Roman Banquets convivia By Spanish e-twinning team - “Ancient Rome in your modern town”
Roman dinners, “cenae”, the main meal of a day, were not only achance to show how luxurious are your life but also a moment toshare, with family and friends, the pleasure of a good meal.In big banquets, convivia, there could be musicians, singers anddancers, poets and so on to enjoy the after-dinner.
Every guest comes with their personal slave to be assisted. He bringsa napkin, not only to avoid stains but to pick up the leftovers and thepresents given at the end of the dinner.
The dinner takes place in the triclinium, a room with threecouches (lectus), where males eat reclinning on their sides,around a round table.It is believed that during the Roman Republic most womenand the poor ate sitting on chairs. Children ate in aseparate place
These couches were arranged in u-shape with the table in themiddle, with enough room around to serve the meal.In the table were put food, wine and some cutlery except forkswhich were replaced for fingers.Every guest position was arranged in advance by the host.
After an offering of pure wine to gods, the dinner can start andit goes, as it’s said by Horace, ad ovo usque mala, you mean,from eggs to apple.Gustatio, which means starter, is the first part of the dinner.It includes several kinds of eggs the usual salad andvegetables, pickles, mushrooms, small fish ... as appetizers.The usual drink was mulsum (a mixture of wine and honey).
The main course is called prima mensa.The decoration of this dish could be more important than the actualingredients. For example, in the Trimalcion’s dinner were served variousfoods arranged in the shape of the twelve signs of the zodiac.It consists in two or three dishes of meat (pork, beef, birds, sausages, ...)roasted or stuffed, and fish.
The third part is the secundamensa or dessert.They used to serve fresh fruit,cakes and nuts.Sometimes the celebrationgoes on into a commisatio,which is an after-dinnerentertainment in which muchwine, melted with hot water, isserved for long hours.