The upper class ate in a dining room called the triclinium from the Greek word triklinion which can be broken into tri ("three") and klinon ("couch"). The triclinium was a beautifully decorated room because it was a room where a lot of time would be spent eating, relaxing and having long conversations with guests.
It is worth noting that all slaves ate either standing up or sitting. Children also ate sitting around a table. Initially, only men were allowed to eat reclined in these rooms. At the end of the Republic and during imperial times, women were also allowed to lie on the couch (called the lectus).
The triclinium could be really large and accomodate a lot of people. In Herculaneum, visitors can see an original one that is rather well-kept (in house number 22 of the Herculaneum ancient site). Notice in the picture how large the dining room was, the size of the lectus, the altar and the beautiful mosaic on the wall which represents Neptune and Amphitrite. The picture gives a good idea of how large and luxurious these dining rooms were.
By the way, we recommend that you visit our page related to Roman food for more information about Roman cuisine. We also recommend our page related to Roman entertainment.
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