A Little Lesson In Architecture… and Urban Legends

Greek Archiecture

So there is a bit of ancient misnomer that the Ancient Greeks and Romans had built rooms called Vomitoriums. Well, that part is true, they had the room, but the use of the room is the misnomer. The Latin word vomitorium, plural vomitoria, derives from the verb vomō, vomere, “to spew forth.” In ancient Roman architecture, vomitoria were designed to provide rapid egress for large crowds at amphitheatres and stadiums, as they do in modern sports stadiums and large theatres.

The common misconception is that the Ancients designated spaces called vomitoria for the purpose of actual vomiting, as part of a binge and purge cycle. According to Cicero, Julius Caesar escaped an assassination attempt because he felt ill after dinner. Instead of going to the latrine, where his assassins were waiting, he went to his bedroom and avoided assassination. This may be the origin of the misconception, however the term vomitorium does not appear until the 4th century AD, about 400 years after Caesar and Cicero.

Now while I do not in ANY way promote eating disorders of ANY kind, I can understand the desire sometimes after a large meal to feel the need for a purging room. I mean, you need room for dessert! Especially a dessert like the one in today’s recipe. Don’t try and breaking your teeth trying to pronounce it, just make it and eat it! Enjoy!

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