Donnerstag, 25. April 2013, 17:00 - 19:00 iCal

Scent in Roman Dining

Prof. David S. Potter (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien, Hörsaal 21
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien


Romans are famous for eating. And they are famous for misbehaving while they ate. But is this fair? At our best-known Roman dinner party, people kept their clothes on and discussed the literature of dining, drawing upon a thousand years of culinary tradition. Basically communal dining helped define a society and people’s place within it. What was it (assuming that people didn’t take off their clothes or blaspheme the gods) that made for a good Roman party in an ordered society? It was, first and foremost, something that smelled good. Dining, fine or otherwise was as much an experience of nostril and palate in the ancient world as in the modern. The excellence of the Roman dining experience meant creating a scented environment within which food, often highly spiced could be enjoyed by people who were themselves heavily perfumed. The places where people ate were also carefully chosen—to be as far from places that smelt poorly. Kitchens and toilets were kept away from diners as the Roman diner experience was based upon the division between ideal unguental space and odious excremental space.




Lavinia Ioana Enache
Universität Wien
Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel-und Neulatein