Friday, October 12, 2012

The Romans at Dinner

English: Apicius, De Re Culinaria (Leiden: Seb...
English: Apicius, De Re Culinaria (Leiden: Sebastianus Gryphium), 1541. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dinner for the ancient Romans was the central function of social life, and a formal dinner party was governed by numerous rules. Some Roman dining conventions are still in use, but many are now unfamiliar, such as the practice of reclining on a couch, which had been adopted by the Romans from Greeks.

While written sources have much to say about Roman dining habits, their evidence can be expanded, enriched, and sometimes challenged by that of archaeology and art. In her lecture, "The Romans at dinner: a view from archaeology and art," Professor Katherine Dunbabin will explore the various customs of ancient dining and how they illustrate the attitudes and ideology of their creators and viewers.

Dunbabin will speak on National Archaeology Day, Saturday, Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ford Academic Complex Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dunbabin is Emerita with the Department of Classics, McMaster University, and holds her degrees from Oxford University. Her areas of specialization are Roman art and mosaics, Roman dining customs and theater and spectacle in the Roman Empire, and she has published widely on these topics. She served as the specialist on the Roman mosaics for the University of Michigan excavations at Carthage, and has also worked at a number of sites in Italy.

Dunbabin will give a Norton Lecture, named for Charles Eliot Norton, the founder and first president of the Archaeological Institute of America and former professor of the history of Art at Harvard University. The Norton Lectureship is part of the AIA's National Lecture Program. The lecture is free and open to the public.

This lecture is supported by the Classical Studies and Sociology/Anthropology Departments at Millsaps College and is the closing event for the "REAL Greek Week," a celebration of the legacy of the Greco-Roman world.

All events are free and open to the public:

Roman Delicacies (Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. in front of the Caf):
Students from Prof. Jennifer Lewton-Yates' Roman Legacy class will serve authentic Roman appetizers to  the diners in the Caf.

Besieging the Bowl (Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. in the Bowl):
Under the command of Dr. David Yates, 50 Millsaps students, armed with PVC-pipe spears, will march up  and down the Bowl demonstrating the Greek military formations and tactics. In case of rain, this event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m.

"Have a Beer, Bible Reader" (Wednesday Oct. 17 at 6:15 p.m. in Olin Hall, room 100):
Dr. James Bowley of the Religious Studies department discusses the 'beer culture' of the ancient Eastern  Mediterranean and Fertile Crescent.

"Persepolis Burning": A Friday Forum Lecture (Friday, Oct. 19 at 12:30 in the Ford Academic Complex, room 215):
Dr. David Yates will discuss ancient Persepolis, the capitol of the grand Persian Empire, destroyed by Alexander the Great in the 4th c. BCE and how the ramifications of this can still be felt today.