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Course Overview

Rome was founded in the 8th century BC and became a globalized empire dominating the Mediterranean until the fifth century with Eastern Roman Empire surviving for about another 1,000 years. While many issues of Roman civilization, from civic sense to military organization and engineering genius, have been abundantly studied, this class will focus on Roman cuisine, describing how the initial frugal diet of the Latium shepherds developed in a sophisticated cuisine (for those who could afford it!), blending food and spices from all corners of the Mediterranean, and mixing them with ingenuity to produce surprising results and tastes which would not be recognized by any modern Western citizen. Particular attention will be dedicated to the recipes from the Cookbook of Apicius, the only Roman cookbook to survive the Middle Ages.
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