Communal Dining in in the Roman West explores why the practice of privately sponsored communal dining gained popularity in certain parts of the Western Roman Empire for almost 300 years. This book brings together 350 Latin inscriptions to examine the benefactors and beneficiaries, the geographical and chronological distributions, and the relationship between public and collegial dining practices. It argues that food-related euergetism was a region-specific phenomenon which was rooted in specific social and political cultures in the communities of Italy, Baetica and Africa Proconsularis. The region-specific differences in political cultures and long-term changes in these cultures are key to understanding not only the long persistence of this practice but also its ultimate disappearance.
Shanshan Wen, Ph.D. (Leiden 2018), is Lecturer in Ancient History at Shanghai Normal University. Her research focuses on the social and political history of the Roman Empire, especially the westen part.
Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Abbreviations Note on Epigraphic Conventions
1 Roman Dining in Context: From Commensality to Private Munificence 1 Introduction 2 Definition and Terminology 3 Two Perspectives 4 Quantification and Interpretation 5 Evidence and Structure
2 Benefactors of Communal Dining 1 Typology of Benefactors 2 Categories of Benefactions 3 Aims and Concerns of Benefactors: Emic Perspectives 4 Political and Social Dynamics behind Private Munificence 5 Conclusion
3 Beneficiaries and the ‘Concept of Community’ 1 Selected Beneficiary Groups in Public Dining 2 Benefaction Arrangements in Public Dining 3 Beneficiaries and Benefactions in the Context of Collegial Dining 4 Beneficiaries and the ‘Concept of Community’: From Republic to Empire
4 Geographical Distribution of Privately Sponsored Communal Dining 1 Geographical Distribution of Privately Sponsored Public Dining 2 Geographical Distribution of Privately Sponsored Collegial Dining 3 Conclusion
5 Chronological Distribution of Privately Sponsored Communal Dining 1 The Emergence of Privately Sponsored Public Banquets in Republican Rome 2 Emperors and Munificence in Imperial Rome 3 Chronological Distribution of Privately Sponsored Public Dining in Italy and the Western Provinces 4 Chronological Distribution of Privately Sponsored Collegial Dining 5 Conclusion
Appendix 1. Epigraphic References to Privately Sponsored Public Dining Appendix 2. Epigraphic References to Privately Sponsored Collegial Dining Appendix 3. Benefactors of Public Dining Appendix 4. Western Towns Yielding Evidence of Privately Sponsored Public Dining Appendix 5. Western Towns Yielding Evidence of Privately Sponsored Collegial Dining Bibliography Index
All those interested in the history of commensality, ancient dining practices, Latin epigraphy, euergetism and the urban society of the Western Roman Empire.