[Sca-cooks] roman feast / Apicius

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Thu Mar 20 04:35:02 PDT 2008

I pulled Grocock and Grainger's volume titled Apicius off the shelf last 
evening and took a look
at what they say.
They write on page 95:
"The Latinity of Apicius, as preserved in the two principal manuscripts, 
is extremely varied. Some
of the recipes incorporate grammar and syntax which, for all its 
simplicity, is classical in style; others
are redolent of Vulgar Latin."
They point out that as a whole Apicius " is made up of 459 separate 
texts, many of which are
no more than lists of ingredients." Add in that they were gathered from 
a range of sources over
a lengthy period, and there's a wide range of style, language, and 
grammar represented.
There's also a large amount of Greek incorporated into the text. This 
includes recipe titles
in Greek and also includes numerous culinary terms and instructions that 
were left in Greek
and never translated into Latin.

Anyway it's a rather complicated business and I would urge those that 
are interested should
read the new edition.


> Emilio wrote:
> Which manuscript are you speaking about? Which one do you
>>  consider the "original" one. The one
>>  in the New York Academy of Medicine (ninth century), the
>>  one in the Vatican library (ninth century) or the one in
>>  Paris (eighth century). Certainly, there must have been
>>  older manuscripts now lost.
> Lilinah wrote:
> What you say is true. We don't have the original original. Or even 
> early copies. We only have later copies. And the more often a copy is 
> made, the more likely for scribal errors to creep in. (i.e., B is a 
> copy of A, C is a copy of B, D is a copy of C, and so forth...)
>  From what i read none of the existing mss. is in Classical Latin, and 
> a trustworthy one is in a form of Latin common to the Late Antique 
> period (more or less 2nd to 4th or 6th C. CE), a form not necessarily 
> in use in the date the ms. was copied (such as the 8th or 9th C.). 
> Again, i'll have to look for a good quote for you.

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