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Elite Pursuits- Dining, Rhetoric, and Funerals.docx

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Rob Mc Cutcheon

Elite Pursuits Dining Rhetoric and FuneralsPetroniusPetronius was a member of the Emperor Neros courtHe was consul in 62 CE and was called Neros arbiter of eleganceHe is famous for his selfinflicted deathPrior to his suicide he was accused of treason and was sentenced to deathPetronius slit his own wrists and bound them at a dinner party so that he could speak about Neros debaucheries before his deathTrimalchios Dinner PartyPart of a larger novel called the Satyricon Depicts a freedman trying to depict the life and lifestyle of the roman eliteIn every case he manages to do everything wrong or too excessively Petronius is satirizing the inelegance of a rich freedman whom portrays himself as having no taste or cultural refinement despite his wealthFreed persons were a common target for satire because many were successful despite theirorigins Essentially as having a stigma of being an exslaveThe concept of taste and elegance is subjective however it is an excellent means of social control and social differentiationAny aristocracy or social elite survive by their ability to mystify their positionIt is not only money which characterizes an elite but rather pedigree and taste Elegance Luxury and SelfControlIn Trimalchios Finner Party there are all the noneconomic things that define a member of a roman eliteo Trimalchio misunderstood them and manipulated them in the case of food dining literature rhetoric and funerals o In all cases Trimalchio is perceived as ignorant and goes much beyond the bounds of good taste o He is out of control and over the topRoman BathsCalled thermae or balnea in LatinWhereas bathing in the modern world is a private affair bathing in the roman world was a public affair and was used as an opportunity to socializeThe average roman elite would spend his mornings doing the salutatio in the atrium and would bathe in the afternoon Evenings usually concluded with dinner partiesA public bath was built around three principal roomso Caladarium hot bathusually had a large tub or small pool with hot water waist high o The tepidadium warm bath o Frigidarium cold bathBaths were often found in the homes and villas of the wealthy Bathers usually began by oiling themselves and exercising Exercises usually involved a ball Afterwards bathers would have the dirt and oil scraped off their bodies with a curved metal implement called a strigil After the bath bathers could visit the gardens or the library They might also be entertained by prostitutes jugglers or acrobats Baths could be considered a social levler There was no distinctions on where one had to go based on social class
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