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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?

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.


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