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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XI - The Old Republic and the New Monarchy


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Page 108

Table Luxury

But no sort of luxury flourished so much as the coarsest of all-- the luxury of the table. The whole villa arrangements and the whole villa life had ultimate reference to dining; not only had they different dining-rooms for winter and summer, but dinner was served in the picture-gallery, in the fruit-chamber, in the aviary, or on a platform erected in the deer-park, around which, when the bespoken "Orpheus" appeared in theatrical costume and blew his flourish, the duly-trained roes and wild boars congregated. Such was the care bestowed on decoration; but amidst all this the reality was by no means forgotten. Not only was the cook a graduate in gastronomy, but the master himself often acted as the instructor of his cooks.

The roast had been long ago thrown into the shade by marine fishes and oysters; now the Italian river-fishes were utterly banished from good tables, and Italian delicacies and Italian wines were looked on as almost vulgar. Now even at the popular festivals there were distributed, besides the Italian Falerian, three sorts of foreign wine--Sicilian, Lesbian, Chian, while a generation before it had been sufficient even at great banquets to send round Greek wine once; in the cellar of the orator Hortensius there was found a stock of 10,000 jars (at 33 quarts) of foreign wine.

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