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Pompeii elite ate giraffe and sea urchins


Posted on Sunday, 5 January, 2014 | Comment icon 15 comments

The streets of Pompeii. Image Credit: PD - Alago
A new study has revealed some of the more unusual diets of those who lived in the doomed Roman city.
One of the best known disasters in history, the demise of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii at the hands of a volcanic eruption has provided archaeologists with a treasure trove of clues detailing every facet of how its people lived and died.

One of the myths of ancient Rome that Pompeii has helped to dispel is that of food. While once it was thought that the Roman elite dined on delicacies while the regular townsfolk made do with birdseed and other basic foodstuffs, now it appears that the class divide was nowhere near as extreme.

"The traditional vision of some mass of hapless lemmings - scrounging for whatever they can pinch from the side of a street, or huddled around a bowl of gruel - needs to be replaced by a higher fare and standard of living, at least for the urbanites in Pompeii," said study co-author Steven Ellis.

Instead, the lower classes would have eaten simple but healthy foods while wealthier individuals would have dined on exotic delicacies such as sea urchins and even giraffe.

"This is thought to be the only giraffe bone ever recorded from an archaeological excavation in Roman Italy," said Ellis.

Source: NBC News | Comments (15)

Tags: Pompeii

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by The New Richard Nixon on 5 January, 2014, 18:14
I'll bet the giraffe had a much wider range back then. no, the Roman Empire expanded and had lots of trade
Comment icon #7 Posted by TheSpoonyOne on 5 January, 2014, 23:56
I wonder what giraffe tastes like...?
Comment icon #8 Posted by AliveInDeath7 on 6 January, 2014, 0:17
I wonder what giraffe tastes like...? I'd try it.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Peter B on 6 January, 2014, 9:11
I wonder what giraffe tastes like...? Long cow?
Comment icon #10 Posted by keninsc on 6 January, 2014, 10:27
I have to admit I've always wanted to visit Pompeii. I'm not surprised they had Giraffe, they used to gather exotic animals from all over the empire, haul them to Italy, take them to the various coliseums, kill them then off to the butcher's shop they'd go. I recall reading that at one particular banquet they feasted on a casserole that was made from the brains of flamingos. There were a thousand guests at this banquet, can you imagine how many flamingos had to die to make enough to feed a thousand guests? The Romans were known for their excesses in everything.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Child of Bast on 6 January, 2014, 14:46
Hardly surprising that this or any other animal was on the menu of any ancient city. Anything is edible when you come down to it.
Comment icon #12 Posted by ealdwita on 6 January, 2014, 21:19
Hardly surprising that this or any other animal was on the menu of any ancient city. Anything is edible when you come down to it. Erm...Would you mind awfully if I changed my mind about accepting your kind invitation to that dinner party next week?
Comment icon #13 Posted by JGirl on 6 January, 2014, 21:32
I wonder what giraffe tastes like...? chicken
Comment icon #14 Posted by Dougward5 on 6 January, 2014, 21:41
I would love to try that but I think I need a bigger grill
Comment icon #15 Posted by Eldorado on 6 January, 2014, 21:43
"Giraffe neck for tables 5 through 27"!


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