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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Athenaeus, formally Athenaeus of Naucratis, a Greek city in Egypt, produced his massive Deipnosophists (Learned Banqueters) in 15 books sometime around 200 c.e. Nominally an account of the food and wine consumed and the topics discussed at a series of elaborate dinner parties in Rome, this work is, in fact, an antiquarian history of luxury, and it is among the most important sources for ancient banqueting and culinary practices, as well as for otherwise lost Greek literary material of every sort. The overall structure of the Deipnosophists imitates that of an individual dinner (deipnon) and the drinking party (symposion) that followed it. Baked bread (artos) and unbaked barley cakes (maza), which were consumed as part of the main meal, are accordingly discussed early on, whereas cakes and specialty sweets are treated toward the end of the work.