Food and Drink in Antiquity: Readings from the Greco-Roman World, A Sourcebook (Bloomsbury Sources in Ancient History)

Food and Drink in Antiquity: Readings from the Greco-Roman World, A Sourcebook (Bloomsbury Sources in Ancient History)

John F. Donahue

Language: English

Pages: 310

ISBN: 2:00303387

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Interest in food and drink as an academic discipline has been growing significantly in recent years.

This sourcebook is a unique asset to many courses on food as it offers a thematic approach to eating and drinking in antiquity. For classics courses focusing on ancient social history to introductory courses on the history of food and drink, as well as those offerings with a strong sociological or anthropological approach this volume provides an unparalleled compilation of essential source material.

The chronological scope of the excerpts extends from Homer in the Eighth Century BCE to the Roman emperor Constantine in the Fourth Century CE. Each thematic chapter consists of an introduction along with a bibliography of suggested readings. Translated excerpts are then presented accompanied by an explanatory background paragraph identifying the author and context of each passage.

Most of the evidence is literary, but additional sources - inscriptional, legal and religious - are also included.

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be so! But your elaborate dishes and rich sauces forbid the gods from listening to you, and they stay the hand of Jupiter. Longing to pile up riches, you slay an ox and summon Mercury with a liver. “Grant that my household gods may prosper me, grant me a flock and offspring for the herds!” But how can that happen, poor fool, when the entrails of so many heifers of yours melt away in the flames? Yet on the fellow goes with his entrails and his rich sacrificial cakes, intent upon winning: “Now my

Orion and Sirius come into the middle of the heavens, and rosy-fingered Dawn looks upon Arcturus,13 then, oh Perses, pluck off all the grape clusters and bring them home. For ten days and nights set them out in the sun, then cover them up in the shade for five, and on the sixth day draw off into vats the gift of much-cheering Dionysius. The task of tending vines was one of the most labor-intensive activities of ancient agriculture. The Greek historian Xenophon described the vine planting process

appeal as dairy products. Figs Especially valued was the fig. As a standard foodstuff of the ancient Mediterranean diet, figs produced more calories per unit area than any other crop in antiquity. Dried figs, which receive the most attention in the sources, were more flavorful than fresh figs and served as an important source of dietary sugar, most commonly as a dessert or as a sweetener in cakes (Dalby 2003, s.v. “fig”). Furthermore, because of their high sugar content, dried figs could keep

100 gold couches with feet shaped like sphinxes; the apse facing the entrance was left open. Purple double-pile carpets of first-quality wool were spread on the couches, and quilts of many colors, splendid in workmanship, were on top of these. Smooth Persian carpets with beautiful designs of living creatures woven into them covered the space in the middle where people walked around. Gold tripods, 200 in number, were set beside the guests on silver stands, so that there would be two per couch;

came home from the country. As I knew that, arriving at that particular time, he would find no one at home, I invited him to dinner. We came to my house, climbed to the upper room, and ate dinner. When he had eaten well, he left me and departed; I went to bed. Taverns and inns The most popular Italian equivalent of the simple Greek house was the multistory urban tenement building (insula) from Rome and Ostia. The literary

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