Giraffe for Dinner


Archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati digging at the ruins of Pompeii discovered that some of its inhabitants dined delicacies such as giraffes:

A drain from a central property revealed a richer variety of foods as well as imports from outside Italy, such as shellfish, sea urchin and even delicacies including the butchered leg joint of a giraffe. “That the bone represents the height of exotic food is underscored by the fact that this is thought to be the only giraffe bone ever recorded from an archaeological excavation in Roman Italy.” “How part of the animal, butchered, came to be a kitchen scrap in a seemingly standard Pompeian restaurant not only speaks to long-distance trade in exotic and wild animals, but also something of the richness, variety and range of a non-elite diet.”

The article about food and diet at Pompeii can be read here.

This surprising discovery reveals how wealthy Romans lived and also the depravity of Roman society. As Russell Sveda, from Columbia University in the City of New York, wrote in a comment at the end of the article, “wealthy Romans preferred the life-giving internal organs of an animal, and left the muscle tissue to ordinary people and slaves.”

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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