What Is a Vomitorium?

Contrary to popular belief, a vomitorium was not a special room where gluttonous people in Ancient Rome could regurgitate food to allow for even more consumption. Instead, vomitoriums were exits or entrances at stadiums or amphitheaters. In Latin, vomere means to "spew forth," something that is very descriptive of a swarming crowd leaving a venue all at once.

More about eating in Ancient Rome:

  • Seneca, a philosopher, wrote about servants in Ancient Rome who were responsible for collecting "the leavings of the drunks" during banquets. This implies that drunks were vomiting during the banquets, although it is not clear whether sober diners also had a habit of purging during meals.

  • Julius Caesar was said to use medications or similar substances to promote vomiting after a meal.

  • Some important Roman households employed a praegustator, a servant who tasted food to ensure that it wasn't poisoned.

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