Common Misconceptions In History: Roman Vomit Rooms - Vomitorium

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It is a common misconception that people thought that the Romans had a room built specifically to vomit. It's been said that Romans were gluttons, therefore after eating a meal they'd vomit so they could come back and eat more, but there's never been a room built for that purpose. Not saying that they didn't throw up, in fact they did and it was part of the dinner experience in ancient Rome.


Where was this misconception used? An example is this publication by Col William Hunter, dated 1915:
The residents of Pompeii had fine plumbing, baths and luxuries. They had a place called a vomitorium. The old Roman sports were gluttons; they stuffed themselves, then went to the vomitorium and threw up so they could eat more.

 So what is a vomitorium? Well, a vomitorium is merely a passage, in shape of an archway, wide and long enough that can fit many people in it so they can enter or evacuate a building quickly. It was commonly used in Roman amphitheaters.  The root word of vomitorium comes from the latin vomere, which means "spew out" or "throw up" hence the similarity.

5 comments:

Neon said...

So vomitorium as in the buildings "spew out" people, fast evacuation. Clever

Randall A. said...

Haha, what an unfortunate coincidence

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I have often wondered about this, because it always seemed to me that the Romans were real sticklers for hygiene. It wouldn't make sense for them to have an entire room dedicated to puking. It just sucks that the citizens of Pompeii probably didn't make it through their vomitorium...

Lady Lunacy said...

haha i remember learning about this in school, people were disappointed to learn the truth

This Guy said...

very cool and very interesting! Learn something new everyday! lol

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