about the many dining rooms of his countryside estates, including water channels for floating appetizers. In this advanced Latin course, we read selections from Latin poetry, satire, letters, historical prose, inscriptions, and even cookbooks to explore the world of the convivium and the history and significance of eating, drinking, and dining in Roman society. Students work together to create modern, accessible English translations and commentaries for key texts that will be used by future students in courses on ancient dining and to prepare a Roman-style convivium using real Roman recipes.

Background image: detail of ‘Asarotos oikos’ or ‘Unswept Floor’ mosaic, Vatican Museum