The Truth About Secret Ancient Roman Parties (Video)
In ancient Rome, extravagant parties were not just about revelry; they were grand displays of wealth, power, and social status. These gatherings encompassed various types, including dinner parties, drinking parties, and public feasts. Dinner parties were elaborate affairs where hosts showcased their riches. Seating arrangements spoke volumes about relationships and social hierarchies. Lavish tableware, made of materials like silver, gold, and crystal, added to the opulence. Food played a central role. Exotic dishes, some even forbidden by law, graced the tables. Pheasant, songbirds, oysters, and even peacock were not uncommon. Entertainment was diverse, from musicians to acrobats, dancing girls to mimes.
Some hosts even arranged gladiator fights or hired prostitutes for added amusement. Drinking parties followed the dinners, with the focus shifting from food to wine. Some parties were less formal, often featuring rowdier entertainment. Women, although fewer in number, were not excluded. In contrast, public feasts like the Epulum Jovis were held to celebrate religious or victorious occasions, open to all citizens. Saturnalia, a famous Roman holiday, disrupted social norms, allowing chaos and merriment to rule. The Bacchanalia, secretive gatherings dedicated to Bacchus, remain shrouded in mystery. Attendees, from all social classes, partook in revelry, including animal sacrifice and all-night orgies.
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Top image: Roman parties were all about grand displays of wealth, power and status. (Public Domain)