What, after all, was a "puke"?

Have you heard about the "vomit" - or, in Latin, vomitorium ? Because of the suggestive name, many people have come to believe that the vomitories were places used by the ancient Romans during large banquets to vomit the contents of their stomachs, so that they could continue drinking and eating until they were satisfied again.

Place to puke? Not really!

Interestingly enough, this idea became very popular, and even came to be used as a reference to the decadent and overflowing lifestyle of the riches of Ancient Rome. However, while the vomiters actually existed, they did serve a much less ... disgusting function.


It is no secret that the ancient Romans were true fans of a good and beautiful celebration, but not even the most affluent had special salons to regurgitate during the celebrations. This is a myth! In fact, a vomitorium - or vomiting in the plural - was nothing more than one of the entrances or exits of a public space, such as a theater or an arena.

The vomitories were exits that served to "puke" the crowds outside public places

The inventor of this denomination was a Roman historian named Macrobius, who referred to the alcoves in the amphitheaters and the way the public seemed to “pour out” to fill the empty seats before the performances. So what he did was add the “oruim” fragment to the word “vomitus” to make it a place designation.

The confusion over the name seems to have begun to circulate in the late 19th century, early 20th century, when people began to mistakenly associate the word vomit with vomit and spread the story about the disgusting Roman halls. Already in literature, the first reference appeared in a book called " Antic Hay ", 1923, written by the British author Aldous Huxley.


In fact, there are several ancient accounts of the grand and opulent banquets offered by the wealthy of Rome, including one from Seneca (who lived between 4 BC and 65 AD) who talked about how slaves cleaned up the drunken vomit at the festivities., and these records may have supported the confusion. However, they never reported the existence of specific locations for this.