Tableware from the Tivoli Hoard


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166

This group of silver tableware forms part of a hoard, said to be from Tivoli, near Rome. Tivoli was a popular site for luxury villas in the Late Republic, and was to Rome what Boscoreale and Boscotrecase in the Campanian countryside were to Naples. The Tivoli hoard, comprising thirty pieces in all, includes two decorated skyphoi (wine cups), a ladle, a trulla (spouted pitcher), and several spoons, all of which would have been used at dining and drinking parties. Inscriptions on the pair of drinking cups and the ladle give the weight of each piece and the owner's name: "Sattia, daughter of Lucius." The hoard was probably buried as a result of the civil wars and political unrest in Rome during the last decades of the Republic. The elegant soup spoons in this group give a clue to the diverse courses favored in Roman cuisine; the ample bowl of the ladle, like that of the cups, shows an appreciation of wine. We learn details of Roman cuisine through the cookbook of Apicius and the writings of Petronius, Juvenal, and Martial. The dietary preferences of the Romans were remarkably close to the tastes of modern-day Italians. The gustatio, or first course, consisted of shellfish, eggs, or salad. The cena, or main course, featured a succession of roasted meats. The meal ended with sweetmeats and fruits.

Tableware from the Tivoli Hoard, Silver, Roman

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