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Lecture 9

CLA233 Lecture 9 Notes

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Michael J.Dewar

CLA233 Lecture 9 Notes Food - annona – “big harvest” - “panem et circenses” – quote by Juvenal meaning “bread and circuses” when describing the degeneration of Roman society because the two are all the people care about - garum liquamen – fermented fish - limited in food by products and geography - diet of the poor – generally limited – meat and protein was a problem – not eater very often – protein mainly from legumes, such as chickpeas - protein came from fish - pigs were kept for their food more than cattle – cattle were larger and more difficult to feed - chickens were bred more for their eggs than for meat - birds – some people spent their lives trapping small birds – a delicacy - rich people – access to much more – emphasis often on the exotic – very rare foods were in high demand - even the rich had quite a restricted diet - bread was the main carbohydrate - poorer – more difficult to obtain proteins – mainly a bread-based diet - produced markets from grown vegetables - cities – people had more vitamin deficiency than those in the country - festivals – more variety of food - emperor’s birthday – day when he came to power – emperor was expected to provide a banquet for all special occasions - sacrifice cattle for the gods – symbolic because the people ate the meat - wine, fruit, sweet meats were provided at banquets - issue of health – malnutrition and starvation a much greater worry - however the Romans were fairly healthy – no sugar – honey was the only sweetener - enormous pressure on bones due to a life of hard labour – but very good teeth - cleaned teeth with twigs - no tobacco – no smoking induced lung cancer - very fibre-based diet - the rich were expected to provide lavish banquets – convention that everyone was equal – share in rituals of eating - emperor was the main benefactor – great success in which leader provided for his people - abundant harvest - with Egyptians- taxation in wheat - barley – commonly used by poor - high quality wheat was used by the rich - annona – big year/season harvest” – applied to the department of Roman civil service - annona – major investment of imperil wealth – people went to be given a sack of wheat - emperor gave out high quality white bread at annona stations - distribution – from emperor to Roman male citizens – mark of standing in Roman society - amount provided – more than a normal nuclear family would need – but had to feed slaves as well - removal of fear of starvation – steady provision of bread distribution - olive oil added to distributions – for food, baths, clay lamps - meat and fruits distributed on special occasions - occasions such as festival in winter – distribute dried fruits, etc. – when citizens would not have enough stored for food - criticisms of Juvenal – criticized that Romans only care about “panem et circenses” – bread and circuses - at ganus – provide entertainment • chariot races • treats – people handing out loaves of bread • regularly had lotteries – gave out tokens – hand in the tokens and receive something for it - main sweetener of honey – best honey was from Attica – flavoured with thyme – what the bees collected pollen from - Romans had a taste for spices - Sri Lanka – main spice trader – Romans paid in gold coins - garum liquamen – pickled fish base – liquid form of garum – fermented fish - Romans enjoyed a strong fish taste mixed with sweets - lamb cooked in garum liquamen with sweet flavours added - strict hierarchy in eating Peasant Food at its Very Best - Roman custom – when travellers appeared at door, took them in and fed them - travellers under protection of Jupiter – is taken seriously, the travellers were fed well - ideal peasant food – best to offer - eating olives is pure and innocent – way of saying that it is expected that poor people are not corrupted by the wickedness of the rich - Romans loved the sensation of smell – drinking wine experience added by scented glasses - very vegetarian based
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