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5484Re: [Apicius] Even the poor eat... giraffes?

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  • Susan Weingarten
    Jan 8, 2014
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      Someone sent me another link to this report http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/05/ancient-pompeii-elite-ate-giraffe-sea-urchins_n_4538312.html where it makes it clear that the 'shell fish' included sea urchins. This is particularly interesting, as the Apicius collection has several recipes for sea urchins  (9.8.1-5- Sally Grainger says it is the pink/orange ovaries or 'corals' which are eaten). Apart from these,  the section on seafood ends with a recipe including sea urchins (9.11) called embractum Baianum, a relish from Baiae, with chopped oysters, mussels and sea urchins  together with chopped roasted pine nuts, rue, celery, pepper, coriander, cumin, passum, liquamen, date and oil. Baiae was a fancy seaside town just round the bay from Pompeii - so they may have been been serving well-known local delicacies, as well as exotic imports 

      On 5 January 2014 08:57, Justin Mansfield <iustinus@...> wrote:

      Good point.

      In fact, today I actually got to see Prof. Ellis's presentation on these findings. An audience member pointed out that the restaurant would be well-located for, e.g. theater-goers to stop by after a show, and of course Romans often sent out slaves to make purchases for them, so we need not assume the patrons were actually from the neighborhood.

      On Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 12:42 AM, Susan Weingarten <weingarten.susan@...> wrote:

      This report is fascinating. However, i am not so sure about the conclusions of the archaeologists as reported here. Does the giraffe bone really attest to a trade in exotic animals for meat? This seems somewhat unlikely. My colleague Joan Alcock (author of Food in Roman Britain)  has suggested that the  exotic animals imported for fights in the amphitheatre were sold off as meat for Roman sausages after they were killed. So a trade in exotic animals, yes. But for their meat? Only at one remove. 
      Susan Weingarten
      Dr Susan Weingarten

      Dr Susan Weingarten
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