Saturnalia: How the Romans Give

October 2016 to October 2017

"Receive my poems, alternating between rich and poor; let each man give a gift at the banquet suited to his means."

Martial, Epigrams, 14.1

Each year a team of undergraduate interns works with the Antiquities Museum to develop a small exhibition alongside their studies. The 2016 Interns have worked to produce an exhibition highlighting the different types of gifts given in the Roman festive season, the Saturnalia.

Objects from the Museum collection are paired with short epigrams describing them, drawn from the 1st century AD Roman poet, Martial. Martial lists over 200 suitable gifts, alongside short verses intended as ancient ‘gift tags’ to accompany them. The Romans loved to give and receive these small gifts, much the same as we do today.

View Online

Curated by Dr Janette McWilliam, Mr James Donaldson, Ms Jasmin Blyth, Ms Kyla Duffy, Ms Samantha Levick, and Ms Jessica Zelli