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In Ancient Roman culture, cena was the main meal of the day. In earlier times, it was held midday, but later began to be held in evenings. It was a focal point of social life, along with the public baths, the frequenting of which often preceded the meal. Seating during dinner was arranged in the triclinium, three couches for reclining arranged as three sides of a square, with a small table for food in the middle of all these.
The cena traditionally consisted of three parts. The appetizer course often included eggs, olives, and honeyed wine. The second, main course often included a main meat dish, like roasted pig. The third and final course included desserts such as fruits or nuts. Only the very wealthy would consume exotic dishes such as giraffe, ostrich, lion, and peacock.
- Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony; Eidinow, Esther, eds. (2012). "Meals". The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. (Registration required (. ))
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