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What was fashionable in the 2nd century BCE in Rome?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


In the 2nd century BCE three people lived in Rome who promoted a lifestyle based on bathing, drinking a falern (tart and strong wine produced in Campania) and eating oysters from Lake Lucrinum in Campania. They were Sergius Orata, a worldman and inventor of oyster farming, the aristocrat Lucius Cornelius Crassus and the well-known doctor Asclepiades from Bithynia.

Orata invented the fashion for falerne wine, Krassus gave banquets, and Asclepiades argued that baths, falerns and oysters (only from Lake Lucrinum) are necessary for health.

If a Roman wanted to belong to this elegant world, he had to imitate Orata and Crassus. On one of the Roman tombstones from the 1st century CE we read the confession of a Tiberius Claudius Secundus, who after 52 years, came to the conclusion that although bathing, wine and love destroy the body, it is these pleasures that are the meaning of life.

Author: Bogumiła Gebler
  • Beata Maciejewska, W poszukiwaniu rzymskiego wina, "Gazeta Wyborcza", 29 May 2013

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