Classical Rome

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Roman gastronomy, or gluttony, impresses all who read the literature of the great Mediterranean empire of the past. Feasting was a central feature of its society. The cuisine of Rome, much influenced by that of classical Greece and the Near East, is the direct ancestor of the national cuisines of most of W. Europe. It can be reconstructed through descriptions in Latin literature, through ancient scientific and technical writings—including the recipe book known as Apicius—and through archaeology. Notable here are the finds at Pompeii, the city buried in AD 79 by the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius.