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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…

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…

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…

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  …

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…

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…
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