(Masters of the Feast). The office of epulo
at Rome was created B.C.
196 to relieve the Pontifices. It was, from the first, open to plebeians, and could be held
with the great offices of State. The first duty of the epulones was to provide the banquets
) of the Capitoline deities. (See Lectisternium
.) In later times they had also to provide for and
superintend the public entertainment (epulae
) of the people, when the
Senate dined on the Capitol. Such entertainments
Epulo on Roman Coin.
were always provided at the games given by private individuals, or by the State, on
occasions of religious festivals, dedications of temples, assumptions of office, triumphs,
funerals, birthdays in the imperial household, and the like. The Collegium Epulonum consisted
originally of three members (tres viri epulones
) and afterwards of seven
(septem viri epulones
), a name which it retained even after Caesar had
raised the number to ten. Its existence can be traced down to the end of the fourth century.
In the illustration given above from a Roman denarius, an epulo is shown engaged in preparing
the couch for the epulum Iovis.