This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

How did ancient Romans eat their meals?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman feast
Roman feast

Ancient Romans consuming soup mainly used spoons made of bronze, animal bones or wood. Richer Romans used silver cutlery. The so-called ligula a small dessert spoon. There was another type, for example, coclear – a spoon with a sharp tip for pulling snails out of the shell or eating an egg. What else was used to eat? How did ancient Romans eat their meals?

The so-called rudix is the original mixing tool. What is worth emphasizing is the myth that the Romans did not know forks (furca). The copies have survived to our times, but they were probably used for serving food on plates and in the kitchen. The reason why the Romans did not use forks for food was the fact that only steel (which, incidentally, the Romans could make) was suitable as a material. The problem, however, was that the Romans did not know a cheap way to achieve it, and mainly steel was used for the production of swords and needles. Knives were used almost exclusively by cooks: the meat of the revellers was carefully cut.

The Romans also liked to eat with their fingers. It should be noted, however, that one of the signs of good manners was to eat in such a way as not to use the whole hand (barbaric behaviour), as little as possible to get the fingers dirty and not to use the ring and little fingers. Due to the frequent use of fingers in eating in the high society, washing your hands, not only before but also many times between meals, was quite a natural habit. The fingers were wiped on the table setting or the hair of the slaves; often some of the servants had just long hair. The right hand was used for food, while the left hand was used to wipe – similar to some modern cultures.

Drinks were drunk from ceramic or wooden vessels since 50 CE mainly use more expensive glass cups. Still, simpler vessels were used among the lower layers.


IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

If you like the content that I collect on the website and that I share on social media channels I will be grateful for the support. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server.



Find out more!

Check your curiosity and learn something new about the ancient world of the Romans. By clicking on the link below, you will be redirected to a random entry.

Random curiosity

Random curiosity

Discover secrets of ancient Rome!

If you want to be up to date with newest articles on website and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter, which is sent each Saturday.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Subscribe to newsletter

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: