What Were Beds Made Of In Ancient Rome

Beds in Ancient Rome

Most people wouldn’t think twice about having a bed in their home. But in ancient Rome having a bed was a sign of luxury and wealth reserved only for the Roman elite. The beds in Ancient Rome were evidence of status, power and prestige and were seen as a great extravagance.

In the real Roman world bed were generally quite minimalist. Most beds didn’t have an actual frame and were made out of materials found in the local area. In general, beds were mostly constructed from wicker, reeds, and bamboo, as these materials were abundant near the Mediterranean Sea. Other beds were made from cedar and fir, which were both available in abundance in Roman times. Some beds were even constructed from animal hides, stretched over a reed or wicker frame.

The Romans rarely used complicated bedsteads or bedframes. Though they did exist, they were much more expensive and cumbersome. Beds were made out of natural or found materials, or with treasure – often gold or precious gems which enhanced the luxury of the bed – and depicted royalty or the gods in some way.

The bedding in ancient Rome was either made from feathers or wool. Wool was used when feathers were not available, and was often stuffed into small bags then wrapped and tied together to form a mattress. Wool was also used in the form of quilts and blankets which would have kept the ancient Romans warm in the winter months. The mattress was then put on top of a wooden frame or reed platform to keep it off the floor.

In terms of comfort, the ancient Roman beds were a far cry from the cushioned and comfortable beds we are used to today. Apart from the occasional wealthy nobility, beds were also made from iron, stone and mud, which were much more uncomfortable than the more luxurious bed materials of precious gems, gold and wool.

The Romans were quite obsessive about sleeping, as it was commonly believed that sleeping invigorated the mind and the body, so they would often use elaborate sleeping positions, which were believed to enhance sleep. A few of these included lying flat on one’s back, sleeping on one’s side, sleeping with one’s knees up and sleeping with an arm or leg draped over the edge of the bed.

In conclusion, beds in Ancient Rome were viewed as a great extravagance. Beds were made from a variety of materials found in the local area such as wicker, reeds and bamboo, and beds for the wealthy nobility were often made of gold, precious gems and wool. Furthermore, the Romans had an obsession with sleeping, so they often adopted elaborate sleeping positions.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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