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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…

Pastries

(300 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek πλακοῦς, plakoûs, Latin placenta), mostly individual sweets, found in many varieties in ancient tradition according to region and period, fashion and purpose (cf. the lists in Ath. 14,643-648). They consisted without exception of fine meal (initially barley, later predominantly wheat), water, milk or shortening and (usually) a raising agent. Other ingredients, such as eggs, fruit, spices, (cream-)cheese, nuts and sweeteners supplied the typical aroma and flavour of a kind of pa…

Deipnon

(366 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (δεῖπνον; deîpnon). In the early Greek period a term applying to every daytime meal. But during the 5th cent. BC in Athens, probably as a consequence of urbanization, the meaning of deîpnon had become restricted to the main meal, which began at sunset. There was a set order to the deîpnon. This comprised the actual meal, with the possibility of several courses, and the dessert, which might lead on to the drinking session ( sympósion); not until the second part of the deîpnon was any amount of wine drunk. As the Greeks saw the deîpnon as the expression of a link with the go…

Butter

(144 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (βούτυρον; boútyron, butyrum). Fat mainly from cow's milk, less commonly extracted from sheep's or goat's milk; unlike today it was mostly used in liquid form. Many peoples on the northern and southern edge of the ancient world (especially the Thracians and Scythians but also the Lusitanians, Gauls, Germanic tribes and Arabs) used butter intensively as cooking fat and ointment (Plin. HN 28,133f.). In the Mediterranean Sea area, people preferred to use olive oil instead, the cost of …

Muria

(190 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek ἅλμη/ hálmē). Brine used from the earliest Roman period (Fest. 141) to conserve perishable foodstuffs. Although natural brine was also used (Plin. HN 31,83), muria was predominantly mixed from salt and water. To the spicier muria dura (Colum. 12,6) fish, meat, vegetables and fruit were added and eaten when marinated ( salsamenta: Plin. HN 31,83). A milder muria, occasionally mixed with honey (Colum. 12,25,3) was added to wine and milk products to extend their durability (Plin. HN 14,78). Muria was also considered a condiment in the narrower sense (Api…

Maiorinus

(114 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] Praefectus praetorio Orientis under Constantius II. Life and career are poorly attested. Coming from a curial family from the East, he had a meteoric rise in his career (Lib. Ep. 1510) which reached its peak with the praetorian prefecture. He presumably held this office between the summer of 344 and 28 July AD 346 (Cod. Theod. 11,22,1: first certain evidence for his supposed successor Flavius Philippus) with his headquarters in Antioch [1]. He died shortly before 357 (Lib. Ep. 560) …

Flour

(340 words)

Author(s): Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] (Greek ἄλευρον/ áleuron, Lat. farina). Fine-grained to powdery product resulting from grinding, crushing or pounding certain grains or seeds. The most important source product in the Greek period was barley (Ath. 3,111e-112a) and in the Roman period it was wheat (Plin. HN 18,74; 85-90); depending on the region, flour was also made from millet (Gal. De alimentorum facultatibus 1,15) and rye (Plin. HN 18,141) and in areas with no grain cultivation or in times of emergency even from starch-containing fruits such as beans or acorns (Plin. HN 16,15; 18,117). Flour was diff…

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…

Beer

(444 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the ancient Orient, beer was a well-known and popular drink that had been brewed in Mesopotamia and Egypt since the end of the 4th millennium BC at the latest. The basic ingredient in manufacture was above all barley malt [1. 322-329], other ingredients were emmer and sesame. In the 1st millennium BC a type of date beer became important in Babylon [2.155-183]. In Egypt texts from the older period mention not just date beer but also carob tree beer and poppy beer.…

Olybrius

(207 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
Late antique personal name in the Anicii family: Anicius [II 13] Hermogenianus O. ( cos. in AD 395), Q. Clodius Hermogenianus O. [1] ( cos. in 379), the emperor of the year 472, Anicius [II 15] O. and Flavius Anicius O. ( cos. in 526). Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) [German version] [1] Q. Clodius Hermogenianus O. Official, 4th cent. AD Praefectus praetorio Orientis from AD 378 to 379. A Christian from a respected family, presumably from the city of Rome, O. had a brilliant career (CIL VI 1714). After he had been governor of Campania he probably became pr…

Modestus

(247 words)

Author(s): Franke, Thomas (Bochum) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] [1] Sab(inius?) M. Governor of the province of  Moesia inferior in AD 241, documented by coins of the city of Nicopolis [1. 504-518 nos. 2040-2107]. Accordingly he must previously have held the office of suffect consul. Franke, Thomas (Bochum) Bibliography 1 F. Imhoof-Blumer (ed.), Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, vol. 1, 1898. PIR S 2  A. Stein, Die Legaten von Moesien, 1940, 100f. [German version] [2] Flavius Domitius M. Praefectus praetorio Orientis, from 369/370 to 378 (?) AD. Praefectus praetorio Orientis from AD 369/370 to 378 (?). Originally f…

Bread

(703 words)

Author(s): Stol, Marten (Leiden) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] A. Ancient East In the Ancient East bread was a staple form of  nutrition. As far as may be judged from epigraphical and archaeological evidence,  barley was the principal bread grain in Mesopotamia from the 3rd millennium,  emmer and  wheat being less important. In Asia Minor, Syria/Palestine and Egypt wheat seems to have played a greater role than barley. Institutional establishments looked after their members and the workforce in their employ with regular rations of bread grain (e…

Honey

(460 words)

Author(s): Englund, Robert K. (Berlin) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
(μέλι: méli, Latin mel). [German version] I. Ancient Orient In the ancient Orient and Egypt not always terminologically distinguished from types of syrup (date or fig). With a value of a shekel of silver for 1-2 litres (21st cent. BC), honey was one of the most valuable foods in Mesopotamia and was the entitlement particularly of the gods (sacrifices) and high officials. Literary tradition regards honey as a delicacy especially together with the highly regarded butter oil (‘milk and honey’). Englund, Robert K. (Berlin) Bibliography H. A. Hoffner, Alimenta Hethaeorum, 1974, 123 J. Lec…

Cheese

(552 words)

Author(s): Englund, Robert K. (Berlin) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Cheese, together with grain and fish, was one of the most important foods for the people of the ancient Orient. After the oil in the butter (Sumer. ì.nun, Akkad. ḫimētu) had been completely removed, the buttermilk was processed into a fat-free cheese that therefore kept well for a long time; it is similar to the hard cheese called kašk in the modern Middle East. Cheese was also mixed with various ingredients (grain, dates, wine and numerous spices) and then brought as an offering to the gods, often, as is to be expected, t…
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