Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby Rowan » Thu September 1st, 2016, 1:08 pm

On another forum (not really related to history at all, though there is a history section) someone felt it necessary to explain what a vomitorium is. It's not new to me, but as I work at a theatre, I realised that my co-workers probably don't know about the vomitorium. So I thought I'd point it out at our first show of the season for laughs. However, I'm not sure if all entrances to a theatre are called the vomitorium or if it's only a specific one. I was under the impression that it is only the entrance in the centre of the theatre surrounded by tiered seating, but now I think I'm probably wrong. I figured we might have enough Ancient Roman experts here to be comfortable asking and getting a decent answer.

I've added below a photograph of the entire seating area, with what I believe the vomitorium to be, in the centre. But now that I think on it, I guess it's not considered anything because it's not on the ground level. And now I feel stupid, but for some reason I cannot make myself delete this and forget about it.

Image

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu September 1st, 2016, 8:18 pm

I always thought the vomitorium was the little room they had off of banquet halls so that people could go and throw up, thus emptying their stomachs so they could eat more. As in the famous quote by (some famous Roman, can't recall-- Seneca? Pliny the younger? Petronius?): "They eat that they may vomit, and they vomit that they may eat."
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu September 1st, 2016, 8:24 pm

So I just went and looked it up, and my incorrect impression was the product of this guy:

"Lewis Mumford’s 1961 tome “The City in History” that gave us the first in-depth—though incorrect—definition. According to Mumford, the term first referred to a room adjacent to the dining chamber where gluttonous eaters could “throw up the contents of their stomach in order to return to their couches.” Only later, Mumford wrote, did the word come to be associated with stadium entrances."

But I still haven't tracked down the quote.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby Madeleine » Fri September 2nd, 2016, 8:29 am

Yes I read recently that it was basically a throwing up room :o and then they would go back into the feast and start all over again :rolleyes:
Currently reading "A Christmas Secret" by Karen Swan

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby Rowan » Fri September 2nd, 2016, 12:25 pm

Well, I'm glad to teach you ladies something new. :) I learned about the vomitorium in college because I was involved with the theatre a lot. This is the article that the person on the other site shared.

What is a Vomitorium?

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby Madeleine » Sat September 3rd, 2016, 10:59 am

Actually maybe that could be a solution to the drunk problem in town centres, have a special room where they can go and er, purge and hopefully recover from their excesses, rather than clog up emergency rooms :x .
Currently reading "A Christmas Secret" by Karen Swan

User avatar
Lisa
Bibliophile
Favorite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby Lisa » Mon September 5th, 2016, 8:54 am

Madeleine wrote:Actually maybe that could be a solution to the drunk problem in town centres, have a special room where they can go and er, purge and hopefully recover from their excesses, rather than clog up emergency rooms :x .

You could be on to something, Madeleine!

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Re: Calling All Ancient Roman Experts

Postby Rowan » Tue September 6th, 2016, 6:56 pm

I thought I heard recently that it was actually the Greeks who did the bingeing and purging.


Return to “Questions and Research”