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.
 
Sounds sweet, but 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 (25)
  • annabel1226-yyca
    11/25/2015 - 02:52 p.m.

    Wow, only upper-class could do everything that they want and the poor are starving and the upper-class don't even care about them. I am really sad to hear about that. I wish that people could sit up and eat. My mom said that if you eat while you're laying down than you won't able to digest. I wish that I could tell everyone to sit and eat not lie and eat.

  • samantham-
    11/27/2015 - 08:25 a.m.

    Eating wile lying down was a sign of power and luxury.
    It originally was something the ancient Greeks did but then the romans started to do it too.
    In ancient Greece only men where a loud to eat wile lying down ,but when the romans started to do it woman where also aloud to eat while lying down just like the men could.
    Why in ancient Greece did they only let men eat wile lying down and go out a lot?
    Why in ancient Rome did they let both men and woman eat wile lying down?
    In ancient Greece woman where not really a loud to go out except for rare times like wedding feast , but still they had to sit up wile they eat.

  • esparzaa-rob
    11/30/2015 - 01:37 p.m.

    I think people “further down the social ladder” copied the people above them so that they would feel as if they were important.In other words I think they did it because it would affect how other people viewed them and how they viewed themselves.

  • tiffanyf-1-bar
    12/01/2015 - 06:16 p.m.

    People "further down the social ladder" copied people above them because so they could have a sense of being more important and wealthy. According to the article,"To eat lying down, while others served you, was a sign of power and luxury enjoyed by the elite." Less fortunate people tried to copy this way of living to feel wealthier and more powerful. I think this article is interesting because I have never heard of people eating while also laying down.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    12/01/2015 - 11:57 p.m.

    People “further down the social ladder” copied people above them because they wanted to make up for the fact that they were not elite and rich. The article says, "It was a sign of power and luxury enjoyed by the elite." This shows that this was an elaborate ritual and many people wanted to practice it to fit in with the community. I was interested in this article because I love history, and learning how other cultures do things. I was surprised by this article because I would think that it is bad for your stomach to eat laying down.

  • alisonk-hor
    12/02/2015 - 04:38 p.m.

    The authors purpose was to inform readers why Greeks and Romans ate lying down. I learned that only men ate laying down in Greece and that Rome changed that to upper-class women as well. I do not agree with this article because there would be a higher risk of choking and heartburn.

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    12/02/2015 - 11:10 p.m.

    People "farther down the social ladder" copied people above them in the social ladder to look like they are rich, since in the text it states, "To eat lying down, while others served you, was a sign of power and luxury enjoyed by the elite." This probably made the less rich people, that could afford a servant to feed them, want to be one of the elite people. This article was interesting because even back in ancient Egypt and Rome the people did things to make them more "popular". This article surprised me because even though the people could have gotten heartburn from eating lying down they still did it any way.

  • lucasl-3-bar
    12/03/2015 - 08:14 p.m.

    Those who are not as wealthy or powerful wanted to emulate the richer people because it would make them feel better about themselves. By acting in a way that those above them do, they felt higher up on the "social ladder". The article says that most rich people ate lying down, which symbolized a luxurious and elite life. Thus, poorer people who copied them would often be happier about their status and more content.
    The article was fascinating because it showed how something as simple as table manners and habits reflected one's social status. However, it seemed like an unwise way to eat, considering the uncomfortable position of lying down while eating.

  • vincents-1-bar
    12/03/2015 - 09:29 p.m.

    People “further down the social ladder” copied people above them because they wanted to make up for the fact that they were not elite and rich. The article says, "It was a sign of power and luxury enjoyed by the elite." This shows that this was an elaborate ritual and many people wanted to practice it to fit in with the community. I was interested in this article because I love history, and learning how other cultures do things. I was surprised by this article because I would think that it is bad for your stomach to eat laying down.

  • samanthao-ver
    12/04/2015 - 10:18 a.m.

    It is pretty weird that they ate lying down because that makes it easier to choke on the food but if that was what they were required to do then I guess that they had to do it.

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