Re: Moretum, anyone?
- That is incredible! Of course, given the era and provenance, I suppose this is actually a myttotos, the alleged Greek equivalent (but see below).?
As it happens, I was recently looking in the TLL for occurrences of "moretum" that I might have previously missed. There was one major discovery: apparently the word appears in the fourth century De Re Medica?attributed to a certain Pliny. It has historically been assumed at times that this is Pliny the Elder, but a glance at the text shows this is highly unlikely. A major problem with this text is that it is damn hard to find! Even once you get a hold of it, it's available in several widely divergent manuscripts, which scholars seem to distinguish inconsistantly. Consequently I have not yet tracked down this passage in full. But the TLL quotes:
ruta cum casia teritur in vino in modum moreti et ita editur
"Rue is ground with cassia in wine, in the manner of a moretum, and is thus eaten."
This is somewhat surprising. Rue+cassia+wine = moretum? I can think of three possibilities:
1. "in the manner of a moretum" = "add cheese (and garlic?)"
2. "in the manner of a moretum" refers instead to the procedure of grinding it.
3. "moretum" here means nothing more than "a ground condiment" (as seemingly in renaissance Latin)
The TLL also lists three occurrences in ancient Latin/Greek glossaries. One equates moretum with the Greek trimma, another equates greek hypotrimma with "amoretum." A third, particularly strange example, treats moreton as a GREEK word, and equates it with Latin vibecum and/or vibecum (whatever those mean). (Hypo)trimma does mean essentially "a ground condiment", when it does not refer to a specific sauce.
Note also that none of these ancient sources explicitly equate moretum with myttotos. A medieval scholion claims that Virgil's _Moretum_ was in imitation of a Greek poem by Parthenius, which Scaliger (a 16th century scholar) suggested might have been called _Myttotos_. If there is any further evidence of an equation between these two dishes, I am unfamiliar with it, but myttotos was definitely made in a mortar, considered a (hypo)trimma, and made with cheese. Usually garlic as well, but at least one source substitutes onion. So, in sum, it would definitely be in the realm of possibility for this to represent myttotos, whether or not that means the same as moretum.
From: Kevin McDermott <pncmcdermott@...>
To: Justin Mansfield <jdm314@...>
Sent: Thu, Sep 3, 2009 1:17 pm
Subject: Moretum, anyone?
One last one....but, really, the best for last: Ralph found this, described it, but I was not prepared for the wonderfulness of it all:?
Behold: MORETVM on a Mule (be sure to look at all the views, which I know you would anyway):?
I'm sending this to the seemingly moribund APICIVS list....I wonder whether it's well known??
Thank you, Ralph...?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]