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Romans Went Hard In The Paint

Try To Out Party A Roman

By Jessica BuggPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Romans Went Hard In The Paint
Photo by Miti on Unsplash

The Romans make us modern counterparts look like saints. When it comes to partying, the Romans went hard in the motherf*cking paint. In this chapter, we are looking at some of the more scandalous things that you might have seen, participated in, or witnessed when attending one of the Roman celebrations.

At A Roman Party, You Might Be Poisoned

Sometimes on purpose and sometimes as an accident, if you attended a Roman party back in the day there is a shot that you might get poisoned or otherwise very ill. Not all party hosts were malicious, blood thirsty killers. Some poisonings happened due to commonplace infrastructure issues of the day.

Many of the pipes in Roman plumbing were filled with lead. We know today that having lead, more precisely excessive lead in the water supply is a huge health hazard. Historians believe that Roman water contained over 100 times more lead than our water today. Which meant every time you drank water or used it for cooking or bathing; you were potentially poisoning yourself slowly.

Roman baths anyone? Anyone?

Some signs of Roman lead poisoning included:

— Behavioral changes

— Weakened organs

— Weakened vital signs

— Mental instability

Makes you look at your water glass a bit differently doesn’t it?

When In Rome, Drink Wine . . . And Wine Snow Cones For The Fanciest Occasions?

Wine was considered the drink du jour back in Ancient Rome, but it wasn’t like the kind you can pick up at your local corner store. Etiquette of the day frowned upon drinking wine in it’s most potent form, and was almost always served diluted by either cold or hot water.

For the fanciest occasions, the wine would be diluted with snow that was brought in from the mountain tops as refrigeration hadn’t been invented yet. This should be something we should reinstitute into modern gatherings, more wine snowcones.

Wine was also served with a ladle, more often than not by attractive, naked male slaves.

Sign me up. Although with willing naked male servers.

Seating Chart Was Paramount To Success Of Any Roman Gathering

For a culture based on free spirited debauchery, the Romans did not play around when it came time to assigning seats. Kinda like your third grade teacher.

Indeed, there was a class system to the couch seating. And historically speaking, we do love a good class system.

The Roman seating chart was based on a three couch system referred to as the Triclinium.

The most honored guests at the soiree would be seated in the center to the right of the hosts.

If you were seated at the couch to the left of the hosts, that meant that you were still cool but just not as badass as the guests who were chosen to sit to the right.

For larger events, the Triclinium expanded to include couches that could seat up to 12 people at a time in an amphitheatre (semi-circular) setup.

We Couldn’t Discuss The Romans Without Talking About The Gladiators

No party would be complete without entertainment. While there were musicians, acrobats, a multitude of dancing women, mimes, and even exotic animals. But no entertainer could compare to the Roman gladiator.

Nothing says “pleasant dinner party” like having a few men gather up their shields, swords, and battle to the death.

We are being brief here because the gladiators get their own chapter later on.


Kinda like Christmas, held on December 17 each year, except it was to honor the god Saturn, not Jesus Christ. This festival was so popular that Saturnalia was eventually extended to an entire week of celebrations.

Work and businesses were closed. Rules and laws were relaxed. Slaves were set free for the celebrations. Candle giving was the most popular gift as it represented the days getting longer and the return of the Sun.

Again, much like Christmas, Saturnalia festivities were also observed by decorating with greenery, even wreaths on the doors of Roman houses.

Unlike Christmas, you would find the Romans engaging in gambling and dancing. So it was like Mardis Gras and Christmas had an illegitimate child that took the best of both. Or maybe it was Christmas took over only the most boring parts of Saturnalia. You decide.

Final Thoughts

It is clear that no one can throw a party quite like the Romans did even now. In the next Chapter, we will look at even more outrageous things that might go down at a Roman party, including suffocation by flowers?

How does that even happen?


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