CFP: Food and Drink in the Ancient World

Food and Drink in the Ancient World

Rutgers University, May 31 - June 1, 2019
Keynote Speaker: Kristina Killgrove, UNC Chapel Hill

Human activity is regulated by the constant need to acquire and consume food. Assuredly, food and drink played a significant role in antiquity just as now, and, since we all must eat and drink, we naturally become curious about what and how our distant ancestors ate and drank (Alcock 2006). The study of food and drink in the ancient world expanded tremendously in the 1990s and has continued to do so in the decades following (e.g. Davison 1997, Garnsey 1999, Wilkins and Hill 2006). This resultant trend is partly owed to a focus in research less preoccupied with the great deeds of great men, but one open to seeing antiquity as a period that offers a wealth of information on the varied life of the everyday world (Donahue 2015).

One does not need to look far in the corpus of classical literature to find mention of viands—there is animal sacrifice in the epics of Homer and Vergil, ever-flowing wine in the sympotic and love elegies of Alcaeus and Horace, conceited cooks in the comedies of Aristophanes and Plautus, and indulgence in the elite banquets of theDeipnosophistai and Satyrica. Beyond these portraits, there are ancient treatises specifically devoted to the topic of food and drink—both philosophical, such as Porphyry’s On Abstinence from Animal Food, and medical, e.g. Galen’s On the Power of Foods. In supplementation of investigations based on literary texts, archaeology has produced an immense amount of information for our understanding of consumption in antiquity. From grand tomb finds to the more ordinary discoveries of kitchen utensils, excavations have dramatically clarified our picture of ancient dining. Archaeozoology and archaeobotany have helped answer questions about ancient diets, as have the osteological analyses associated with bioarchaeology.

We invite abstracts for papers that explore the topic of food and drink through various disciplines, such as Classics, Archaeology, Anthropology, Food Science, and related fields. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

 -  The Ancient Mediterranean Diet

      -   Staple foods in the Mediterranean (wine, oil, and bread; cereals and legumes)

      -   Meat consumption, availability of seafood

      -   Specialized diets, medical approaches to nutrition (e.g. for the military, athletes, infirm)

 -  The Social Context of Food and Drink

      -   Sacrifices and offerings, public and communal meals

      -   Variations in diet based on social class

      -   Food supply and shortages, grain doles (e.g. frumentatioannona)

 -  Food as a Point of Contact, Creator of Identity, Delimitation of Otherness

      -   Import and markets, especially for spices and exotic ingredients

      -   Horticulture, soil chemistry, and cultivation of local specialties

      -   Taboos (e.g. beer and milk as barbarian; cannibalism as historical fact or political slander)

 -  Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

      -   Wine and viticulture (e.g. merummulsum, and conditum)

      -   Access to potable water, aqueducts

      -   Drinking vessels (e.g. kylikesskyphoikantharoi, and their images)

Our confirmed keynote speaker is Dr. Kristina Killgrove, teaching assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, research scholar at the Ronin Institute, and senior contributor to Forbes. Dr. Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist, will deliver a talk on Roman diet and its correlation to disease, climate change, and migration.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (excluding bibliography) by February 1st, 2019 to rutgers.foodanddrinkconference@gmail.com. Be sure to include any audio-visual needs in this email. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please include in the email your name, affiliation, and contact information. The abstract itself should be anonymous. Questions may be sent to the same email. Successful applicants should expect to hear back from conference organizers by February 28th, 2019. In addition to providing accommodation, we are looking forward to hosting an ‘ancient’ feast for the conference organizers and speakers.

(Written by Emmanuel Aprilakis and Nicole Nowbahar [PhD Students, Rutgers University])

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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It was recently reported that the EU, in the face of continuing economic hardship, may contemplate scaling back its rules on carbon emissions. Here in the United States climate change remains a political football, as established science is denied by politicians and every effort is made to obfuscate the facts and create the illusion of uncertainty where, in reality, none exists. As many of us endured the recent “polar vortex” that dropped temperatures across much of the country to Arctic levels (and stranded castaways at the Annual Meeting hotel), we were treated to the spectacle of pundits and other climate-change deniers scoffing at the notion of “global warming,” since it was cold outside. Indeed.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 01/27/2014 - 1:19pm by Garrett Fagan.

Classical studies as we know it today grew partly from the pressure of politics — from people’s need for a repertoire of words and images that could respond to the new political possibilities in early modern Europe.  When Coluccio Salutati studied Latin prose composition at his boarding school in Bologna, he focused on the art of letter-writing (the ars dictaminis), as generations of Italian boys had done before him.  But his teacher also lectured on Cicero and other classical authors — and as Salutati’s career took him to the chancellorships of Todi, Lucca, and Florence, his administrative vision was broadened by his knowledge of classical history and moral philosophy.  

Leonardo Bruni, Salutati’s disciple from Arezzo, drew on Athenian and Roman ideals to create a compelling picture of secular civic virtue that could absorb and transcend dominant Christian ideals. In his famous letter to his friend Francesco Vettori, Machiavelli took note of the “capital” he made from conversation with classical authors, which inspired him to write “a little work De Principatibus, where I delve as deeply as I can into reflections on this subject, debating what a principality is, of what kinds they are, how they are acquired, how they are maintained, why they are lost.”  

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 8:38pm by Joy Connolly.

One of the great things about working on a commentary is the random avenues it leads you down.  What starts out looking like an unpromising bit of text turns out to raise issues about the ancient world that you’d never have thought of. Before you know it, you’re discovering all kinds of obscure debates, bizarre ancient texts, and random pieces of trivia: it’s the scholarly equivalent of link-surfing on wikipedia.

My most recent experience of this began with one of Archilochus’ least known fragments, 217 West, 'with hair shorn away from the shoulders close to the skin'. Not a line that sets the world on fire, all things considered. It might well have been really interesting in its original context, but we don’t know anything about it,  since the line is quoted  simply as an example of accentuation. But where it led me to was the wonderful world of Greek haircuts, and in particular to two notorious haircuts of the modern era, the bowl cut and the mullet.

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 10:52am by Laura Swift.

Due to bad weather conditions, the University of Pennsylvania has suspended normal operations for January 22, 2014.  The APA Office will therefore be closed as well.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 9:43pm by Adam Blistein.

To assist developers of websites who wish to embed New Athena Unicode font, the APA has recently clarified that the Open Font License for New Athena Unicode applies to the woff format as well as to the TrueType format that is installed by users on their own computers.

In addition, all four styles of New Athena Unicode version 4.05 have been converted to woff format and are available for download at the GreekKeys site.

This new font format is for hosting on web servers. Users of GreekKeys 2008 for Mac OS X and Windows should continue to use the TrueType version (newathu.ttf) in their own work in word processors or other desktop applications.

For more information see:

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 10:17am by Information Architect.

The editors and editorial board of the APA’s outreach publication Amphora are very pleased to announce Amphora is making itself yet more available to its readership. In coming weeks, in addition to its annual print appearance, Amphora will also publish its articles and reviews via the APA’s blog.

Articles and reviews will each have a tag of Amphora, to help readers determine which content stream is which, as usual for the blog. Such tagged pieces will also appear in the print version of the publication, possibly with minor modification as called for by a switch from one format to another.

This improvement to the availability of Amphora means we will now be able to work with authors who might have a prospective contribution with digital elements – images, perhaps, or film or sound clips, or a desire for a discussion thread or feedback – as well as with contributors whose works benefit from a print treatment.

As always, your Amphora editors welcome submissions, including submissions that take advantage of this new presentation.  These are important days for outreach activity by our professional association, and the Amphora and Outreach committees believe this new format will enable us all to reach a yet-larger market.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 01/20/2014 - 8:43pm by Ellen Bauerle.

Individuals who registered in advance for the recent annual meeting in Chicago but who were unable to attend because their flights were canceled, and they could not obtain new reservations in time to attend the meeting should use this form to claim a refund for registration and publication fees.  As you will see, the form can be completed electronically.  We suggest that you save and rename the form, fill it out, and then submit it as an e-mail attachment to apameetings@sas.upenn.edu.  All claims must be received by January 31, 2014.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:08am by Adam Blistein.

In last month’s column, I offered an overview of the Greek myth of the Titanomachy, the war between the Olympian gods (Zeus, Hera, and all the rest) and the earlier generation, the Titans; and I discussed some recent media telling of the escape of the Titans from their underworld prison and a second Titanomachy: in Disney’s 1997 Hercules, in the 1998 straight-to-video Hercules and Xena animated movie, in the 2012 movie Wrath of the Titans (sequel to the remake of Clash of the Titans), in the 2013 movie Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, in the 2011 movie Immortals, and in the video game series God of War.

Today I finish the journey by exploring the ramifications of these stories and their thematic material.

There’s a pattern to these stories.  In all of them, the Titans are reawakened and they are opposed by a half-god protagonist: Perseus, Hercules, Percy, Theseus, Kratos (sort of).  In each, the protagonist has a history of family loss.  Perseus in Wrath of the Titans is a widower.  The Disney Hercules is estranged from his birth parents, while the Kevin Sorbo version lost his wife and children to a fireball sent by Hera.  Percy Jackson feels abandoned by his father Poseidon.  Theseus in Immortals endures the death of his mother during the film.  Kratos accidentally killed his family and is killed by his own father.  Most of the protagonists are soldiers — Percy Jackson, for instance, is a teenager at a “camp” filled with what are essentially child/teen demigod soldiers.  The Titans themselves are generally either monstrous or demonic in appearance, in contrast to the ancient Greek depictions of them as essentially anthropomorphic (as in the vase painting to the right).​

So what’s the meaning behind all these modern Titanomachies?  The surface explanation — that gods fighting gods makes for cool action scenes — isn’t all there is to it.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 01/10/2014 - 9:05am by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.

Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy is often characterised in terms of competitive individuals debating orally with one another in public arenas.  But it also developed over its long history a sense in which philosophers might look to an authority and offer to that authority explicit intellectual allegiance.  This is most obvious in the development of the philosophical ‘schools’ with agreed founders and canonical founding texts.  There also developed a tradition of commentary, interpretation, and discussion of texts—composed by ‘authorities’—which often became the focus of disagreement between members of the same school or movement and also useful targets for critics interested in attacking a whole tradition.  Discussing the meaning, force, and even the authorship itself of these texts became a mode of philosophical debate.

This international conference will investigate the twin notions of ‘authorship’ and ‘authority’—the Latin word auctoritas combines these two—in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.  Topics to be explored include: philosophical allegiance and schism, commentary and quotation, the treatment of anonymous texts or texts of disputed authorship, the collection of authorised corpora of texts and the rejection of spurious or non-canonical works.

More details will be posted on the Faculty of Classics website.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/09/2014 - 3:25pm by Adam Blistein.

We are very grateful to the nearly 2,500 registrants who overcame difficult travel conditions to attend last week’s joint annual meeting.  At the same time, we are aware that some members who had registered in advance were unable to come to Chicago because their initial airline reservations were cancelled, and their carriers could not put them on different flights in time to attend the meeting.  APA and AIA carry “convention cancellation insurance” for such events, and next week we will announce a procedure by which affected individuals can apply for refunds of advance registration fees.

Adam D. Blistein, APA Executive Director
Kevin Quinlan, AIA Interim Executive Director

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 1:07pm by Adam Blistein.

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