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Domitian’s fark feast

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Emperor Domitian was extremely suspicious towards the end of his reign and sensed conspiracies everywhere. He was also reluctant to refer to senators. According to Cassius Dio, once the ruler invited a group of influential senators to dinner at his residence. The drawing room where the feast was to take place was painted entirely black.

Moreover, the room was filled with furniture in this colour, and the plates were surprisingly similar in appearance to tombstones. The serving boys were painted black.

The dishes on the table were also dark or grey in colour, and the emperor only touched on the subject of death and murder during dinner. All the guests sensed their imminent end. However, their surprise was great when very expensive gifts from the ruler were sent home to them.

  • Cassius Dio, Roman history LXVII.9

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