Cuisine and the
Articles from the
Oxford Classical Dictionary
food & drink | food supply | water | water supply | agora | cakes | cereals | climate | cookery | dancing | dining-rooms | elegy | famine | fasting | fig | fire | fishing | games | granaries | honey | household | houses | love & friendship | lyric | markets & fairs | meals | milk | mills | music | olive | painting | pastoralism | pottery | sanitation | symposium | symposium literature | trade | traders | wine
The Food History Reader: Primary Sources
With the proliferation of food history courses and avid interest among scholars and the general public, the need for a solid comprehensive collection of key primary texts about food of the past is urgent. This collection spans the globe from classical antiquity to the present, offering substantive selections from cookbooks, fiction, gastronomic and dietary treatises and a wide range of food writing. Offering a solid introduction to each period with extensive commentary and suggestions for interpretive strategies, this reader provides extracts undigested, for the student who needs immediate and direct contact with the ideas of the past. Readings illustrate the various ways religion, politics, social structure, health and agricultural policy shaped what people ate in the past and offer instructive ways to think about our own food systems and how they have been shaped by historical forces.
In ancient cities, 'daily bread' was a subject of prayer. Grain-harvests could be fickle, but a regular supply was a matter of survival. Food-shortage could lead to social unrest, and long-term solutions required all kinds of political an institutional resources from the authorities. Yet feeding the city was not just a problem. It was an opportunity for the political management of the poor, for competitive display among the elite, and for making money. The essays in this volume present cities and societies which responded to these challenges in very different ways, from the agro-towns in which the citizens commuted to their fields to the market-supplied towns in which an urban proletariat worked for their bread. The articles debate the food supply through all its aspects, economic, demographic, political and institutional to give a new perspective on this debate at the heart of our understandings of ancient society.
This work presents an encyclopedic treatment of the magic properties and uses of food by mortals and immortals alike, from the pages of myth and legend. Now, for the first time, the magic properties and uses of food by both mortals and immortals as represented in the world's myths and legends are brought together and explained. This A–Z volume is filled with an abundance of exotic lore and legend. It features two unique indexes -- one listing food by function, such as fertility or immortality, and one by ceremony, such as harvest or burial --- and includes an introduction, illustrations, and bibliography.
Combining the best of memoir, travel literature, and food writing, Christopher Bakken delves into one of the most underappreciated cuisines in Europe in this rollicking celebration of the Greek table. He explores the traditions and history behind eight elements of Greek cuisine―olives, bread, fish, cheese, beans, wine, meat, and honey―and journeys through the country searching for the best examples of each. He picks olives on Thasos, bakes bread on Crete, eats thyme honey from Kythira with one of Greece’s greatest poets, and learns why Naxos is the best place for cheese in the Cyclades. Working with local cooks and artisans, he offers an intimate look at traditional village life, while honoring the conversations, friendships, and leisurely ceremonies of dining around which Hellenic culture has revolved for thousands of years. A hymn to slow food and to seasonal and sustainable cuisine, this work is a lyrical celebration of Greece, where such concepts have always been a simple part of living and eating well.
This book looks at the way in which food was employed in Greek and Roman literature to impart identity, whether social, individual, religious or ethnic. In many instances these markers are laid down in the way that foods were restricted, in other words by looking at the negatives instead of the positives of what was consumed. Michael Beer looks at several aspects of food restriction in antiquity, for example, the way in which they eschewed excess and glorified the simple diet; the way in which Jewish dietary restriction identified that nation under the Empire; the way in which Pythagoreans denied themselves meat (and beans); and the way in which the poor were restricted by economic reality from enjoying the full range of foods. These topics allow him to look at important aspects of Graeco-Roman social attitudes. For example, republic virtue, imperial laxity, Homeric and Spartan military valour, social control through sumptuary laws, and answers to excessive drinking. He also looks closely at the inherent divide of the Roman world between the twin centres of Greece and Rome and how it is expressed in food and its consumption.
Olive trees under cultivation in Croatia. Source: Unsplash. Creator: David Boca. License: Unsplash license.
Following on from the success of the first edition, Coveney traces our complex relationship with food and eating and our preoccupation with diet, self-discipline and food guilt. Using our current fascination with health and nutrition, he explores why our appetite for food pleasures makes us feel anxious. This up-to-date edition includes an examination of how our current obsession with body size, especially fatness, drives a national and international panic about the obesity ‘epidemic’. Focusing on how our food anxieties have stemmed from social, political and religious problems in Western history, this work looks at: the ancient Greeks’ preoccupation with eating; early Christianity and the conflict between the pleasures of the flesh and spirituality; scientific developments in 18th- and 19th-century Europe and our current knowledge of food; the social organization of food in the modern home, based on real interviews; and the obesity ‘epidemic’ and its association with moral degeneration. Based on the work of Michel Foucault, this fresh and updated edition explains how a rationalization of food choice – so apparent in current programmes on nutrition and health – can be traced through a genealogy of historical social imperatives and moral panics. This book is essential reading for those studying nutrition, public health, sociology of health and illness and sociology of the body.
A much welcomed synthesis on ancient food production and processing, presenting updated discussions of the kinds of subjects addressed in R. Forbes' Studies in Ancient Technology. Here Curtis draws on archaeological, epigraphic, literary, art historical and scientific evidence in his discussion of the different technologies available to ancient societies, their development and the impact they had on society. This study begins with the Prehistoric period and continues through Egypt and the Near East, the Greek World (from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period) to Rome and the Roman Empire. Subjects include milling, butchery, fishing, storage, the processing of cereals, grain, the production of beer, wine, oil, dairy products and so forth. Each chapter has a summary of the major technological innovations of the cultures discussed, providing a rapid overview of the subject.
Cheese is one of the most ancient of civilized foods and one of the most nourishing. Despite its many uses and variations, there has never been a global history of cheese, but here at last is a succinct, authoritative account, revealing how cheese was invented and where, when and even why. In bite-sized chapters, well-known food historian Andrew Dalby tells the true and savoury story of cheese, from its prehistoric invention to its modern rebirth. Here you will find the most ancient cheese appellations, the first written description of the cheese-making process, a list of the luxury cheeses of classical Rome, the medieval rule-of-thumb for identifying good cheese, and the story of how loyal cheese lover Samuel Pepys saved his parmesan from the Great Fire of London. Dalby reveals that cheese is one of the most ancient of civilized foods. He suggests that our passion for cheese may even lie behind the early establishment of global trade, and asks in conclusion whether real cheese can survive the current imperative to globalize, pasteurize and sterilize our food. Packed with entertaining cheese facts, anecdotes and images, the work also features a selection of historic recipes.
Originally published in 1996, this was the first book about ancient dining to draw from both Greek and Roman writings. Each chapter describes a different social gathering and the food that might have been served on such an occasion. From a menu inspired by Homer’s Odyssey in 700 BCE, to the offerings at a typical Greek symposium or drinking party in fourth century Athens, to the special treats at a Macedonian wedding feast, the recipes presented here suggest the true variety of food and social life in the ancient Mediterranean. Fifty recipes from the ancient world are presented in a fresh, new design alongside reproductions of ancient wall paintings, mosaics, vases, and household objects. Enjoy Parthian chicken, fish in coriander sauce, squash Alexandria-style, cabbage the Athenian way, pancakes with honey and sesame seeds, and many more tasty dishes. Each original recipe is followed by a version for today’s cook.
Cheese, wine, honey and olive oil -- four of Greece's best known contributions to culinary culture -- were already well known four thousand years ago. Remains of honeycombs and of cheeses have been found under the volcanic ash of the Santorini eruption of 1627 BC. Over the millennia, Greek food diversified and absorbed neighbouring traditions, yet retained its own distinctive character. In this work, Andrew Dalby provides the first serious social history of Greek food. He begins with the tunny fishers of the neolithic age, and traces the story through the repertoire of classical Greece, the reputations of Lydia for luxury and of Sicily and South Italy for sybaritism, to the Imperial synthesis of varying traditions, with a look forward to the Byzantine cuisine and the development of the modern Greek menu. The apples of the Hesperides turn out to be lemons, and great favour attaches to Byzantine biscuits. Fully documented and comprehensively illustrated, scholarly yet immensely readable, this book demonstrates the social construction placed upon different types of food at different periods (was fish a luxury item in classical Athens, though disdained by Homeric heroes?). It places diet in an economic and agricultural context; and it provides a history of mentalities in relation to a subject which no human being can ignore.
Below: Terracotta fish-plate; ca. 350-325 BCE. Two bream and a torpedo fish are featured, with two scallops, a mussel, murex, and shrimp in the background.
Source/creator: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. License: CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
What do we think about when we think about Greek food? For many, it is the meze and the traditional plates of a Greek island taverna at the height of summer. In this book, Andrew and Rachel Dalby take us into and beyond the taverna in our minds to offer us a unique and comprehensive history of the foods of Greece. Greek food is brimming with thousands of years of history, lore, and culture. The country has one of the most varied landscapes of Europe, where steep mountains, low-lying plains, rocky islands, and crystal-blue seas jostle one another and produce food and wine of immense quality and distinctive taste. The book discusses how the land was settled, what was grown in different regions, and how certain fruits, herbs, and vegetables became a part of local cuisines. Moving through history from classical to modern, the book explores the country’s regional food identities as well as the export of Greek food to communities all over the world. The book culminates with a look at one of the most distinctive features of Greece’s food tradition: the country’s world-renowned hospitality. Illustrated throughout and featuring traditional recipes that blend historical and modern flavors, this is a mouth-watering account of a rich cuisine.
From Archaic Greece until the Late Roman Empire (c. 800 BCE to c. 500 CE), food was more than a physical necessity; it was a critical factor in politics, economics and culture. On the one hand, the Mediterranean landscape and climate encouraged particular crops – notably cereals, vines and olives – but, with the risks of crop failure ever-present, control of food resources was vital to economic and political power. On the other hand, diet and dining reflected complex social hierarchies and relationships. What was eaten, with whom and when was a fundamental part of the expression of one's role and place in society. In addition, symbolism and ritual suffused foodstuffs, their preparation and consumption. This work presents an overview of the period with essays on food production, food systems, food security, safety and crises, food and politics, eating out, professional cooking, kitchens and service work, family and domesticity, body and soul, representations of food, and developments in food production and consumption globally.
When did we first serve meals at regular hours? Why did we begin using individual plates and utensils to eat? When did "cuisine" become a concept and how did we come to judge food by its method of preparation, manner of consumption, and gastronomic merit. This book explores culinary evolution and eating habits from prehistoric times to the present, offering surprising insights into our social and agricultural practices, religious beliefs, and most unreflected habits. The volume dispels myths such as the tale that Marco Polo brought pasta to Europe from China, that the original recipe for chocolate contained chili instead of sugar, and more. As it builds its history, the text also reveals the dietary rules of the ancient Hebrews, the contributions of Arabic cookery to European cuisine, the table etiquette of the Middle Ages, and the evolution of beverage styles in early America. It concludes with a discussion on the McDonaldization of food and growing popularity of foreign foods today.
In the Greek Classical period, the symposium -- the social gathering at which male citizens gathered to drink wine and engage in conversation -- was held in a room called the andron. From couches set up around the perimeter, symposiasts looked inward to the room's center, which often was decorated with a pebble mosaic floor. These mosaics provided visual treats for the guests, presenting them with images of mythological scenes, exotic flora, dangerous beasts, hunting parties, or the spectre of Dionysos: the god of wine, riding in his chariot or on the back of a panther. In this book, Hallie M. Franks takes as her subject these mosaics and the context of their viewing. Relying on discourses in the sociology and anthropology of space, she presents an innovative new interpretation of the mosaic imagery as an active contributor to the symposium as a metaphorical experience. Franks argues that the images on mosaic floors, combined with the ritualized circling of the wine cup and the physiological reaction to wine during the symposium, would have called to mind other images, spaces, or experiences, and in doing so, prompted drinkers to reimagine the symposium as another kind of event -- a nautical voyage, a journey to a foreign land, the circling heavens or a choral dance, or the luxury of an abundant past. Such spatial metaphors helped to forge the intimate bonds of friendship that are the ideal result of the symposium and that make up the political and social fabric of the Greek polis.
This richly illustrated book is the first to apply the discoveries of the new generation of food historians to the pleasures of dining and the culinary accomplishments of diverse civilizations, past and present. Editor Paul Freedman has gathered essays by French, German, Belgian, American, and British historians to present a comprehensive, chronological history of taste from prehistory to the present day. The authors explore the early repertoire of sweet tastes; the distinctive contributions made by classical antiquity and China; the subtle, sophisticated, and varied group of food customs created by the Islamic civilizations of Iberia, the Arabian desert, Persia, and Byzantium; the magnificent cuisine of the Middle Ages, influenced by Rome and adapted from Islamic Spain, Africa, and the Middle East; the decisive break with highly spiced food traditions after the Renaissance and the new focus on primary ingredients and products from the New World; French cuisine's rise to dominance in Europe and America; the evolution of modern restaurant dining, modern agriculture, and technological developments; and today's tastes, which employ few rules and exhibit a glorious eclecticism. The result is the enthralling story not only of what sustains us but also of what makes us feel alive.
This handsome volume presents an innovative look at the imagery of libations, the most commonly depicted ritual in ancient Greece, and how it engaged viewers in religious performance. In a libation, liquid—water, wine, milk, oil, or honey—was poured from a vessel such as a jug or a bowl onto the ground, an altar, or another surface. Libations were made on occasions like banquets, sacrifices, oath-taking, departures to war, and visitations to tombs, and their iconography provides essential insight into religious and social life in 5th-century BC Athens. Scenes depicting the ritual often involved beholders directly—a statue’s gaze might establish the onlooker as a fellow participant, or painted vases could draw parallels between human practices and acts of gods or heroes. Beautifully illustrated with a broad range of examples, including the Caryatids at the Acropolis, the Parthenon Frieze, Attic red-figure pottery, and funerary sculpture, this important book demonstrates the power of Greek art to transcend the boundaries between visual representation and everyday experience.
The symposion was a key cultural phenomenon in ancient Greece. This book investigates its place in ancient Greek society and thought by exploring the rhetorical dynamics of its representations in literature and art. Across genres, individual Greeks constructed visions of the party and its performances that offered persuasive understandings of the event and its participants. Sympotic representations thus communicated ideas which, set within broader cultural conversations, could possess a discursive edge. Hence, at the symposion, sympotic styles and identities might be promoted, critiqued and challenged. In the public imagination, the ethics of Greeks and foreigners might be interrogated and political attitudes intimated. Symposia might be suborned into historical narratives about struggles for power. And for philosophers, writing a Symposium was itself a rhetorical act. Investigating the symposion's discursive potential enhances understanding of how the Greeks experienced and conceptualized the symposion and demonstrates its contribution to the Greek thought world.
Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization
Behind every traditional type of cheese there is a fascinating story. By examining the role of the cheesemaker throughout world history and by understanding a few basic principles of cheese science and technology, we can see how different cheeses have been shaped by and tailored to their surrounding environment, as well as defined by their social and cultural context. This book endeavors to advance our appreciation of cheese origins by viewing human history through the eyes of a cheese scientist. There is also a larger story to be told, a grand narrative that binds all cheeses together into a single history that started with the discovery of cheese making and that is still unfolding to this day. This book reconstructs that 9000-year story based on the often fragmentary information that we have available. This work embarks on a journey that begins in the Neolithic Age and winds its way through the ensuing centuries to the present. This tour through cheese history intersects with some of the pivotal periods in human prehistory and ancient, classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern history that have shaped western civilization, for these periods also shaped the lives of cheesemakers and the diverse cheeses that they developed. The book offers a useful lens through which to view our twenty-first century attitudes toward cheese that we have inherited from our past, and our attitudes about the food system more broadly. This refreshingly original book will appeal to anyone who loves history, food, and especially good cheese.
Below: Terracotta vase from ca. 420 BCE with a symposium scene: banqueters, reclining and wearing wreaths, play the game known as kottabos, while a flute-girl also wearing a wreath plays the aulos. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Creator: Marie-Lan Nguyen. License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic.
Olives are at once a mythical food – bringing to mind scenes from Ancient Rome and the Bible – and an everyday one, given the ubiquity of olive oil in contemporary diets. In this original, succinct and engaging history Fabrizia Lanza traces the olive’s roots from antiquity, when olive oil was exalted for ritual purposes and used to anoint kings and athletes; to the sixteenth century, when Europeans brought the olive to the New World; to the present day, when the fruit and its oil have successfully conquered our palates, in part thanks to waves of global immigration and the popularity of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Lanza describes the role that olive trees, olives and their oil have played in myths, legends and literature, as well as in the everyday lives of people throughout the Mediterranean. A global selection of recipes featuring olives and olive oil showcases the fruit’s culinary diversity. Featuring a wealth of historical detail, this book will be a popular addition to all food lovers’ bookshelves.
The Aesthetics of the Greek Banquet: Images of Wine and Ritual
François Lissarrague, trans. Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, 2014
In deepening our understanding of the symposium in ancient Greece, this book embodies the wit and play of the images it explains: those decorating Athenian drinking vessels from the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The vases used at banquets often depict the actual drinkers who commissioned their production and convey the flowing together of wine, poetry, music, games, flirtation, and other elements that formed the complex structure of the banquet itself. A close reading of the objects handled by drinkers in the images reveals various metaphors, particularly that of wine as sea, all expressing a wide range of attitudes toward an ambiguous substance that brings cheer but may also cause harm. Not only does this work offer an anthropological view of ancient Greece, but it explores a precise iconographic system. In so doing it will encourage and enrich further reflection on the role of the image in a given culture.
This book presents the first well-preserved set of sympotic pottery which served a Late Archaic house in the Athenian Agora. The deposit contains household and fine-ware pottery, nearly all the figured pieces of which are forms associated with communal drinking. Since it comes from a single house, the pottery also reflects purchasing patterns and thematic preferences of the homeowner. The multifaceted approach adopted in this book shows that meaning and use are inherently related, and that through archaeology one can restore a context of use for a class of objects frequently studied in isolation.
Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture
The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive account of the earliest stages of the history and prehistory of viniculture, which extends back into the Neolithic period and beyond. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, Ancient Wine opens up whole new chapters in the fascinating story of wine by drawing on recent archaeological discoveries, molecular and DNA sleuthing, and the writings and art of ancient peoples. In a new afterword, the author discusses exciting recent developments in the understanding of ancient wine, including a new theory of how viniculture came to central and northern Europe.
An informative and original exploration of how we have consumed water throughout history and our efforts to make it safe and palatable. Ian Miller describes how water was used for medicinal purposes and how it became commercialized over the past two centuries, leading to the bottled mineral water widely available today. He also reminds us how people still encounter problems accessing clean drinking water. A valuable new account of a substance that seems prosaic while you have it, but the most precious thing in the world when you do not.
Symposion is the Greek word for 'drinking together' -- the social institution of reclining on couches and enjoying the pleasures of wine, sex, and song. Although the Greeks learned the rituals of communal drinking from the Near East, they turned them into a way of life entirely their own, such that for the male revellers they were elevated into a conception of euphrosyne (bliss), the highest form of pleasure. The symposion became a focal point of Greek aristocratic art and culture in the archaic age, proclaimed in poetry and the visual arts, while its structures affected the Greek attitude to life in all its aspects, from the perception of politics, society, philosophy, and psychology, to attitudes towards sexuality, death, and religion. Even when the symposion began to lose its dominance in the classical democratic city state, it was never abandoned, but continued throughout the Hellenistic age and was transmitted through trade and cultural contact to the Etruscans, the Romans, and throughout the Mediterranean. One of the longest surviving works from antiquity is an encyclopaedia of Greek drinking customs compiled in the third century AD, and we can still trace the remnants of this sympotic culture today: the story of Greek pleasure thus lies both at the heart of antiquity and of the western history and conception of pleasure, and even now continues to resonate down the ages. Oswyn Murray's research on ancient Greek drinking customs, beginning in 1983, ignited a major new field of research in archaeology, art history, Greek literature, and Greek history and established him as an expert in the field. This volume consolidates his unrivalled contribution by gathering together the numerous essays on sympotic subjects that he has written over a span of thirty years, and charting half a lifetime of thought on a theme on which he has had a shaping influence.
Hamburgers, pot roast, stew, steak, brisket—these mouthwatering dishes all have cows in common. But while the answer to the question, “Where’s the beef?” may be, “everywhere,” links to obesity and heart disease, mad-cow disease, and global warming have caused consumers to turn a suspicious eye onto the ubiquitous meat. Arguing that beef farming, cooking, and eating is found in virtually every country, Beef delves into the social, cultural, and economic factors that have shaped the production and consumption of beef throughout history. Lorna Piatti-Farnell shows how the class status of beef has changed over time, revealing that the meat that was once the main component in everyday stews is today showcased in elaborate dishes by five-star chefs. She considers the place beef has occupied in art, literature, and historical cookbooks, while also paying attention to the ethical issues in beef production and contemplating its future. Featuring images of beef in art and cuisine and palate-pleasing recipes from around the world, Beef will appeal to the taste buds of amateur grillers and iron chefs alike.
Bronze serving-plate with winged horses; ca. 2nd half of 6th c. BCE. Source/creator: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
License: CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
No creature has provided man with so much wholesome food as the honey bee. Equally impressive is the number of beliefs and superstitions the industrious insect has inspired. Its honey, which was known to the ancient Greeks as the “food of the Gods,” played an important role in early religious rites and was also mentioned in the folklore of many peoples. Hilda Ransome's well-documented and copiously illustrated study of bees focuses on this valuable byproduct of nature and its creator -- the "sacred" bee. Chapters cover the folklore of bees and bee culture -- from Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Hittite, and other ancient sources as well as practices in modern England, France, and Central Europe. Thirty-five plates of rare black-and-white illustrations depict bees, hives, and beekeepers as they appear in ancient paintings and sculpture, on coins, jewelry, and Mayan glyphs; and carved into African tree trunks. Folk stories from Finland and the bee in America are also described. Hailed by The New York Times as possessing an "oddity, beauty, and broad scholarly interest," this unusual book will attract a wide audience -- nature lovers and folklore enthusiasts included.
What role does food play in the shaping of humanity? Is sharing a good meal with friends and family an experience of life at its best, or is food merely a burdensome necessity? David Roochnik explores these questions by discussing classical works of Greek literature and philosophy in which food and drink play an important role. With thoughts on Homer's Odyssey, Euripides' Bacchae, Plato's philosopher kings and Dionysian intoxication, Roochnik shows how foregrounding food in philosophy can open up new ways of understanding these thinkers and their approaches to the purpose and meaning of life. The book features philosophical explanation interspersed with reflections from the author on cooking, eating, drinking and sharing meals, making it important reading for students of philosophy, classical studies, and food studies.
It is difficult to think of a food more basic, more essential, and more universal than bread. Common to the diets of both the rich and the poor, bread is one of our oldest foods. Loaves and rolls have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and wheat has been found in pits where human settlements flourished 8,000 years ago. Many anthropologists argue that the ability to sow and reap cereals, the grains necessary for making bread, could be one of the main reasons why man settled in communities, and even today the concept of “breaking bread together” is a lasting symbol of the uniting power of a meal. This book is an innovative mix of traditional history, cultural history, travelogue, and cookbook. William Rubel begins with the amazing invention of bread approximately 20,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent and ends by speculating on the ways in which cultural forces and advances in biotechnology may influence the development of bread in the twenty-first century. Rubel shows how simple choices, may be responsible for the widespread preference for wheat over other bread grains and for the millennia-old association of elite dining with white bread. He even provides an analysis of the different components of bread, such as crust and crumb, so that readers may better understand the breads they buy. With many recipes integrated with the text and a glossary covering one hundred breads, Bread goes well beyond the simple choice of white or wheat. Here, general readers will find an approachable introduction to the history of bread and to the many forms that bread takes throughout the world, and bread bakers will discover a history of the craft and new ways of thinking that will inspire experimentation.
Throughout history, food has done more than simply provide sustenance. It has acted as a tool of social transformation, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is an account of how food has helped to shape and transform societies around the world, from the emergence of farming in China by 7,500 BCE to today's use of sugar cane and corn to make ethanol. Food has been a kind of technology, a tool that has changed the course of human progress. It helped to found, structure, and connect together civilizations worldwide, and to build empires and bring about a surge in economic development through industrialization. Food has been employed as a military and ideological weapon. And today, in the culmination of a process that has been going on for thousands of years, the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development and the adoption of new technologies. Drawing from many fields including genetics, archaeology, anthropology, ethno-botany and economics, the story of these food-driven transformations is a fully satisfying account of the whole of human history.
The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet
In this work, Wecowski offers a comprehensive account of the origins of the symposion and its close relationship with the rise of the Greek city-state or polis. Broadly defined as a culture-oriented aristocratic banquet, the symposion -- which literally means 'drinking together' -- was a nocturnal wine party held by Greek aristocrats from Homer to Alexander the Great. Its distinctive feature was the crucial importance of diverse cultural competitions, including improvising convivial poetry, among the guests. Cultural skills and abilities were a prerequisite in order for one to be included in elite drinking circles, and, as such, the symposion served as a forum for the natural selection of Greek aristocracy.
A Companion to Food in the Ancient World
John Wilkins & Robin Nadeau, 2015
This book presents a comprehensive overview of the cultural aspects relating to the production, preparation, and consumption of food and drink in antiquity. It provides an up-to-date overview of the study of food in the ancient world; addresses all aspects of food production, distribution, preparation, and consumption during antiquity; features original scholarship from some of the most influential North American and European specialists in Classical history, ancient history, and archaeology; covers a wide geographical range from Britain to ancient Asia, including Egypt and Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, regions surrounding the Black Sea, and China; and considers the relationships of food in relation to ancient diet, nutrition, philosophy, gender, class, religion, and more.
The subject of this work is the central role that wine plays in the literature, history and religion of classical and mediaeval Europe. It examines myths and legends about the origins of viticulture; great drinkers; women and wine; the mixing of wine and water; and ideas of "old" and "new" wine. Although the final chapter and the epilogue look at the development of methods of storage, from classical amphora to modern bottle, the book is generally arranged thematically rather than chronologically in a method based on close reading and rhetorical analysis. Wherever possible, sources are examined in their original language (mainly Greek and Latin) but English translations are supplied throughout, making this book accessible to both scholar and general reader.
Fresh bread awaits buyers at a bakery in Greece. Source: Unsplash. Creator: Angelo Pantazis. License: Unsplash license.