I'm reading an article about a gruesome banquet held by Roman emperor Domitian. And it describes the scene as follows:

Naked boys painted black flitted past like phantoms and after circling around the guests in a sinister dance took up their positions at their feet.

I don't understand what "took up their positions at their feet" mean. Does it mean the dancing boys just stood by the guests or what?

1 Answer 1


No, it means that the dancing boys then sat or lay down "at the feet" of the guests. Lying at someone else's feet is symbolic of offering oneself to, or expressing fealty to, that person. An example is prostrating oneself before a king.

From the context, I suspect the boys were offering themselves to the guests to be used sexually.

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