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The "Lex Fannia Sumptuaria" of 161 BC.

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    • Abstract:
      Fannius' law was the second and best known of the Roman "leges sumptuariae." Reconstructing its provisions shows that it targeted market-bought foods served at "cenae" where the elite entertained one another, while exempting homelier foods like vegetables and "far," thus symbolically privileging the domestic economy over cash-based markets. Details about the law's passage indicate that it was provoked by a specific event, probably a magistrate presiding over a trial while drunk. The law was impractical, and hence symbolic. Passing the law acted as a collective exorcism of contemporary anxieties. Passage also showed politically who was boss. [ ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].