Nero's banquets

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Dec 3, 2021.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Last night I made myself a dish of mint chocolate chip ice cream with half a banana sliced up on it, coated lightly in Hershey's Chocolate syrup, and topped with Extra-Creamy Cool Whip. I thought to myself, and mentioned to my wife, that Nero, with all his power, wealth, and chefs, was not able to have a dish that good--something I could have for a few bucks.

    Maybe may thoughts drifted that way because of proximity to Thanksgiving, but we doubtless have a lot to be thankful for.


    Nero. Denarius. 19-18 mm. 3.45 grams.
    RIC 60. BMC 90.
    ex @Terence Cheesman

    I wonder what Nero ate that we today would think was really wonderful? I don't think the Roman world had access to sugar like we do. Ice cream and candy are inexpensive to us. If we don't have them it is more likely to be dietary reasons than lack of access.

    Be happy you can experience fabulous tastes unknown to kings and emperors!
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  3. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    But he had garum sauce to put on his stuffed dormice. Mmmm!
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  4. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Here'e my Nero:

    It is really neat to think about how the poorest people in the world today are able to obtain things that people 2,000 years ago could never hope to have.
    I can buy a pineapple for $3 when it's on sale. Even a few hundred years ago pineapples so were so expensive (several thousands of dollars) that there were businesses that rented out pineapples for the rich.

    Here's a great video on how to make your own Garum.
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  5. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Interesting thoughts @Valentinian . Not exactly ancient Roman but I came upon this video a while back about what peasants could expect to eat in the Middle Ages and I thought it was quite interesting.

    As for Nero, I am not sure about delicious but I very much would like to know what all the Sylphium fuss was about.
  6. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

  7. iameatingjam

    iameatingjam Well-Known Member

    I've made sapa once, minus the led of course. It was really good. Pretty sure I just ate it straight Lol.
  8. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    Roman cuisine looked much like today's middle eastern cuisine (Turkish or Lebanese for ex.) : an accumulation of "mezze". They did not follow the canonic order of today : apéritif, amuse-bouches, hors d'oeuvre (antipasti in Italian), plat de résistance, cheeses, pastry for dessert. They could have sweet dishes before salty ones - which is today considered an heresy. They did not pay attention to the harmony between what you eat and the wine you drink with it. The only quality they looked for in a wine was its age : the older the better.
    Lucullus had the reputation of being the most refined and demanding gourmet in Rome, and his chef was the best reputed: being invited to a banquet at Lucullus' was a rare gastronomical experience. One day he came home and his chef asked him if they were any guests coming tonight. He replied he would be alone. So his chef proposed just a light bite, something simple. Lucullus said "No ! That's just the opposite: do your best! Tonight Lucullus dines at Lucullus'!"
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  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter of me favorite Nero's..:) IMG_0479.JPG IMG_0481.JPG
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  10. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    In modern times, even the "poor" have access to treasures undreamt of by ancient kings: cuisine from around the world, extensive education, the opportunity to travel widely (in such miraculous contrivanves as planes, trains, and automobiles), health care, hygiene, instantaneous communication, extremely variegated entertainments, etc., etc., etc.

    One could look at the achievements of our science and technology and claim that the human race has truly progressed. But one look at the history of 20th century human rights atrocities and destruction betrays the lie. We are still the violent, irrational cavemen we always have been. We've simply put a thin veneer of civilization over it.
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  11. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    Of course they had honey as a sweetener. I presume they kept bees, but I've never read anything about it.

    Given the roman trade with India, I wonder if they may have imported Jaggery (aka gur) which is a crudely refined type of sugar they've been making there for many thousands of years? But anyways, any such imports must have been very expensive, so not for the common man at least.
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  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    I am neither a doctor nor health food fanatic but I suspect there would be a stronger case for a diet of doormice and peacock tongues than candy and ice cream. I have absolutely no recollection of any diet that specifically forbade those items while sugar is on every naughty list I have ever seen.
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  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    The double chin that Nero sports in his portraits indicates he eat better than us :p
    Prieur 86, AK Collection.jpg
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  14. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    Which reminds me ...

    Does anyone else remember Monty Python's "Mr. Creosote" ?

    Here he is making his menu selection:

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  15. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    Just one thin mint...
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  16. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    It was a classic! :vomit:
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  17. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    A related coin:

    THRACE, Bizya. Hadrian
    117-138 CE
    Æ 24 mm, 9.5 gm
    Obv: [AVTO TPAIAN] ΑΔPI ANOC KA[ICPA CЄB]; laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder, thin strip of drapery on near shoulder
    Rev: [BIZ]YH[NΩN]; banquet scene: man reclining left on klinè; at his feet is seated a female figure, with right foot on stool, extending left hand toward (or feeding?) a coiled serpent erect before a second stool; to left, youth standing facing, head right; to right, forepart of horse left
    Ref: Jurukova 8 var.; RPC III 732.7 corr. (from a similar CNG coin). Rare.
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