Ientaculum: A Changing Lifestyles In Ancient Rome

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In Rome, much like in other areas of the world, there were specific times of day where people would dedicate themselves to eating. The times of day were similar to what is seen now in America, with a meal taking hold in the morning, midday, and evening. Though the meals evolved and changed as the empire itself did, one can look at the different meals and be able to make connections between them and those of today’s importance. Commonly in Rome the first acknowledgeable meal would be called ientaculum. It was not extraordinary and some citizens of the empire forwent it entirely. If a citizen were to go about consuming ientaculum it would likely be something simple and small to tide the citizen over to prandium or cena. Ientaculum was never an…show more content…
Instead, this would be later, and known as cena, where the poor class would be eating vesperna. Early in the course of the empire, vesperna was the evening meal that all citizens of Rome would share with their families. It was once again a one course meal and nothing special or extraordinary. Vesperna at no point was the most lavish meal for citizens, moreso a meal to be shared by family before retiring for the evening. For the most part it was similar to prandium, if only less important. The meal that was more important than any other for the citizens of the early empire, and later, the rich of the late empire, was cena. Cena was the only meal which had the possibility of meat for those present, and only if it was a special occasion. In the early empire, it was the main meal and stationed at noon, but as time wore on cena shifted to being a luxury only the upper-class could enjoy and moved to the evening. It consisted in the late empire of family gathering in the triclinium for a multi-course meal. On occasion, multiple families would gather, changing the meal into a banquet. This organization is rather similar to common modern
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