Beds…and Ancient Rome. You’re Kidding, Right?
You and I have “a bed.” That’s because we are trying to keep things simple here in the 21st century. But the ancient Romans had a different take on things. Take a look at this account of the ancient Roman’s Bed. As you’ll see, there were different types of beds used in ancient Rome and by the same household.
Lectus Cubicularis: This is a chamber bed – or what you and I would consider a “normal bed.” I’m good here.
Lectus Genialis: This is the marriage bed, and it was heavily decorated most likely to celebrate, but perhaps also to stand up to…you know what. Interestingly, it was normally placed opposite the doorway of the room in which it resided…which strikes me as a little…feng shui. This is also likely bed you were not supposed to get into before going to sleep if you were mad. If you were miffed at your spouse, you could probably just sneak into the undecorated and “don’t touch me” Lectus Cubicularis until “he” apologized to you.
Lectus Discuriborious: This is the bed upon which the Romans ate (reactions ?). And they did so while lying on their left sides – AND – there were usually 3 people in this bed, with the person in the middle allegedly being the most honored person. This is where I fold. It’s not the “eating-a-trois” that gets me, though it is a little disgusting as I think about it now. But can you imagine the filth, stains and crumbs from eating in that position, let alone with 2 other slurping, spilling eating mates lying on either side of you? Not a lot of soup eating happening one would think.
Lectus Lucubratorious: This was a bed made for studying. I guess the idea was to keep things logically functional while hitting the books. My oldest brother told a story once of learning to fall asleep in law school during a particularly dry, early morning torte class – he figured out how to do so while balancing his head on his hand and pen. A bed would have made it all so much easier.
Lectus Funeibis: This is a bed upon which the dead were carried. What I want to know is – if you’re dead, what kind of sheets do you get?
Well, as they say “Rome was not built in a day” and this likely because the Romans were in bed(s).