Roman Dining Rooms - Ancient Rome - Roman Triclinium answers questions

Roman Dining Rooms

Poor Romans (which was most people) ate sitting at a wooden table, the way you do, on wooden stools (Most people didn't have chairs with backs). Or, if they were slaves, they just sat on the floor or on a straw mat.

A fresco painting of a triclinium, from Pompeii
(now in the Naples Archaeological Museum)

Rich people, at least when they had company, ate in a more formal way, lying down on couches around a table. Because there were usually three couches in a room, these formal dining rooms were called triclinia (tri = three, and cline = down). (One triclinium, two triclinia).

Although in the Greek world usually only men went to these formal parties, Roman women did go to dinner parties with the men.

Roman Silverware and Dishes
Roman Kitchens
Roman Food
Roman Houses
Roman Bedrooms

Bibliography and further reading information on triclinia:

Ancient Roman Homes, by Brian Williams (2002). Easy reading.

A Roman Villa: Inside Story, by Jacqueline Morley (American edition 1992). For kids, with lots of pictures.

Ancient Rome (Eyewitness Books), by Simon James (2004). Also for kids, with lots of great photographs.

The Roman Banquet : Images of Conviviality, by Katherine Dunbabin (2004). By a specialist, for interested adults. What Roman dinner parties were like, and how they were different from Greek ones.

Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum, by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (1996). By a leading expert in ancient architecture.

Roman Architecture
Ancient Rome home

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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