The famous phrase “Lucullus’ feasts” comes from the name of a Roman leader and politician from the 1st century BCE Lucinius Lucullus (117-56 BCE), who had a reputation as a gourmet.
He was sometimes described as the greatest glutton of antiquity, who stunned Rome with his lavish feasts with the most expensive and sophisticated dishes. He is also credited with bringing cherries and apricots to Europe.
He made his wealth on expeditions in the east and battles with Mithridates, king of Pontus. He spent the money mainly on the construction of luxurious palaces, the most famous of which was the one located in the fashionable town of Tusculum. This is how Plutarch describes it:
He had also country establishments near Tusculum, with observatories, and extensive open banqueting halls and cloisters. Pompey once visited these, and chided Lucullus because he had arranged his country seat in the best possible way for summer, but had made it uninhabitable in winter. Whereupon Lucullus burst out laughing and said: “Do you suppose, then, that I have less sense than cranes and storks, and do not change residences according to the seasons?”
– Plutarch, Lucullus, 39