Roman Meal time

  • In Rome dinner or ‘cena’, the main meal of the day, was often eaten at two- thirty in the afternoon.
  • Not all Romans gorge themselves on lavish banquets. Many eat plainer meals of roast chicken or turkey, fish and vegetables.
  • The poor and slaves had to make do with wheat porridge or ‘pulmentum’, a vegetable stew of peas, beans and lentils.
  • If you were invited to a banquet, at the door you would be announced by a ‘nomenclature’ (usher). You had to take off your sandals and have your feet washed by a slave. Before you entered the ‘triclinium’ (dining room).
  • The usher would show guests to there place and then come to wash the guests hands.
  • All guests at a Roman banquet would be lying in order of importance.
  • Guests would lie on mattresses spread with cushions. Only slaves and young children would sit to eat.
  • You had to make sure you arrived hungry to a Roman banquet as seven courses was normal ! First cold dishes, then ‘mulsum’ (honey wine), then fish dishes, meats and finally desserts.
  • At a banquet there would be lots of entertainment from musicians, dancers or conjurors, who would entertain between the courses.

Here is an example of a Roman Menu :

Gustatio (Starter)

A selection of radishes, lettuce, eggs, mushrooms, cheese and sardines.



Fried mullet with prawns, Mackerel in a tuna fish sauce served with hot rolls.


Roast venison with leeks fried in honey. Roast boar in liquamen sauce served with cabbage, turnips, beans and sprouts.

Secundae mensae (dessert)

Honey cakes, stuffed dates, fresh fruit including apples, pears, grapes, figs and nuts.

I read this information from a pocket guide to Ancient Rome by Usborne Timetours.

The punctuation I used was brackets, commas, colon, exclamation mark and quotation marks.


Roman Meal time — 5 Comments

  1. I really like your work you have explained all about Roman mealtimes E.G in Rome dinner or ‘cena’, the main meal of the day was often eaten at two- thirty in the afternoon

  2. Hi Erin, really liked you post because you described everything really well and you used quote marks next time try to use some more ambitious vocabulary.

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