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Ancient Rome

Food and Drink

History >> Ancient Rome

People in Ancient Rome ate a wide variety of foods. What a person ate depended on both their wealth and where they lived in the Roman Empire. Food was imported from all around the empire to feed the large populations in the capital city of Rome.

How many meals did they eat?

The Romans ate three meals during a typical day. The first meal (breakfast) was called the "ientaculum." It was usually eaten around sunrise and consisted of bread and maybe some fruit. The next meal (lunch) was called the "prandium". The prandium was a very small meal eaten around 11 AM. The main meal of the day was the "cena." It was eaten in the afternoon.

Typical Food of the Poor

As you might expect, the poor people in Rome did not eat the same food as the wealthy. The main food of the poor was a porridge call "puls." Puls was made by mixing ground wheat and water. Sometimes they might get some vegetables or fruit to eat with their puls. The poor ate very little meat.

Dinner Parties

The wealthy ate much better than the poor. They would often have fancy dinner parties that lasted for hours and had several courses. They would have a variety of foods including fruit, eggs, vegetables, meats, fish, and cakes.

Did they sit around a table?

At formal dinner parties, the Romans reclined on couches around a low table. They would lay on their left arm and then eat from the center table using their right hand. For less formal meals, the Romans would sit on a stool or stand while eating.

Did they use forks and spoons?

The main utensil used by the Romans for eating was the spoon. They also used their hands a lot. They sometimes used a knife or a fork like utensil for cutting or spearing a piece of food.

Did they eat any strange foods?

Some of the foods that the Ancient Romans ate would seem strange to us today. At fancy banquets they sometimes ate things like flamingo's tongues, roast peacock, and stewed snails. Perhaps the strangest thing they ate was dormice. Dormice were considered a delicacy and were sometimes eaten as appetizers. One Roman recipe called for the dormice to be dipped in honey and rolled in poppy seeds.

What did they drink?

The main drink of the Romans was wine. It was often watered down for daily consumption.

Interesting Facts About Ancient Roman Food and Drink
Activities For more about Ancient Rome:

Overview and History
Timeline of Ancient Rome
Early History of Rome
The Roman Republic
Republic to Empire
Wars and Battles
Roman Empire in England
Barbarians
Fall of Rome

Cities and Engineering
The City of Rome
City of Pompeii
The Colosseum
Roman Baths
Housing and Homes
Roman Engineering
Roman Numerals
Daily Life
Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Life in the City
Life in the Country
Food and Cooking
Clothing
Family Life
Slaves and Peasants
Plebeians and Patricians

Arts and Religion
Ancient Roman Art
Literature
Roman Mythology
Romulus and Remus
The Arena and Entertainment
People
Augustus
Julius Caesar
Cicero
Constantine the Great
Gaius Marius
Nero
Spartacus the Gladiator
Trajan
Emperors of the Roman Empire
Women of Rome

Other
Legacy of Rome
The Roman Senate
Roman Law
Roman Army
Glossary and Terms


Works Cited

History >> Ancient Rome






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