Why did ancient Greeks and Romans eat lying down? (Thinkstock)
Why did ancient Greeks and Romans eat lying down?
Lexile

You asked us, "Why did ancient Greeks and Romans eat lying down?"
 
Reclining and dining in ancient Greece started at least as early as the 7th century BCE and was later picked up by the Romans.
 
To eat lying down, while others served you, was a sign of power and luxury enjoyed by the elite. People further down the social ladder copied the laid-back dining style, if they could afford to.
 
I mean, who wouldn't want to stretch out while chowing down, but not everyone was so lucky in ancient Greece. You see, women didn't generally get invited to banquets except for rare occasions like wedding feasts and even then they had to sit upright.
 
It was only in ancient Rome that customs changed, allowing upper-class women to lounge alongside men, and while it sounds sweet, all that lying down and eating can't have been good for the heartburn.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did people “further down the social ladder” copy people above them?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (15)
  • arellanoj-rob
    11/30/2015 - 09:46 a.m.

    I think that people "further down the social ladder" copied people above them because they thought it'd earn them some sort of respect. It probably gave them sense of power back then.

  • julianc-bag
    11/30/2015 - 07:32 p.m.

    I don;t like eating at the dinner table I prefer the living room.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    12/02/2015 - 03:56 p.m.

    This seems quite unnecessary and dangerous. Its very common for people lying down to choke while they are eating, I mean come on. Good thing the women and the poor were not allowed to engage in such activities; they probably lived much longer than the rich men.

  • laurenc-bag
    12/03/2015 - 09:18 p.m.

    People "further down the social ladder" copied people above them, possibly to make themselves look a little wealthier than they were. It was a sign of luxury and was only enjoyed by the elite, so they wanted to experience that as well.

  • laurenc-bag
    12/03/2015 - 09:21 p.m.

    And, most likely, my weirdest custom at home is listening to music while watching a video on my phone while FaceTiming my friends, if that even counts as a strange custom... But, I also pray before I eat every meal with my family, which might seem strange to some people.

  • laurenc-bag
    12/03/2015 - 09:30 p.m.

    (It didn't allow me to take the test for some reason...)

  • carsonb-2-bar
    12/03/2015 - 10:28 p.m.

    In the early 7th century reclining and dining in Greece started and later on picked up by the Romans. According to the article it was a sign of power, especially when others served you. People in lower social classes copied it. The lower class people probably copied the upper-class people to be cool. Maybe it made them feel powerful. I thought the article was interesting. I never knew why many pictures back in the 7th century show people eating while lying down. I guess you could say they were the first couch potatoes!

  • bellae1-lin
    12/04/2015 - 02:57 p.m.

    People "further down the social ladder" copied people above them because they wanted to feel luxurious and wealthy. They would want to feel this way because they may not be treated like luxury, and they wanted to see with the eyes of a wealthy being.

  • briannec-ste
    12/07/2015 - 05:09 p.m.

    I personally don't like to eat laying down because I feel like I am being choked. I don't understand how laying down and being fed was a sign of wealth. The laying down not at all but the getting fed I understand.

  • gisellem-pay
    12/08/2015 - 11:11 a.m.

    I think that this concept is similar to our current society. Many people find or develop a custom, in which will catch on to others just to prove their power or how modern they believe they are. This also reminds me of China and foot binding. This tradition was passed down for women as a beauty concept.

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