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Enough of the Byzantine crickets chirping in the silence...

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  • Cassius
    Greetings all, Hmmm! Of all the lists I excpected wouldn t go completely quiet, I didn t expect it would be the Culture list! Byzantine culture is the
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 7, 2011
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      Greetings all,

      Hmmm! Of all the lists I excpected wouldn't go completely quiet, I didn't expect it would be the Culture list!

      Byzantine "culture" is the largest overall topic we have for study and discussion, and it is the one thing that ALL of us share no matter what our interest!

      So, what's been happening with everyone? Care to share anything you've read or worked with concerning:

      Byzantine Cooking, costuming, history, art, jewelry, music,icons, collecting, museums, architecture, philosophy, etc?

      Time to share updates and news, experiences, or ask questions!

      Here's my personal update: I just finished reading "Daily Life in Byzantium" which had a really good overview of common Byzantine civilization.

      One thing that really struck me was how much Byzantium really DID remain a continuation of the Roman Empire as far as social structure.

      When people in the west were for the most part scrabbling out an existence in mud huts (say, AD 500 through 1000) Roman life really was continuing in Constantinople. One could still go out to eat at a restaurant, go to the gymnasium and the baths, borrow a book from a library, go to the theater or out to the races, go shopping in permant shop areas (as opposed to weekly town markets) attend dinner parties, etc.

      I'm starting to think that one reason Byzantium doesn't get so much attention as the classical world is that scholars just dismiss it as "more of the same" only without the titillating bits such as bloodbaths in the colosseum!

      So... any news from anyone else?

      -Marcus Cassius Julianus
    • J. C. Smith ispán
      Hi there, In defense of the folks out west, I just finished reading a book about the Ostrogoths and am now reading a book about the Merovingian Franks
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 7, 2011
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        Hi there,
         
        In defense of the folks out west, I just finished reading a book about the Ostrogoths and am now reading a book about the Merovingian Franks and it's amazing how much of the old Roman stuff they carried over.  For example, the Ostrogoths had a Praetorian Praefect over Gaul nearly a century after Romulus Augustus was put aside and both kingdoms had Patricians of Rome.  Nearly all of the old Roman financial and political infrastructure out west was retained, with a mirrored Germanic one alongside (at least for the Ostrogoths, I haven't gotten as far in the book on Franks).
         
        I have always been of the opinion that you can learn a lot about a culture by studying the people around them and how they interact (that's actually what led to my interest in the Byzantines, from studying how the early medieval Hungarians worked with them).  For example, there was a lot of bad blood between the Franks and the Byzantines, arguing over which of them was the true heir to the Roman Empire and who (after 800AD) was really an emperor.
         
        I am also reading a good book about Byzantine Culture called Byzantium: The Empire of the New Rome, by Professor Cyril Mango (reviewers of his book call him "Professor Mango) but I can't do it -- it sounds too much like a health food super hero ha ha ha.  Mango is is a British scholar in the history, art, and architecture of the Byzantine Empire. He is a former King's College London and Oxford professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature.  When I first began to look at it, I assumed it was a history book, but it's not that at all. It's a description of the culture of the Empire and very interesting.  You can pick up your own copy for about a nickel (yes, you read that right) here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1898800448/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used.  I recommend it.
         
        Baduila
         

        JEFFREY C. SMITH

         

        "Since this is an era when many people are concerned about 'fairness' and 'social justice,' what is your 'fair share' of what someone else has worked for?" 

                                    -- Thomas Sowell




        From: Cassius <byzantiumnovum@...>
        To: ByzantiumNovumCulture@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Mon, March 7, 2011 9:34:32 AM
        Subject: [ByzantiumNovumCulture] Enough of the Byzantine crickets chirping in the silence...

         

        Greetings all,

        Hmmm! Of all the lists I excpected wouldn't go completely quiet, I didn't expect it would be the Culture list!

        Byzantine "culture" is the largest overall topic we have for study and discussion, and it is the one thing that ALL of us share no matter what our interest!

        So, what's been happening with everyone? Care to share anything you've read or worked with concerning:

        Byzantine Cooking, costuming, history, art, jewelry, music,icons, collecting, museums, architecture, philosophy, etc?

        Time to share updates and news, experiences, or ask questions!

        Here's my personal update: I just finished reading "Daily Life in Byzantium" which had a really good overview of common Byzantine civilization.

        One thing that really struck me was how much Byzantium really DID remain a continuation of the Roman Empire as far as social structure.

        When people in the west were for the most part scrabbling out an existence in mud huts (say, AD 500 through 1000) Roman life really was continuing in Constantinople. One could still go out to eat at a restaurant, go to the gymnasium and the baths, borrow a book from a library, go to the theater or out to the races, go shopping in permant shop areas (as opposed to weekly town markets) attend dinner parties, etc.

        I'm starting to think that one reason Byzantium doesn't get so much attention as the classical world is that scholars just dismiss it as "more of the same" only without the titillating bits such as bloodbaths in the colosseum!

        So... any news from anyone else?

        -Marcus Cassius Julianus

      • James Mathews
        Defrutum (Syrup) Defrutum was a syrup, made from must (first fermentation of grapes) and was not the same as grape-juice syrup we can buy today, although
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 7, 2011
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          Defrutum (Syrup)

          "Defrutum" was a syrup, made from "must" (first fermentation of grapes) and was not the same as grape-juice syrup we can buy today, although it makes an adequate substitute.  Neither was it the full-bodied, savory residue from reduced wine, as used in the kitchens of modern French restaurants (another delicious substitute).  It was obtained by slowly reducing a quantity of "must"  until it had the thick viscosity of treacle, which is how Palladius describes it, other authors suggest it was thinner.  According to Varro and Columella the 
          "must" had to be boiled down to a third of its original quantity, but Pliny stipulated half.

          Caroenum

          "Caroenum" resembles "defrutum" in that it is sometimes prepared from "must" but according to Palladium, it was reduced to only two-thirds of its original quantity.  Some commentators  describe "caroenum" as reduced wine rather than reduced "must".  The word "caroenum" derives from the Greek word for wine, "oinos." One major culinary difference between "must" and wine is that the former is sweet, and the latter is not.

          Sapa

          According to Palladium, "sapa" is also made from "must," which is not reduced to the same extent as "defrutum," but more so than "caroenum" to one-third its original volume -- which is what Varro and Columella describe as "defrutum."  Consequently the difference between "sapa" and "defrutum" is not entirely clear, especially since other authors  refer to the syrupy nature of "sapa," a characteristic of "defrutum."  If we keep to Palladium's instructions for clarity's sake, we can differentiate  the three types as follows:

          "sapa"              =   one-third reduction
          "caroenum"    =    two-thirds reduction
          "defrutum"      =    syrup

          We can assume that all three were made from red wine, because Apicius uses them to colour dishes.  Palladium also remarks that plums should be added when boiling down "sapa," and the fire stoked with fig-wood.

          Reference;

          Patrick Faas, "Around The Roman Table, Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome," University of Chicago Press,  Chicago, London, 1994 (ISBN 0-226-23347-2 (paper)

          Respectfully Submitted;

          Marcus Audens

          Note:-- I would suppose that since the Byzantines thought of themselves as Romans and if the same foods were available to them, that certain condiments would have been the same as Roman.  If this is not accurate, I would appreciate any corrections that might be made.   MMA










          On Mar 7, 2011, at 9:34 AM, Cassius wrote:

          Greetings all, 

          Hmmm! Of all the lists I excpected wouldn't go completely quiet, I didn't expect it would be the Culture list! 

          Byzantine "culture" is the largest overall topic we have for study and discussion, and it is the one thing that ALL of us share no matter what our interest!

          So, what's been happening with everyone? Care to share anything you've read or worked with concerning: 

          Byzantine Cooking, costuming, history, art, jewelry, music,icons, collecting, museums, architecture, philosophy, etc? 

          Time to share updates and news, experiences, or ask questions!

          Here's my personal update: I just finished reading "Daily Life in Byzantium" which had a really good overview of common Byzantine civilization. 

          One thing that really struck me was how much Byzantium really DID remain a continuation of the Roman Empire as far as social structure. 

          When people in the west were for the most part scrabbling out an existence in mud huts (say, AD 500 through 1000) Roman life really was continuing in Constantinople. One could still go out to eat at a restaurant, go to the gymnasium and the baths, borrow a book from a library, go to the theater or out to the races, go shopping in permant shop areas (as opposed to weekly town markets) attend dinner parties, etc. 

          I'm starting to think that one reason Byzantium doesn't get so much attention as the classical world is that scholars just dismiss it as "more of the same" only without the titillating bits such as bloodbaths in the colosseum!

          So... any news from anyone else? 

          -Marcus Cassius Julianus


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