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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…

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…

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,…

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…

Comissatio

(159 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Traditional Roman drinking party, a regular accompaniment to a festive   cena , often lasting long into the night. For a long time it was reserved for men, but from the end of the Roman Republic women, too, could partake. The comissatio, a socially highly important form of gathering, reached Rome by the end of the 3rd cent. BC at the latest. The word is derived from the Greek word for revelry, κῶμος ( kômos); its structure and rules corresponded to a large extent to those of the symposium ( Banquet). Apart from the drinking, the entertainment consisted …

Must

(251 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (γλεῦκος/ gleûkos; [ vinum] mustum). As yet unfermented - or just fermenting - juice of pressed fruit such as apples, pears, dates, figs, pomegranates, cornel cherries, quinces and service tree fruit (Plin. HN 13,44-45; 14,102-103. 125; 15,109). The most important type of must was made from grapes (Columella 12,41; Plin. HN 23,29); its Latin name was vinum mustum, from which the English word 'must' derives. Fresh must, whose aperient and invigorating effects were prized by doctors (Celsus, Med. 4,26,5-6; Dioscorides 5,9; Gal. De alimen…

Dishes, Meals

(798 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek ἐδέσματα/ edésmata; Lat. cibi, esca). A classification of dishes in antiquity is unknown to us and can be deduced only from antique  cookery books. They generally organize dishes according to their basic ingredients, thus according to such food groups as fish, meat (quadrupeds), poultry, vegetables, grains and legumes [1]. Ancient sources attest to a variety of dishes; apart from cookery books, comedies (Aristophanes; Plautus) are especially informative sources of information, a…

Spices

(470 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek ἡδύσματα/ hēdýsmata; Latin condimenta). Flavouring ingredients of food and drink, mostly from particular parts of indigenous wild and garden plants and exotic ones. A great abundance of spices was known in antiquity, although availability and use differed from period to period to a considerable extent. In the 1st century AD Caelius [II 10] Apicius used in total sixty spices, of which ten were imported ( cf. the lists of spices in Plin. HN 12; 19,101-175; Ath. 2,68a; Apici excerpta a Vinidario 1 André). The most important indigenous spic…

Vicarius

(645 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
generally a 'representative' (Cic. Verr. 4,81; Liv. 29,1,8 f.; Quint. Decl. 9,9; CIL I 202). [German version] [1] Military-political office (military-political office). In the realm of the Roman political administration (VIII.), vicarii began to appear especially in the High Imperial Period when state responsibilities were increasing and individual civil and military officials were no longer able to single-handedly carry out the duties of their jurisdiction. The emperor assigned men to replace or represent them in certain si…

Food

(643 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (τροφαί / trophaí; Lat. alimenta). Name for nutritious solid and liquid substances which can sometimes be eaten or drunk raw, but which are not normally suitable for consumption without preparation and are therefore further processed into meals in the kitchen. A systematic classification of food is offered by Galen's treatise ‘On the Powers of Food’ ( De alimentorum facultatibus libri III), one of the few ancient dietary specialized writings that are completely extant. Galen classifies food on the principle of its place in natural history…

Polenta

(144 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (ἄλφιτα/ álphita). Barley groats, flour or bread. The Lat. term polenta describes on the one hand the groats of hulled, roasted barley kernels; on the other, the mash mixed or cooked with these groats together with water, salt and other ingredients (Plin. HN 18,72; Pall. Agric. 7,12). Barley mash, served with accompaniments such as oil or vegetables, was among the most important staples of the diet in Greece until the Hellenistic Period. By contrast, in Italy (with the possible exception of Cisalpine Gaul (Plin. HN 18,85)), emmer mash ( puls) was preferred, the nation…

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…
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