Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Pirates' Code of Etiquette and Manners


“... the Code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.  The Pirate's Code was the pirate’s version of promoting team work.

The Code was written by the very famous Buccaneer, Bartholomew Roberts, and he actually made his crew swear on a bible that they would uphold the Code. The Code was designed so that there would be a better understanding of what was expected of each other and so they could potentially work together with a lesser fear that their shipmates were going to do the dirty on them. It was the pirate’s version of promoting team work.
The Bahamian pirates were unlike most other pirates before or since in that they engaged in more than simple banditry.  Most of them -- Blackbeard included -- were former merchant and naval sailors who thought themselves engaged in a social revolt against shipowners and captains who'd made their prior lives miserable.  Bellamy's crew members referred to themselves as 'Robin Hood's' men.  "They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is only this difference," Bellamy once told a captive.  "They rob the poor under the cover of law and we plunder the rich under the cover of our own courage."  There was also a democratic spirit aboard the pirate ships, an unusual development six decades before Lexington and Yorktown, more than 70 ahead of the storming of the Bastille. Upon seizing a vessel, the pirates turned its government upside down. Instead of using whips and beatings to enforce a rigid, top-down hierarchy, they elected and deposed their captains by popular vote. They shared their treasure almost equally and on most ships didn't allow the captain his own cabin.  "They were very shrewd in the way they reorganized their ships to limit the captain's power," says maritime historian Marcus Rediker of the University of Pittsburgh. "There was a real social consciousness at work there."  From The Last Days of Blackbeard by Colin Woodard

Pirate Code of Conduct, Shipboard Articles 1721


ARTICLE I – Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.

Democracy and equality will be exercised

ARTICLE II – Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.

Do not steal or commit fraud against your fellow shipmates

ARTICLE III – None shall game for money either with dice or cards.

Gambling is forbidden

ARTICLE IV – The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.

Respect others when they are trying to sleep

ARTICLE V – Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.

Every man is responsible for ensuring his own weapons are clean and ready for action
 
Stede Bonnet, a Most Unlikely Pirate:
Most of the men associated with the Golden Age of Piracy were reluctant pirates. They were desperate but skilled sailors and brawlers who either could not find honest work or who were driven to piracy by the inhuman conditions on board merchant or navy ships at the time. Some, like "Black Bart" Roberts, were captured by pirates, forced to join, and then found the life to their liking. Major Stede Bonnet (1688-1718) is the exception: he was a wealthy planter in Barbados who decided to outfit a pirate ship and set sail for riches and adventure. It is for this reason that he is often referred to as "the Gentleman Pirate."

ARTICLE VI – No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.

No boys or women allowed on board

ARTICLE VII – He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.

Disloyalty and desertion will be punished

ARTICLE VIII – None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man’s quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command from the quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draweth first blood shall be declared the victor.

No fighting allowed on board, but any disagreements may be settled through a duel on land

 
Every man will receive an equal share of gold.

ARTICLE IX – No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of l,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.

Every man will receive an equal share of gold. We look after men injured in the line of duty and they will receive compensation.

ARTICLE X – The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.

They will share the prize proportionate to each man’s rank

Well, we don’t have to worry about duels anymore but many of these articles can certainly be adhered to in real life such as, “respect others when they are trying to sleep” or “do not steal or commit fraud.”
Etiquette and manners can sometimes be seen as a strict code of rules but that is not how they are intended, especially not in the twenty-first century. As Captain Barbossa said in "Pirates of the Caribbean", “the Code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules,” and that is exactly how etiquette should be seen. Yes, there are certain rules that would probably be best if you stick to them such as, “chewing with your mouth closed” – nobody likes to see a mouth full of slushy food – but it is important to be able to adapt to the situations you find yourself in as no situation will ever be completely the same.

It is best to know the rules first so that you can adapt to any situation appropriately but if you’re ever unsure your best chance of success is by showing kindness, graciousness and exhibiting class.




Disclaimer: I do not advocate or endorse any acts of piracy, modern or historical. Theft, murder, torture, pillaging and plundering are not good manners and have no place in our society.
Contributed by Rachel North ~ Rachel North is an etiquette and afternoon tea enthusiast with a love for anything ancient and historical. You can visit her blog here: http://shipshapeetiquette.co.uk/

Tea History and Tea Etiquette Glossary

Depiction of an afternoon tea, circa 1890s

AFTERNOON TEA
A traditional British snack taken during the late afternoon, at which tea, cakes, and biscuits are consumed. Afternoon tea is characterized by fine china, good manners, and polite conversation. The tradition is believed to have been started by the Duchess of Bedford during the first half of the nineteenth century.

AROMA
An important consideration in cupping teas is the smell that is given off. A favourable aroma is most often associated with a flavourful taste.

ASSAM
A black tea grown in the Northeast section of India. A strong full-bodied tea with a rich, robust flavour. Chosen by many tea lovers to be a wake-up tea to be consumed in the morning. Often used in blends because of its strong taste.

BANCHA
A Japanese tea made from coarse leaves, usually from the last plucking. This tea is generally consumed domestically.

BEDFORD, ANNA, 7TH DUCHESS OF
(see Duchess of Bedford)

BERGAMOT
A four-metre high citrus tree (Citrus bergamia) grown in southern Italy that produces a bitter, orange-like fruit. The fruit is not eaten fresh, but can be made into marmalades and liqueurs. Bergamot oil is the key aromatic ingredient of the famous Earl Grey blend of tea.

BILLY TEA
A style of tea originally brewed by the early Australian settlers, so named after the billy (can) in which the beverage is made.

BLACK TEA
The world's most commonly produced tea, originally developed in China. Black tea is processed in four stages: withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. Of the three major tea types (black, oolong, and green), black tea undergoes the longest process of oxidation.

BLECHYNDEN, RICHARD
The man who inadvertently invented iced tea. Blechynden was an expatriate Englishman with a tea stall at the 1904 St Louis World Fair. His hot tea was not selling in the hot weather, so he added ice cubes as a last resort.

BODHIDHARMA
Sixth century Indian Buddhist monk who, according to Indian and Japanese myth, discovered tea. Bodhidharma was born near Madras and traveled to China in 520, where he met the emperor.
Depiction of the "Boston Tea Party"

BOSTON TEA PARTY
An act of defiance by American patriots against the Tea Act of 1773. In December of that year, a group of colonists boarded British ships in Boston harbour and tossed 342 chests of East India Company tea into the water. Their action hastened the approach of the American War of Independence.

BRAGANZA, CATHERINE OF
(see Catherine of Braganza)

BRICK TEA
(see compressed tea)

BRUCE, CHARLES
Charles Bruce and his brother, Robert, were employees of the East India Company. They persuaded the Company to grow the native variety of tea plant, Camellia sinensis var assamica, in India instead of the Chinese variety, Camellia sinensis. The trials were a success which launched the Indian tea industry.

BRUCE, ROBERT
(see Bruce, Charles)

CADDY
A lidded receptacle for storing tea in the home. A corruption of the Malay word 'kati' which was adopted (originally as 'catty') by the East India Company as a standard weight of tea (roughly 0.6kg). When tea was at its most expensive, caddies included a lock, for which there was only one key entrusted to the lady of the house.

CAFFEINE
A component of tea, which stimulates the nervous system. A cup of tea averages 40 milligrams of caffeine versus approximately 110 in a cup of coffee.

CAMELLIA SINENSIS
An evergreen plant, native to China and formerly known as Thea sinensis. Both green and black teas come from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, although Europeans were not aware of the botanical connection until the mid-nineteenth century.

CAMELLIA SINENSIS VAR ASSAMICA
A subspecies of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, which is native to north-eastern India. The Indian tea industry is based on Camellia sinensis var assamica.

CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA (1638-1705)
Wife of Charles II and daughter of the Duke of Braganza, who later became King John IV of Portugal. Catherine married Charles II in 1662 and brought the Portuguese custom of drinking tea to the English Court. She bore no children and returned to Portugal after Charles' death.

CEYLON
The common name of teas grown in Sri Lanka.

CHAI
A blend of black tea with various spices and steamed milk as commonly drunk in India. Also, a common name for 'tea'.

CHARLES II (1630-85)
King of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1660-85). Although his wife, Catherine of Braganza introduced tea-drinking to the English Court, Charles was monarch when Parliament first introduced the tea taxes that eventually reached 119%.

CHEST
Traditional way of packing bulk teas. Usually made of wood with an aluminum lining.

CHINA OOLONG
A select blend of large leaf teas from China.

CHOP
From the Hindi; means to stamp. A chop of tea means a certain number of chests all carrying the same brand. Each chop of tea should have the same characteristics rather than the same brand. The teas would be from the same batch of manufacture.

CLIPPER
(see tea clipper)

 
Clotted cream is an essential ingredient of a cream tea.

CLOTTED CREAM
A type of thick cream with a yellowish crust from the English counties of Devon and Cornwall. Clotted cream is an essential ingredient of a cream tea. It contains an average fat content of 63% (the minimum is 55%) and is produced by cooking full-fat milk over a bain-marie.

COFFEE HOUSE
Coffee houses were popular places for drinking and socializing in England during the second half of the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth centuries. Competition between them was fierce. Many coffee houses prospered by catering for a specific clientele; some of them developed into important City institutions. Custom forbade women to enter the masculine world of the coffee house.

COMMUTATION ACT 1784
An Act of Parliament that ended 100 years of punitive tea taxes. William Pitt, acting on the advice of Richard Twining, introduced the Act to counter the evils of tea-smuggling and to generate increased revenues through legitimate sales of tea.

COMPRESSED TEA
Solid cakes of tea, first produced in China during the Tang Dynasty. Compressed teas take many shapes, including bricks and balls. Modern tea bricks are made by the hydraulic compression of tea dust.
The indulgence of tea, scones and clotted cream.

CREAM TEA
A popular feature of British social life, combining the gentility of afternoon tea with the indulgence of scones and clotted cream.

D'AETH, THOMAS
A wealthy merchant of the East India Company who employed Thomas Twining and introduced him to tea and coffee, the new drinks from the East.

DARJEELING
A very high quality black tea grown in the Himalayan Mountains in North India. It is most often referred to as the champagne of teas.

DENGYO DAISHI
A Japanese Buddhist monk who spent two years (803-5) in China. He returned to Japan with tea seeds which he planted at his monastery. It is said that he later served the new drink to the Emperor Saga, who ordered tea to be grown more widely.

DEVEREUX COURT
The site of Tom's Coffee House, Thomas Twining's original coffee house. Devereux Court was situated just off London's Strand. The location no longer exists, although adjacent buildings eventually became Twinings shop at 216 Strand.
Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD
It is said that Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford invented afternoon tea sometime during the 1840s. Although her simple pot of tea with a light snack was originally introduced to counteract her hunger pangs, it soon developed into a popular social occasion among the fashionable classes.

EARL GREY (1764-1845)
Charles, 2nd Earl Grey was Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. He was a great reformer, but best-known for the blend of tea that still bears his name. The blend was a gift from a grateful Chinese mandarin. When his original supply ran out, Earl Grey asked his tea merchants, Twinings, to recreate it for him.

EAST INDIA COMPANY
A private company that had a monopoly over British trade with the East. The Company was granted its exclusive charter in 1600 by Elizabeth I, and was dissolved in 1858. The East India Company had a profound effect on the history of tea, initially through its control of the Anglo-Chinese tea trade, latterly by introducing tea-production to India..

GARRAWAYS
A London coffee house owned by Thomas Garway from which tea was sold in 1660.

GARWAY, THOMAS
An early dealer in tea, based in London. In 1658, he advertised tea at a London coffee house known as the Sultaness Head. Two years later, he was selling tea at his own coffee house, Garraways.

GEORGE III (1738-1820)
George III was a king who liked to govern as well as reign. His determination not to grant concessions to North American colonists led Lord North to introduce the Tea Act of 1773. The Boston Tea Party was a response to the Tea Act. American Independence followed a few years later.

GOLDEN LYON
A symbol erected by Thomas Twining over his dry tea and coffee shop at 216 Strand. The lion, which became a timeless emblem of the Twinings company, still sits today above the shop at 216 Strand.

GREEN TEA
A type of tea in which the leaves are withered, rolled, and fired but, unlike black or oolong, are not subject to a process of oxidation. Green tea most resembles the original green leaf. Green tea originated in China. Production is still confined to a few

GREY, CHARLES, 2ND EARL
(see Earl Grey)

GUNPOWDER
A type of green tea which had been rolled into pellets.

GYOKORU TEA
A prized Japanese green tea considered to be Japan’s finest grade of green tea, usually reserved for special occasions. The tea undergoes special handling at every stage of its growth where leaves are picked after a period of shading that concentrates the chlorophyll to provide a deep green colour and a sweeter taste. These teas are hand-fired resulting in tea which is rich to the taste and pleasing to the eye.

HIGH TEA
A heavier version of afternoon tea, first developed as a grander, three-course meal. Whereas afternoon tea retained an aura of middle-class gentility, high tea became 'tea', the main cooked meal of the day for the working classes, eaten when the breadwinner returned from work.

HOGARTH, WILLIAM (1697-1764)
An influential British artist who trained as an engraver. His depiction of the effects of cheap gin, for instance, led to immediate legislation. Hogarth was a customer of Thomas Twining and, during his early career, found that he could not meet his bills. The solution was to paint a portrait in oils of Thomas Twining.

HORNIMAN, JOHN
The man who, in 1826, introduced pre-packaged tea. Horniman's presealed, lead-lined tea packets did not immediately find favour with grocers, so he sold his tea to pharmacists and apothecaries.

HYSON, YOUNG HYSON
A Chinese green tea named for the East India merchant who first sold it in England. Young Hyson is generally preferred to Hyson.
Iced tea is believed to be invented at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair by expatriate Englishman, Richard Blechynden.

ICED TEA
Fresh-brewed tea served in a tall glass with ice cubes, a slice of lemon slotted to the rim, and a long spoon for stirring in sugar or honey. Iced tea was invented at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair by an expatriate Englishman called Richard Blechynden. It is the most popular way of drinking tea in America.

ILEX PARAGUARIENSIS
(see maté)

INFUSION
Infusion is a common name used for herbal teas, but it is also used in tea tasting to refer to the 'infused' tea leaves after brewing.

INSTANT TEA
Developed in the 1930s and commercialized in the 1950s, instant tea sacrifices nuances in fragrance and flavour for convenience.

JASMINE
The Chinese use green tea as the base to which Jasmine flowers are used to scent tea. The finest Chinese Jasmine is called Yin Hao and Chun Hao. Fromosa Jasmines use Pouchong teas as a base. Pouchong is allowed to wither for a longer period of time (than Green) before it is fired which places it between Green and Oolong.

LONDON TEA AUCTION
A daily tea auction held in London until 1998. The first tea auctions were held quarterly under the control of the East India Company. Independence from the Company came in 1834. The sales ended because tea was increasingly auctioned offshore or in the producer countries.

LONDON TEA DEALERS
An eighteenth-century trade association of tea dealers. Richard Twining was Chairman of the association when William Pitt came to power. He persuaded Pitt to introduce the Commutation Act of 1784.

LORD NORTH (1732-92)
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford was Prime Minister from 1770 to 1782. His approach to the American colonies matched that of his king, George III. It was Lord North who imposed the Tea Act of 1773 that led to the Boston Tea Party.

MATCHA TEA
A powdered green tea drunk in Japan, especially at the Tea Ceremony where it is whisked into a frothy green liquor. Matcha, which has a short shelf-life, is produced by milling tencha tea.
Maté is drunk through a bombilla straw/strainer,  from a gourd-shaped drinking vessel.

MATÉ
A tea-like drink enjoyed by the gauchos of Argentina. Maté is an infusion of Ilex paraguariensis, a South American species of holly. It is drunk through a straw from a gourd-shaped drinking vessel.

NAVIGATION ACTS
A series of Acts of Parliament that regulated navigation and controlled commerce at British ports. The Acts ensured that only British ships landed imported goods. Their repeal in 1849 brought foreign competition into the British tea trade.

NORWICH CASTLE MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
(see Twinings Teapot Gallery).

OOLONG TEA
A less common type of tea produced in four stages: withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. Of the two tea types that are oxidized (black and oolong), oolong undergoes the shortest process of oxidation. Oolong is sometimes known as semi-fermented brown tea. The term is of Chinese origins and means Black Dragon.

ORANGE PEKOE
Is used to identify a large leaf size. The tea is characterized by long, thin, wiry leaves, which sometimes contain the white or yellow tip of the leaf bud.

ORGANOLEPTIC
The process used by most tea tasters to evaluate the quality of a tea using all the senses.

POUCHONG
Some of the finest quality and high priced teas. A very fragrant tea, which is also used as a base for making jasmine tea.

RANELAGH GARDENS
A popular tea garden which opened in 1742 and remained fashionable throughout the eighteenth century. In 1765, the nine-year-old Mozart performed there. The site is now home to the annual Chelsea Flower Show.

ROOIBOS
A red-coloured, tea-like infusion drunk in South Africa. Rooibos (pronounced 'roy-boss') is made from the leaves of Aspalathus linearis, a low-growing bush from the Cedarberg Mountains of the Western Cape. The plant was first identified in 1772 by the Swedish botanist, Carl Thunberg.

RUSSIAN CARAVAN
A blend of China Black Teas. Although there is little consistency between available blends in the marketplace.

SABI
Tranquillity; one of the principles established by Sen Rikyú that underpin the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
 

The Samovar Tradition

Since the 17th century, when the custom of drinking tea migrated to Russia from China, Russians have taken the tradition of enjoying tea to heart, focusing on the samovar.  A samovar is a large metal urn that heats water with burning charcoal or wood, or, more recently, electricity. On top rests a teapot in which a strong tea is brewed.  Each cup is served by diluting this concentrate with hot water from the samovar’s spigot, then sweetening it with honey, sugar or jam.  Supremely functional and almost ubiquitous (in homes, offices and restaurants, aboard trains, even on street corners), samovars are beloved works of art.  A samovar in the center of the table symbolizes home, comfort and good times. Families traditionally gathered around their tables on Sunday afternoons to share strong tea, a meal and news of their week.

SAMOVAR
An ornately decorated Russian tea urn that supplies hot tea throughout the day. Samovars consist of a metal urn containing water, topped by a cradle that holds a teapot. Heat comes from an internal charcoal-burning pipe. Modern samovars are heated electrically.

SCONE
A traditional type of flour-based baked bun, with a sweet and crumbly texture halfway between bread and cake. The scone (pronounced 'skon') is an essential ingredient of cream tea. Recipes vary and may include currants or sultanas.

SELF-DRINKING
Describes an original tea which is palatable in itself and does not necessarily require blending before being consumed by the public.

SEN RIKYÚ (1522-1591)
The greatest exponent of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Sen Rikyú took the ritual back to the simple modesty of its founders. He established the principles of wabi and sabi that underpin the ceremony.

SERICA
A tea clipper built in Greenock by Robert Steele in 1863. The Serica competed in the famous clipper race of 1866, taking 99 days to travel from Foochow to London. The Serica came third, a couple of hours behind the Taeping and the Ariel.

SHENNONG
(see Shen Nung)

SHEN NUNG, EMPEROR
Chinese legend attributes the discovery of tea to the Emperor Shen Nung (pronounced 'Shay-Nung' and sometimes written 'Shennong') in 2737 BC. Although Shen Nung is widely regarded as a scholar and a herbalist, it was imperial etiquette that gave him credit for the discovery. In those days all good ideas were attributed to the Emperor.

SILVER TIP PEKOE
A very costly tea from China made from full-grown buds of a special bush. This is also referred to as White Tea.

STRAND, 216
The site of Twinings dry tea and coffee shop since 1717. After three centuries, the shop (together with the associated Twinings Museum) remains as fascinating and lively as ever.

STRENGTH METER
A row of leaves found on Twinings teas that indicates the expected flavour strength of the tea inside the box ranging from one-two leaves as light, three as medium, four as robust and five as strong.

SUEZ CANAL
A 169km canal linking the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. The Canal was built between 1859 and 1869 by the Suez Canal Company under the supervision of the French engineer, Ferdinand de Lesseps. Unreliable winds in the Red Sea forced the tea clippers to take the long route round southern Africa, while steamships took full advantage of the newly-opened shortcut.

SULLIVAN, THOMAS
A New York tea importer who sent samples of tea to his customers in small silk bags. His customers were soon asking to buy their tea in bags.
The earliest-recorded advertisement for tea was posted in 1658 by Thomas Garway.

SULTANESS HEAD
A London coffee house at which the earliest-recorded advertisement for tea was posted in 1658 by Thomas Garway.

SUMATRA
Tea grown on the island of Sumatra. Gradings and characteristics are similar to Java teas.

SUN TEA
A late twentieth-century version of iced tea that originated in the southern states of the US. Cold water and tea bags are placed in a glass-capped pitcher and left to infuse in direct sunlight for a couple of hours.

TAEPING
One of the most successful British tea clippers, built at Greenock by Robert Steele in 1863. The Taeping won the famous five-ship clipper race of 1866, taking 99 days to travel from Foochow to London, and docking just half an hour ahead of the Ariel.

TAYLOR, JAMES
A Scotsman who first experimented with tea planting in Sri Lanka in 1867. By 1872 he had established a tea factory and, a year later, was selling Ceylon tea in London. Taylor's pioneering efforts contributed to the early success of the Ceylon tea industry

TEA
The leaf and extracted liquor of the shrub Camellia sinensis. No other beverage merits the unqualified term tea.

TEA ACT 1773
An ill-advised piece of legislation devised by Lord North to ensure that American colonists paid taxes to Britain on the tea they consumed. It led directly to the Boston Tea Party.

TEA BAG
A sealed paper bag containing finely-divided, quick-brewing tea. Tea bags are the most popular way of brewing tea in Britain and the US. They were invented by accident by a New York tea importer named Thomas Sullivan. Twinings teas are blended for the same quality in loose as in tea bag.

TEA CHEST
A foil-lined wooden box for transporting tea. The original lining was lead foil; nowadays aluminium foil is used. These days most tea is shipped in foil-lined paper sacks; only the finest teas still travel in wooden chests.


TEA CLIPPER
A type of sailing ship that was built for speed, so called because they could 'clip' the journey time. The distinctive features of a tea clipper were a sharply-raked bow, an overhanging stern, and acres of sail. Their brief period of pre-eminence on the seas ended with the opening of the Suez Canal.

TEA DANCE
An irresistible mix of afternoon tea and dancing that began in the 1910s, and which is still popular today.

TEA GARDEN
A feature of eighteenth-century social life at which men and women of all classes could gather. The tea gardens included tree-lined avenues, lantern-lit walks, music, dancing, fireworks, good food, and fine tea. The most famous were Ranelagh Gardens and Vauxhall Gardens.

TEA HOUSE (CHINA)
A public place where Chinese people go to appreciate tea for its flavour, aroma, and appearance, rather than to quench their thirsts. Tea houses (the Chinese term means 'tea art house') have reopened in China following many years of repression.

 
A tea house in Nanjing, Japan

TEA HOUSE (JAPAN)
A special building in which the Japanese Tea Ceremony is performed. Every element of the tea house is arranged according to strict rules of design.


TEAPOT COLLECTION
(see Twinings Teapot Gallery)

TEA ROOM
A public place where Britons can relax and enjoy afternoon tea or cream tea. Tea rooms sometimes referred to as 'tea shops' have been a popular feature of British social life since 1864.

TEA ROSE
A popular garden rose with a scent that was said to resemble that of tea. The tea rose is a hybrid derived from Rosa odorata.

TEA SOURCING PARTNERSHIP (TSP) NOW THE ETHICAL TEA PARTNERSHIP
An organization dedicated to improving the conditions under which tea is produced through credible, independent monitoring. The TSP represents most of the major UK tea companies. Twinings is a founding member. Visit the TSP website.

TEA TASTER
An expert judge of the beverage. A person who uses organoleptic means to discern various characteristics and qualities of tea. Twinings tea experts are unsurpassed in the skill of their trade.

TEA TREE
A native Australian evergreen shrub (Melaleuca alternifolia) with well-known antiseptic properties. The tea tree has nothing to do with tea. The name allegedly arose because in 1770, the explorer, Thomas Cook, made an infusion of the leaves which his crew drank to prevent scurvy.

TENCHA TEA
A type of green tea that is ground down to make the famous matcha powdered tea used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

THÉ DANSANT
(see tea dance)

TOM'S COFFEE HOUSE
A coffee house situated in Devereux Court just off London's Strand. Thomas Twining bought Tom's Coffee House in 1706. The location was perfect: it straddled the border between Westminster and the City of London, an area that was newly-populated with aristocracy displaced by the Great Fire of London.

TSP - HAS BEEN RE-NAMED ETP - ETHICAL TEA PARTNERSHIP
(see Tea Sourcing Partnership)

Twinings should be pronounced with a long 'i' like in the word 'mine'.

TWININGS PRONUNCIATION
Twinings should be pronounced with a long 'i' like in the word 'mine'.

TWININGS TEAPOT GALLERY
A gallery at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery that permanently houses a representative selection of the world's largest collection of British ceramic teapots.

TWININGS MUSEUM
A delightful and intriguing museum situated to the rear of Twinings shop at 216 Strand. The Museum features stories and artefacts from the history of Twinings and of tea.

TWYNING
A Gloucestershire village situated between the Rivers Severn and Avon, roughly two miles North of Tewkesbury. The village has ancient connections with the Twining family. Both names come from an old Saxon expression meaning 'between two streams'.
 
A portion of the flamboyant sentimentalist, Nikolai Karamzin (Letters of a Russian Traveller 1789-1790), description of Vauxhall: "The London Vauxhall brings together people of every social standing - lords and lackeys, fine ladies and harlots. Some come here as actors, others as spectators. I visited all the galleries and looked at all the pictures, whose themes have been taken either from Shakespeare's dramas or from recent English history. The walls of the large rotunda, where music is given in rainy weather, are covered with mirrors from floor to ceiling. Wherever you look, you see ten living portraits of yourself.
At about twelve o'clock supper was served in the pavilions, and horns sounded in the groves. Never in my life have I seen so many people seated at table. It looked like some kind of magnificent feast. We chose a pavilion, too, and ordered chicken, anchovies, cheese, butter, and a bottle of claret. This cost about six rubles.
Vauxhall is two miles from London, and in summer is open every evening. One pays forty kopecks to enter. I returned home at dawn, completely satisfied with the whole day."

VAUXHALL GARDENS
The most successful and long-lasting of London's tea gardens, lasting from 1660 to 1859. The gardens were situated on the southern bank of the River Thames on a site opposite where the Tate Gallery now stands. Handel regularly performed there.

WABI
A deliberate simplicity in daily life; one of the principles established by Sen Rikyú that underpin the Japanese Tea Ceremony.



Tea Glossary from TWININGS TEA



TWININGS HISTORY
Thomas Twining had a vision in 1706 to import the finest teas for London’s most discerning tea drinkers. More than 300 years later, Twinings has upheld that vision, delivering a collection of the finest teas enjoyed by tea drinkers around the world.


Etiquette Enthusiast Maura J Graber is the Site Moderator and Editor for you Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Etiquette: From Stone Age Societal Snubs to 20th Century Segregation and Snobs

Social polarization: Associated with the segregation within a society that may emerge from income inequality, economic displacements, etc... and result in such differentiation that would consist of various social groups, from high-income to low-income to the Haves and Have-nots.
Social polarization dated back to Stone Age.  Neighboring farmers, hunter-gatherers lived with strict boundaries.
 
Social polarization wasn’t invented yesterday. Ask the scientists studying the bones of prehistoric Europeans. Hundreds of skeletal remains, many from a newly discovered cave in Germany, have produced a startling reminder of the power of social boundaries.

When farmers showed up from the Near East about 7,500 years ago, eager to grow their grains in the soil of Central Europe, they were met by indigenous hunters and gatherers. The locals, apparently, did not welcome them with open arms.

Two new scientific techniques, ingeniously paired, suggest that for some 2,000 years, these distinct groups rarely crossed their cultural boundaries to find a mate.

At first, the indigenous people largely disappeared from the scene altogether, fleeing to the north to continue their traditional mode of life. But even when they drifted back and became neighbors with the farmers, they remained to a large extent a breed apart.

“We don’t really know who set up those social boundaries, so we don’t know if it was the farmers who didn’t mix with the hunter-gatherers or if it was the hunter-gatherers who wanted to stay by themselves. Or maybe it’s both groups that wanted to keep their own identity,” said Ruth Bollongino, a biologist at the University of Mainz and the lead author of “2000 Years of Parallel Societies in Stone Age Central Europe,” one of two new papers on Neolithic Europe published online Thursday by the journal Science.

“We don’t really know who set up those social boundaries, so we don’t know if it was the farmers who didn’t mix with the hunter-gatherers or if it was the hunter-gatherers who wanted to stay by themselves..."
This is an old story. Think of the plot of the movie “Shane,” in which the ranchers do battle with the “sod busters.” Recall the tensions between “the farmer and the cowman” in the musical “Oklahoma!”

Exactly how cultures clashed in prehistoric times is necessarily a foggy subject, given that no one had a written language and archeologists must piece together the story from broken pottery, tools, bones and charcoal.

But new research techniques are clarifying that story. The analysis of mitochondrial DNA from skeletal remains allows scientists to study migration patterns and lineages. Moreover, scientists can tell what people ate by studying variations in the carbon, sulfur and nitrogen isotopes in their teeth and bones. They can tell, for example, if a diet was heavy in fish or heavy in grains.

An enduring debate for decades has been whether agriculture arose in Europe through “cultural diffusion,” in which the techniques of farming and animal husbandry were adopted by the indigenous population from distant sources, or whether an entirely new population of people rolled into that part of the world and pushed out the natives.

The second paper published Thursday in Science, reporting an analysis of hundreds of skeletal remains from multiple sites in Central Europe, provides evidence for the second scenario, which likely involved some degree of unpleasantness.

“There’s certainly a big culture clash at that time,” said Wolfgang Haak, a geneticist at the University of Adelaide and co-author of that paper. “Farmers are probably loud, noisy and stinky at the same time. They come with domestic farm animals and just take over the place.”



Spencer Wells, explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society, and project director of the Genographic Project, a human migration research effort that contributed to the second paper, called the new findings “a huge insight.”

“In my opinion, certainly for the case of Europe, it’s going to be the nail in the coffin of this cultural diffusion idea,” he said.

It's a jungle out there! ~ “Apparently, most humans need to have some kind of identity, or some kind of group that they belong to and they feel part of. I think keeping up this identity also means that you do not admix with people from other groups, from other cultures.”
The “parallel societies” evidence is based on skeletal remains found in a cave near the German city of Hagen. The cave, called Blatterhohle, or Leaf Cave, has a long, narrow entrance and was not discovered until 2004. Excavators found more than 400 skeletal remains. The DNA evidence showed that some people were descendants of hunter-gatherers and some had farming lineage.

Then came the surprise. Bollongino assumed that she and her colleagues would wind up writing a paper about the mixing of these populations.

But instead, the isotopic analysis showed that the people from the hunter-gatherer lineage were still living that way, with a diet relying heavily on fish, and that the people from the farming lineage continued to be farmers. Everyone stuck to their way of life and rarely interbred.

“It wasn’t until we saw the isotopes that we realized we were going to have to rewrite the paper completely,” Bollongino said. “They shared the same burial place for something between 400 and 600 years, so it would be very hard to explain that they did not know each other. We believe that they were close neighbors and had contact with each other and traded with each other. But still they didn’t mix.”

The moral of the story?

“Apparently, most humans need to have some kind of identity, or some kind of group that they belong to and they feel part of. I think keeping up this identity also means that you do not admix with people from other groups, from other cultures,” she said.

 

Original article by Joel Achenbach for The Washington Post, October 2013

 

Just how far did man come with regard to social polarization over thousands of years, to 20th century, New York City? 

Seriously? Your furniture is out being cleaned?  There are few Cinderellas... "... people are more likely to interact with others from a similar financial setting. Wealth impacts where people live, what schools they attend and therefore whom they meet. The traits people are most attracted to may also be more prevalent in those from the same financial background." Kerwin Kofi Charles, Economist, University of Chicago

"The class tensions that ran high at the end of the 19th century still existed in the twentieth. After the Great War, fears of radicals prompted by the Russian Revolution led to the Red Scare and a hysterical search for radicals, especially foreigners, who could be thrown out of the country. In 1919, a strike wave rippled through the country. May Day riots broke out in many cities, including New York. The country suffered through an economic recession from 1920 until 1922, with almost five million Americans unemployed.  Strikes threatened to cripple the country in the early years of the decade despite the sinking economy, President Warren G. Harding's Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, a multimillionaire, worked to reduce taxes on the wealthy, and the income gap between the rich and the poor grew.

While class tensions rose after the Great War, race tensions exacerbated by the great migration during the war years continued to soar.  The summer of 1919 saw an outbreak of violence between whites and blacks; James Weldon Johnson aptly named those months the 'Red Summer.' Although the summer violence took place in cities like Chicago and Washington DC, New York also experienced tensions brought about by the migration and the emergence of a more assertive 'New Negro' who wanted access to full citizenship rights.  Nationally, President Warren Harding helped further tensions when he denounced racial amalgamation in an October 1921 speech given in Birmingham, Alabama.

The early newspaper reports on Leonard (Kip) and Alice Rhinelander's marriage from the fall of 1924 focused on social status, class, and color.  The press described Alice Rhinelander's father as a stagecoach a driver, identified her brother-in-law as a butler, and claimed that Alice worked as a nurse or a laundress. These occupations demonstrated the Jones family's status as colored, since such working class jobs were understood to be of low status and therefore filled primarily by Negroes in the North in the twentieth century, unlike the 19th when many domestic service jobs were held by Irish women like Margaretta McGuiness.  In contrast to the picture of the Joneses, the press depicted Leonard's family as wealthy and noted that Leonard's father belong to many exclusive clubs, signaling that the Rhinelander belonged to New York City's white upper class.


In light of the tentative identification of Alice Jones as colored and the undisputed categorization of Leonard Rhinelander as white and upper class, many of the papers speculated about the reaction of high society, the so-called Four Hundred, to the potentially interracial and cross-class marriage of Alice and Leonard Rhinelander.  Some of the curiosity over the alliance between Leonard Rhinelander and Alice Jones was not unusual for the press of the day. New York's tabloids liked stories about marriages between partners from different social stations. At least three accounts of such unions appeared in the press during same period that the Rhinelander marriage surfaced.  Public concern with these couples, like the interest in the Rhinelander marriage, might be explained by the appeal of the Cinderella factor-- the possibility that a poor working girl might marry a rich swell.  Not every poor girls marriage to a rich swell, however, public approbation.


At the end of 1924, the Chicago Defender published an editorial cartoon that pointed to the fears that distinguished reactions to different Cinderella like marriages. The cartoon illustrated a white man and a woman in evening dress seated in opposing chairs. The man is reading aloud excerpts from the daily paper. First, he tells a woman, presumably his wife, about a wedding between a millionaire and a scrub woman with an Eastern European surname.  She responds, "I just love to hear of those kinds of marriages-- They're so thrilling!" Next the husband mentions the union of a wealthy society girl with an Italian scissors grinder. The wife declares, "Isn't that romantic?" Finally, the man appears apoplectic as he reads a report that a wealthy jeweler married a Negro maid. His wife cries, "Disgraceful! What is Society coming to?-- Why that's an outrage!" The Chicago Defender's cartoon spoke to the fact that distinctions among different white racial categories had started to dissolve into a larger sense of whiteness but that at the same time the line between black and white remained heavily defended.  Consequently, Italians and Eastern Europeans might be marriageable but never the 'Negro maid' -- there could be no 'dusky Cinderella.'"


From "Property Rites: The Rhinelander Trial, Passing and the Protection of Whiteness" by Elizabeth M. Smith-Pryor  


Maritime Manners, Naval Traditions and "Shipshape Etiquette"


Naval Traditions




 

October 21, 1805, The Battle of Trafalgar  (Painting by J.M.W. Turner,  1822)


Most dinner guests had once served in the Royal Navy and were now involved in the Maritime Volunteer Service, of which my father is now proudly a member. I was sat beside an elderly gentleman who had fought in World War Two and had some extremely interesting stories to tell.
In addition the war veteran to my left I had the good fortune of sitting opposite the Fleet Chief, an entertaining gentleman who is determined to preserve the traditions and etiquette rules of the Royal Navy. He took charge of ensuring we were behaving appropriately at dinner which funnily enough involved telling my father off for stealing his napkin.

I learnt several interesting facts regarding Navy tradition which I would like to share with you:

Passing the Port: The port began its rounds at relatively the same time as the biscuits and cheese were served and I proceeded to learn some fascinating facts regarding the etiquette of port and where the customs originated from.  The port must always remain touching the table. When passing the port around the table one must slide it along and not lift it from the surface. When pouring the port one must ensure that at least one part of the decanter remains on the table. I accomplished this by keeping a corner of the base on the table and tilting it as far over as possible. The Fleet Chief showed me how it can be done by tilting it off the very edge of the table and holding the glass beneath it. This technique would surely be useful the further along the table it went.  The reason for this may just be a practical one as by keeping the port resting against the table it ensures balance and stability, decreasing the likelihood of any spills.  I am of the understanding however that whether or not the port touches or does not touch the table varies and it depends on the rules of that particular mess. We can therefore perhaps give one the benefit of the doubt if they do not follow the same rules as their fellow diners.


"The Loyal Toast" by James Gillray, 1798 ~ A salute given to the head of state of the country in which a formal gathering is being given, whether or not the particular head of state is present. A matter of protocol at military and state occasions, and a display of patriotism when at civilian events.
The Loyal Toast: The Loyal Toast, which is the toast given to the reigning monarch, is actually given sitting down in the Royal Navy. The gentleman I mention above told us all to sit down as we had proceeded to incorrectly stand up for the toast.  The reason for this is attributed to King William IV who having served in Navy himself understood the discomfort and impracticality of suddenly standing up while at sea. He therefore permitted the serving seamen to remain sitting during the Loyal Toast.  Although we were not actually at sea during dinner the very fact that we were celebrating Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar meant that we were to show respect to Navy tradition.  It is also important to note that the port is consumed following the Loyal Toast and should not be touched beforehand.

A "Nelson Fork"~ It was developed and used from 1797 on, by Horatio Nelson, after he was attacked fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, resulting in the loss of his right arm.  Nelson was given command of the British naval ship, Agamemnon.  He served in the Mediterranean, helped capture Corsica and saw battle at Calvi. He lost his right arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797. He subsequently used, what came to be known as, a 'Nelson Fork' in order to assist him in cutting and eating food with the same hand.
One of the other interesting things the Fleet Chief told me about port was that upon bringing Nelson’s body home from battle they preserved it by pickling it in port. I’ve since looked into this online but all references found regarding pickling Nelson’s body is said to have been done by either rum or brandy; I cannot therefore verify this piece of information as fact.

Port ages in old wooden barrels ~ "The port is always passed to the left. There are various explanations for why this is so, most originating from the Royal Navy, where it is said to be passed from “port to port”. It is said that one of the reasons it is passed to the left is so that the sword arm (right arm) is available. The Fleet Chief I was speaking to also implied that one of the reasons comes from Lord Nelson due to his missing right arm.  Another possible reason is that it involves an old superstition that passing something in an anti-clockwise direction opens the doors to evil spirits.  Whatever the origin of the tradition, the port is never to reverse direction and should more port be required it will need to make the rounds again in much the same manner."


Biscuits: I also learnt that one should tap biscuits three times before eating them. And the reason for this? To get rid of any weevils!  I must say I’m glad we don’t have to worry about that anymore. After dinner there were several ways in which money was raised for the Maritime Volunteer Service as it is a charity after all. One of the ways they raised money was by charging £2 from the men who did not tie their own bowties! My father happened to be one of them! His excuse is that he didn’t have time so he got himself a clip on! Hmmmm, I think some lessons are in order!  They then had a raffle and I managed to pull my father’s ticket from the bucket! There were many suspicious glances passed my way but I assure you I do not have X-Ray vision.

To finish off the evening of great enjoyment and education we sang sea shanties and naval songs, just to get that rowdy feel of sailors at sea.  I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Originally posted on "Shipshape Etiquette"

More on the Etiquette of Serving Port

Antique Port Wine Chariot

"Where port is served, the bottle on its coaster stands before the host, the tablecloth having been removed before the ritual begins. He pours for whoever is on his right -- to save this person, seated in the honourable place, from having to wait until last to be served. Then the bottle is slid reverently along the polished wooden table top (originally so that the dregs might be disturbed as little as possible, though all good ports should be decanted before they are drunk); or it is rolled along in a wheeled silver chariot; or it is handled with special ceremonial gestures from male to male, as drinking cups were handled at ancient Greek symposia. But port is passed clockwise (to the left), not as drinks circulated in ancient Greece, to the right. "Beg your pardon, sir," says Jingle in "The Pickwick Papers", after the waiter has left the men to themselves, "bottles stands-- pass it round-- way of the sun-- through the button-hole [both these expressions are ways of saying "to the left": men's buttonholes are traditionally placed on the left]-- no heeltaps [meaning "leave no wine at the bottom of the glass"]." At the British Factory House dinners in Oporto, the men move into a second dining room in order to enjoy vintage port, for fear of any smell of food interfering with the drink's aroma."  from Margaret Visser, "The Rituals of Dinner"



Captain James Cook and Scurvy

Captain James Cook managed to make dining on sauerkraut not just popular, but highly desirable and the result was that none of his crew died of scurvy. Scurvy was caused by mainly vitamin C and B deficiencies, oftentimes compounded by the overdose of vitamin A from eating seals' livers, producing a breakdown in the cellular structure of the body.

One of Cook’s most important discoveries during his voyages was actually about food. Cook realized that there were certain foods that, if eaten, prevented the disease called scurvy.  Scurvy, we know today, is caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Scurvy was common among sailors, because most vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables were very difficult to keep fresh during long sea voyages in the days before refrigeration. So, sailors before Cook’s time ate a diet that was mostly dried, hard bread known as hard tack, and dried, salted meat.

Cook took two major steps to change the diet of his crew. First, every time the ships stopped anywhere that grew fresh fruit and vegetables, he bought some to feed to the crew. However, because there were sometimes weeks between stops, and fruit and vegetables would rot in that time, he had to have another plan. He knew that sauerkraut, which is pickled cabbage, had been shown to prevent scurvy. Sauerkraut, because it is pickled, can be kept in jars, and will not go bad. Cook brought a lot of sauerkraut on his voyage – but the crew didn’t want to eat it at first.

Captain Cook played a very interesting trick on his crew. When he realized that the men were refusing to eat the sauerkraut, he took it away from them. He said only the officers could eat it, and only put it out on the officers’ tables. Telling the crew they couldn’t have it, made them want it more – so they started eating it.

Cook’s crew was out to sea for a longer period of time than any sailors before them. And yet, not one of Cook’s sailors died of scurvy. This means that Cook proved that certain foods could prevent scurvy, and smart sea captains after him followed his example and took sauerkraut, fruit, and vegetables on their voyages.


From BBC's History of the British Empire



Article Contributed by Rachel North ~ Rachel North is an etiquette and afternoon tea enthusiast with a love for anything ancient and historical. You can visit her blog here: http://shipshapeetiquette.co.uk/


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Etiquette of Roman Empire Dining

Some foods which we take for granted today such as potatoes, tomatoes and chocolate, were unknown to the Romans. Likewise, many Roman dishes are unheard of now. The menu at a Roman banquet could include sows' udders and larks' tongues, though most people never ate such extravagant meals.
An 1882 print titled, "A Roman Bakery, Restored from the excavations at Pompeii" 
Poorer Romans and slaves had to live on basic food, such as bread, porridge and stew, but wealthier people had a more varied diet. For breakfast, they ate a snack of bread or wheat biscuits with honey, and lunch was a simple meal of eggs, cheese, cold meat and fruit.

Many people hardly ate at all during the day, waiting instead for the evening meal. For average Romans, this was roast poultry or fish, but the wealthy often enjoyed lavish dinner parties.

The Romans drank lots of wine, and people in Rome could choose from around 200 types which were made all over the Empire. Wine was often spiced, or sweetened with honey, and it was usually diluted with water -- drinking it undiluted wasn't considered respectable.

In the early days of the Republic, women were forbidden to drink wine, but during the Empire this rule was dropped. Other popular drinks included grape juice and goat's milk, and people could also drink water from public fountains.

Depiction of cooking in an ancient Roman kitchen
A Roman kitchen was equipped with many of the same utensils that we use today; saucepans, cheese graters, and strainers to drain water away. These items were usually made of bronze, which could make food taste strange, so some pans were coated with silver.

Food was boiled, fried, grilled, stewed, or roasted on a spit. With no freezers or cans to keep food fresh, it had to be smoked, pickled or salted to preserve it. Rich Romans loved spicy food, and most of their meals were highly seasoned or eaten with a strong sauce. One of the most popular sauces was a thick, salty concoction called liquamen, made from pickled fish.

In town, very few people did their own cooking. Most people lived in apartment blocks with wooden beams and floors, and it was forbidden to light cooking fires inside, in case the building burned down. Instead of cooking at home, people usually bought hot foods, such as pie, sausages and stews, from snack bars in street.

 
Depiction of a Roman Banquet ~ "Menus written on tablets were known in ancient Greece and Rome, but far more common at feasts was the custom of someone -- either the host or a specially instructed slave -- pointing out the different dishes, explaining on occasion what each contained and how it had been made, and informing guests of the provenance, the freshness, the age of the foods and wines. The need for written menus at modern feasts is the result of an important change in the way for more formal meals were constructed, which spread to Europe and America from about the mid-nineteenth century." From Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner
A Roman Dinner Party

Ancient Roman dinner guests, depicted lounging on a triclinium... "If they were too full to finish their food, they could wrap the leftovers in a napkin to take home."--"The first napkin was a lump of dough the Spartans called 'apomagdalie', a mixture cut into small pieces and rolled and kneeded at the table, a custom that led to using sliced bread to wipe the hands. In Roman antiquity, napkins known as sudaria and mappae were made in both small and large lengths. The sudarium, Latin for 'handkerchief,' was a pocket-size fabric earned to blot the brow during meals taken in the warm Mediterranean climate. The mappa was a larger cloth spread over the edge of the couch as protection from food taken in a reclining position. The fabric was also used to blot the lips. Although each guest supplied his own mappa, on departure mappae were filled with delicacies leftover from the feast, a custom that continues today in restaurant 'doggy bags'." 

Wealthy Romans loved to eat extravagant and fancy foods. They threw lavish dinner parties to show off their great power and wealth. Important Romans tried to outdo each other by making their banquets more and more extravagant.

A dinner party would usually begin in the early evening. The guests would remove their sandals at the door and have their feet washed by a slave. They were then announced by an usher and shown to their places. Their hands were then washed with perfumed water. Washing their hands was an important ritual as Romans usually ate with their fingers.

Wealthy Romans reclined on three cushioned couches, or a triclinium, while dining. In the Roman Empire, only slaves and children sat on chairs while eating. Women and men ate together, with up to nine people lounging around a table. Romans didn't have forks, but were known to sometimes use knives and spoons. People ate straight from serving dishes as opposed to using plates, and between courses slaves washed the guests' hands with more perfumed water.

A full Roman banquet was made up of seven courses and could last as long as ten hours. Starting with a couple of cold courses, such as sardines, mushrooms, and eggs, they then moved on to more exciting dishes. They could include flamingoes' tongues, doormice in honey, or even elephants' trunks. How the food looked was just as important as how it tasted and chefs took great enjoyment in disguising one type of food to make it look like another. The writer Petronius boasted that his chef could make a pig's belly look exactly like a fish. Between courses, guests were entertained by poets, conjurers, clowns, or musicians. After dinner, there would often be games. For example the host would pick a number and everyone would have to swallow that number of drinks.

To show that they had enjoyed the meal, guests would belch loudly. If they were too full to finish their food, they could wrap the leftovers in a napkin to take home. Very greedy guests would tickle their throats with a feather until they became sick and then would start eating all over again. The writer Seneca was disgusted by guests who indulged in this habit, and wrote scornfully, "They vomit to eat and eat to vomit."
Elagabalus's guests being smothered when the petals were released from a large net above the table.


Emperor's spies were everywhere, so guests had to be careful about what they talked about at dinner parties. If someone was heard criticizing the Emperor, he might suddenly be tied up in chains and dragged away. Some dinner parties were even more dangerous. 

The crazy emperor Elagabalus smothered his guests to death with thousands of rose petals falling from the ceiling. A nineteenth-century painting depicts Elagabalus's guests being smothered when the petals were released from a large net above the table.


Sources include the "Usborne Encyclopedia of the Roman World" and Margaret Visser's "The Rituals of Dinner" and "The Art of the Table"


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia