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 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])


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


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The SCS and the AIA are pleased to announce that the 2016 Joint Annual Meeting will take place at the San Francisco Hilton Hotel, the site of our last joint meeting in the city in 2004. The meeting will be from January 6 through 9, a Wednesday through Saturday. The date change was the result of a hotel re-booking situation, and we regret any inconvenience this change may cause. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco next year!    

Ann Benbow                                        Adam D. Blistein
AIA Executive Director                     SCS Executive Director

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/31/2014 - 11:45am by Adam Blistein.

In this last of my presidential letters, I take the opportunity to inform you of a new SCS initiative to establish a wider audience for classics.  At last year’s Presidential Panel, Robert Connor made an impassioned plea for our Society to undertake the expansion of classics in institutions of higher learning.  While Departments of Classics appear to be holding their own across the country, it is evident that the emphasis on STEM disciplines and support for interdisciplinary education at the expense of traditional departments provide challenges to classics education as we know it.  The changing landscape of twenty-first century education can, however, also provide opportunities for broadening education in classics, if we think creatively.

Our organization has long responded to threats to Departments of Classics or to policies challenging the intellectual integrity of our discipline.  As we take on an expanded role to serve as a public voice for classics, it is our responsibility to become more proactive in our approach to preserving the teaching of classical subjects.  In order to do that, I have formed the Expanding College Classics Opportunities (ECCO) Committee to explore methods of supporting and, especially, extending the study of classics in institutions of higher learning. Georgia Nugent, Emerita President of Kenyon College, has agreed to chair this committee, which will have its inaugural meeting in New Orleans.

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters, SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/29/2014 - 10:35am by .

"For centuries, the study of Greek literature has been seen as the province of career academics. But Nicolson’s amateurism (in the best, etymological, sense of the word: from the Latin amare, 'to love') and globe-trotting passion for his subject is contagious, intimating that it is impossible to comprehend Homer’s poems from an armchair or behind a desk. If you’ve never read the 'Iliad' or the 'Odyssey,' or your copies have been collecting dust since college, Nicolson’s book is likely to inspire you to visit or revisit their pages."

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 12/28/2014 - 9:00pm by .

Click here to see the SCS Schedule at a Glance for the meeting in New Orleans.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sat, 12/27/2014 - 1:55pm by Adam Blistein.

The discounted convention rate is no longer available at either of the annual meeting venues (the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel and the New Orleans Marriott); however we have secured additional discounted rooms at Marriott’s AC Hotel New Orleans which is located at 221 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 (a five-minute walk from the main hotels).  The hotel will also offer our same discounted group rate of $159 per night, plus taxes for a single (one bed) or double (two beds) hotel room.  The rate includes complimentary in room high speed Internet.  The deadline to reserve your rooms at the discounted rate is January 3, 2015. You can make a reservation directly with the Hotel by calling 1-800-228-9290 and using the group code ASAC or by requesting the AIA and SCS Joint Annual Meeting Discounted Room Block. You can also book via the hotel’s online system

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 12/26/2014 - 10:12pm by Adam Blistein.

Before everyone goes off line for the holidays, I wanted to call attention to a couple of the new features that will be in effect for the program of the upcoming Annual Meeting next month in NOLA.

The first thing is that, for the first time — ever? in a long while, anyway — the SCS and the AIA are using the same session grid. That means that, instead of (e.g.) SCS afternoon sessions starting at 1:30 and the analogous AIA sessions starting at 2:45 (as they did last year), all of the afternoon sessions will start at 1:45.

The final proofs of the paper program are being checked right now. But, in addition to the paper versions, we expect to launch a program app that will work on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as a web-based, platform-independent version. The last information I had was that we were waiting for approval from Apple before we could make the app public, so I hope it will be available very soon, if not quite in time to put it under the tree. More news as it becomes available!


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/23/2014 - 7:01pm by .

The other day I ran across a program that was new to me. It's called "Classics in Communities," and its purpose is to support Greek and Latin teaching by offering workshops for secondary school teachers. It looks like it could be an effective form of outreach. From a conversation on Facebook, I learned about a some similar efforts in the US at the local and regional level, but I wonder whether it would make sense to try this at the national level here as well? Is that a good or a bad idea? What would it take to make it happen?

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 12/18/2014 - 11:08am by .

Dr. Sarah Lepinski, Program Officer in the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will be at the meeting in New Orleans and would be happy to meet with prospective applicants to any NEH funding program  -- especially those in Preservation and Access, Digital Humanities, Education, and Research. The link below provides details about setting up an appointment with her.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/17/2014 - 9:01am by Adam Blistein.

Following is the schedule for the SCS Office for the next month.  Our regular hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

December 24, 2014                                        Office Closes at 1:00 p.m.
December 25-28, 2014                                   Office Closed
December 29-30, 2014                                   Office Open (see Note A)
December 31, 2014                                        Office Closes at 1:00 p.m. (also see Note A)
January 1-4, 2015                                           Office Closed
January 5, 2015                                              Office Open
January 6-12, 2015                                         Office Closed (see Note B)
January 13-16, 2015                                       Office Open (see Note C)
January 17-18, 2015                                       Office Closed
January 19, 2015                                            Office Closed (Martin Luther King Day)
January 20, 2015                                            Normal Operations Resume

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/16/2014 - 11:00am by Adam Blistein.

If you use Twitter and intend to share comments about the upcoming joint annual meeting in New Orleans, please use the hashtag


We have consulted with our colleagues at the AIA, and they have agreed to recommend its use to their members as well.  Please note that because of the new name of the Society, this is a different hashtag from the one in use in previous years.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 12/12/2014 - 2:21pm by Adam Blistein.


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