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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Food)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Moralia – collection of Plutarch’s texts

Plutarch of Chaeronea (c. 50 – c. 125 CE) is a Greek historian whose most famous work is the collection of lives of famous figures of the ancient world – the so-called Parallel Lives. His other speeches and contents, collected under the name of Moralia, have also survived to our times.

A Roman mosaic showing food

Frogs in world of ancient Greeks and Romans

Ancient Greeks and Romans identified frogs with harmony, fertility or debauchery and the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). Ancient writers devoted numerous texts to frogs, including “Batrachomyomachia”, which tells about the war of mice with frogs and is heroicomic. The authorship of this work is unknown, but Homer is considered the creator.

Roman terracotta frog

Bucellatum – Roman biscuit

The late-Roman Codex Theodosianus, which is a collection of Roman laws, mentions that a Roman soldier should be equipped with a buccellatum ac panem, vinum quoque atque acetum, sed et laridum, carnem verbecinam, or “hardtack and bread, wine too and vinegar, but also bacon and mutton”(VII.4.6). Hardtack, vinegar and mutton were to be enough for two days, and then the soldier was to use bread, wine and bacon.

Bucellatum - Roman biscuit

Cinnamon – valuable spice of antiquity

Cinnamon was a very well known spice in ancient times. Chinese and Egyptians, as well as Romans used it. In ancient times cinnamon and cassia were distinguished. Cinnamon, which was imported from Sri Lanka, was more respected and luxurious; cassia, in turn, was imported from Arabia and Ethiopia. Due to the fact that cinnamon was very expensive, only the richest could afford to import it. 

Cinnamon - a valuable spice of antiquity

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