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Fat

(162 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Fluid, semi-solid or solid material obtained from vegetable or animal cells, and of great importance to human  Nutrition as a source of energy and vehicle of flavour. In early antiquity  Butter, lard and suet predominated. Use of these animal fats subsequently remained at a high level in antiquity, especially in northern regions; in the Mediterranean region, olive oil eventually gained absolute pride of place. Although relatively expensive (CIL III 2, p. 827 3,1-3; 4,10-11; p. 828…

Vinegar

(142 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (ὄξος/ óxos, acetum). Means of flavouring and conserving, usually obtained by fermenting wine, occasionally also the juice of fruits such as dates and figs. Vinegar existed in various qualities, with that from Alexandria being particularly valued (Plin. HN 14,102). Vinegar, which at the beginning of the 4th cent. AD cost less than ordinary wine (Edict. Diocletiani 3,5), contributed to the sweet-and-sour taste of many dishes; Apicius often used it for sauces for meat and fish dishes …

Soup

(180 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] was prepared by boiling solid food (such as corn, vegetables, pulses, fish, meat or fruit) in water or other liquids. There were no clear or light soups in ancient cooking, nor was there a term for it. The main reason for this lies in ancient eating habits: although Greeks and Romans did have large spoons ( ligula), they were accustomed to eat with their hands; also as a rule there was no individual cutlery (Table utensils). Thus there were only thick soups in both the simple cooking and the haute cuisine of antiquity: stews, porridges ( pultes; Apicius 5,1), fricassees ( minutal…

Praefectus urbi

(328 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Town prefect <of Rome later also of Constantinople>; Greek πολίαρχος/ políarchos). According to Roman tradition, by the early Roman period a PU ('town administrator' in [4. 663]) who was authorized first by the king and then by the highest magistrate, supervised the business of the state, mainly the administration of justice in their absence (Liv. 1,59,12; 3,3,6; Tac. Ann. 6,11; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 5,75).The post - should it have ever existed - must have become insignificant with the introduction of collegiality ( collega ) in senior magistr…

Cena

(317 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] The main daily meal of the Romans. Over the cents. it was largely influenced by Greek table culture: it shifted from midday to evening-time; while it was originally consumed sitting in the atrium or the kitchen, the upper classes at least later took it lying down in special, richly furnished dining rooms (  triclinium ); to the original sequence of main course ( mensa prima) and dessert ( mensa secunda) was added the starter course ( gustatio). The duration and contents of the cena depended on the occasion, and above all on economic circumstances. The ordinary p…

Fish dishes (and seafood)

(588 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Overall term for meals prepared from fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The large range of varieties of fish and seafood in the Mediterranean was very different, depending on the season and area of the catch; consumer taste also changed over time. Of the large number of species used for fish dishes (cf. the catalogues in Plin. HN 9,43-104; Ath. 3,30-36; 7,277-330; 8,355-358; Auson. Mos. 75-149) we should emphasize not only  tuna but particularly  crustaceans,  molluscs,  snails and  …

Fruit

(338 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (ὀπῶραι/ opôrai, Lat. poma). Collective term for edible fruits or seed kernels (hazelnut, almond, pine kernel, etc.), usually from fruit trees. Ancient authors distinguish, according to the time of ripening of the fruit, early summer, summer and autumn fruits (e.g. Gal. de alimentorum facultatibus 2,2; 8). The most important cultivated fruits in the Roman imperial period were  apples, pears, dates,  figs, pomegranates,  plums,  quinces and grapes ( Wine) with many respective subspeci…

Salgama

(121 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek ἁλμαῖα/ halmaîa). Collective term for pickled vegetables, herbs, and fruit. From the Greek period on, people enjoyed preserving plant foodstuffs by pickling them in brine (Colum. 12,4,4), often with the addition of vinegar, spices and other ingredients such as milk and honey (Plin. HN 19,153; Dioscorides 2,174 Wellmann). Columella (10,117; 12,9 f.) has recipes for pickling capers, lettuce, herbs, onions, European cornels, plums and various kinds of apples and pears. In simple cuisine, salgama were eaten with bread or cereal porridge; at more lavish meals, sa…

Vegetables

(523 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Mostly annual plants, parts of which are suitable for eating, either raw or cooked. In the ancient world, there were large numbers of vegetables; there is evidence for Imperial Italy alone of fifty garden species and fifty wild species. Today largely unknown or uncommon, in ancient sources they were divided into three large groups: 1. legumina (primarily the protein-rich pulses, such as beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins; cf. the lists in Columella 2,7,1-2; Plin. HN 18,117-136); 2. olera (especially the vitamin- and fibre-rich leaf-vegetables, tubers,…

Meals

(914 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Meals, i.e. drink and food taken at particular hours, are at the centre of ancient table culture. The type and sequence of meals and their position in the larger order and that of the overarching rhythm of life are so complex that they cannot be discussed here in their entire structural, spatial and temporal differentiation. In the Greek and Roman world, daily meals were subject to a fixed order that was at first primarily guided by the natural environment, especially sunrise and sunset (cf. the names of the meals: ἄριστον/ áriston, morpheme: ‘early’ and vesperna, morpheme…

Postumianus

(110 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Praefectus praetorio Orientis in AD 383. An orthodox Christian from the West, P. rose above various otherwise unknown officials to the praetorian praefecture of the East (Greg. Naz. Epist. 173). He took up office at the beginning of 383  (Cod. Theod. 9,42,10), but held it only until the end of the year (Cod. Theod. 16,5,12). After returning to the west he was entrusted from 395 to 396 with a legation from the city of Rome's Senate to the emperor (Symmachus Ep. 6,22,3; 6,26,2). Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster) Bibliography W. Enßlin, s. v. P. (2), RE 22, 890  PLRE 1, 718 (P. 2); c…

Milk

(324 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek γάλα/ gála; Latin lac). The milk of various mammals (donkey, camel, cow, sheep, mare, goat) was used in ancient times; the concept was thus not, as today, limited to cow's milk. Cow's milk was rather unpopular in the Mediterranean region, and was consumed in large quantities only in northern regions of the ancient world (Aristot. Hist. Ant. 3,20). The favourite kind of milk among the Greeks and Romans was that of sheep, also the only kind to appear in the Edictum [3] Diocletian…

Beverages

(495 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] In antiquity there were countless types of drinks depending on the time and region and they were drunk undiluted, mixed together or mixed with additives (fat, spices, sweet substances), hot or cold. They can be divided into three groups according to their basic components: 1. Beverages made of water. Water (Plin. HN 31,31-72) was an indispensable nutritional substance (Pind. Ol. 1,1; Vitr. De arch. 8,1,1; Plin. HN 31,31-72) and also an essential component of two important drinks c…

Praefectus praetorio

(1,323 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
('praetorian prefect'; Greek ἔπαρχος/ éparchos or ὕπαρχος τῆς αὐλῆς/ hýparchos tês aulês). Holder of one of the most important posts in the administration of the Roman empire. [German version] A. Principate Augustus [1] established the post in 2 BC when he placed two men of equestrian rank ( equites Romani ) at the head of his bodyguard, the praetorians ( cohortes praetorianae) (Cass. Dio 55,10). The PP's original task was to command the imperial bodyguard that protected the emperor in his headquarters ( praetorium ). As early as the reign of Tiberius [II …

Neoterius

(150 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Flavius N., praefectus praetorio Galliarum AD 390. N., a novus homo , began his career in the west of the Empire. In 366 he probably went as tribunus et notarius of Valentinian I. to North Africa (Amm. Marc. 26,5,14). He became a close friend of Theodosius, who took N. with him to his part of the Empire after his nomination as emperor and entrusted him with the post of praefectus praetorio of the East from AD 380 to 381. Although criticism of his conduct in office was voiced loudly (Lib. Or. 2,72-73), Theodosius I. held onto N.. He sent him back to …

Egg

(126 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (ᾠόν; ōión, ovum). In the ancient kitchen eggs of all domestic birds, such as ducks, pheasants, geese, chicken, peafowl, partridges and pigeons and occasionally even wild fowl, were used. In general usage the meaning of ‘egg’ was narrowed to chicken egg, which was known in Greece no later than the 6th cent. BC and was later much esteemed in the Roman world. The chicken egg was a quite affordable food (Edictum Diocletiani 6,43), which was popularly served as an appetizer at meals (Hor. Sat. 1,3,6f.: ab ovo usque ad mala). It also had a place in haute cuisine:  Apicius …

Meat dishes

(495 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] A collective term for dishes made from the muscle tissue and innards of mammals and birds. In Antiquity, a minor number of meat dishes was made using birds (e.g., blackbird, thrush, duck, goose, chicken, pigeon, quail) and game (especially rabbit, red deer ( Deer), wild boar ( Pig); in the Roman period also rabbit and dormouse). However, most meat dishes were prepared from domestic animals - sheep, pig, cattle and goat. The pig must be particularly emphasized in this group because…

Mead

(220 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek ὑδρόμελι/ hydrómeli, Latin [ aqua] mulsa). A beverage usually made of one part honey and two parts water (Columella 12,12; Dioscorides, De materia medica 5,9 Wellmann) that was usually consumed fermented with an alcohol content of 15% but occasionally also unfermented. Apart from beer, mead was the oldest intoxicating drink in the Mediterranean. When wine arrived in the historical period, mead was supplanted first in Greece and then largely in Italy, especially because grapes wer…

Salinum

(106 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (ἁλία/ halía). Small salt container (Plin. HN 33,153) made of silver, occasionally of clay. It belonged in every Roman household and was used for adding salt during dinner, but had a special function in the domestic cult as well: Up to the Imperial Period, the salinum was used in food offerings between the main course and dessert (Liv. 26,36,6; Stat. Silv. 1,4,130 f.). This cultic significance explains why the salinum was handed down from father to son (Hor. Carm. 2,16,13 f.). Mola salsa Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster) Bibliography M. Besnier, s. v. S., DS IV/2, 1022  A. Hug, s.…

Saccharon

(239 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (σάκχαρον/ sákcharon, Lat. sacc[ h] aron). Sugar obtained from the pith of sugarcane, a plant not native to the Mediterranean region. The Greeks first came to know of sugarcane and its sweet juice with the Indian campaign of Alexander [II 4] (Str. 15,1,20; Theophr. Hist. pl. 3,15,5). Sugar does not appear to have reached the Mediterranean region in crystalline form before the beginning of the 1st cent. AD, when direct sea trade from Egypt to India got under way (Peripl. maris Erythraei 14 Casson). In any case, the word saccharon entered the sources (Plin. HN 12,32) a…
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