The basic necessities
Food and clothing
in A writer’s guide to Ancient Rome
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This chapter discusses fashion and clothing in the Roman Empire across the different social classes: men from the poorest rank to Senatorial class, slaves, and freedmen. Women’s fashions are more complicated as they changed more (especially in the imperial period), so there will be a discussion of clothing styles, hair styles, and jewellery of free women, slaves, and prostitutes. Sumptuary laws are also discussed. How clothing was made, what the fabrics were, particular accessories that are indicators of status and age are discussed. Food and drink were also indicative of social class and rank; this chapter considers the basic foodstuffs from the humblest table to the extravagances of dinner parties and festive occasions. Typical menus for meals across the classes are discussed including the typical sorts of meats, vegetables, and beverages one could expect in everyday meals, table manners and customs in the different social classes.


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