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Journal of archaeology and ancient architecture

Tag Archives: society

I cuochi a Roma fra tarda Repubblica e alto Impero: una categoria negletta?

Author: M. Cassia

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There is an overabundance of scholarly production dedicated to various aspects of dining and conviviality in Rome (dietary regimes, health implications, food procurement and storage, food variety and nutritional values, food preparation, wine and gastronomy, recipes and condiments, sociability of the banquet, ideological, social and sexual conditioning of convivial practices) as well as to the kitchen tableware, the physical spaces of culinary activity and the environments in which food was actually consumed. This paper, on the other hand, is dedicated to the figure of the cook, a subject much less studied, but of great interest for the understanding of multiple aspects, such as the consideration enjoyed by this category of workers among the elites, their juridical status, the times and places in which these “workers” found themselves working, and the judgements and prejudices that characterised their professional profile.

Tra dismorfosi e dissenso: Favorino di Arelate alla corte di Adriano

Author: M. Cassia

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The substantial “silence” of Soranus of Ephesus, a famous gynaecologist active in the Trajan-Hadrian period, on the birth of “monstrous” foetuses raises some inescapable questions. According to some scholars, physicians generally did not deal with the subject because they were unable to find concrete cures for these peculiar pathologies, while according to others, the practitioners’ silence was due to the fact that the births of “monstrous” foetuses were only of relevance from a paradoxical and/or mythological point of view, but had no scientific relevance. Now, as much as these motivations may at first glance appear agreeable, both the many references to cases of hermaphroditism, sex change, and male motherhood in the De mirabilibus of Phlegon of Tralles, a freedman of the emperor Hadrian and a contemporary of Soranus, and the “burning” affair of Favorinus of Arelate, a famous rhetorician with an undefined sex and a “fringe” intellectual in the Hadrian age, as well as the sources of law concerning the prevailing sex of the hermaphrodite, his ability to act as a witness in a will and to establish posthumous heirs, must, however, lead us to reflect on the existence of “other” – social, political and juridical – conditioning, which may have influenced Soranus’ “silence” on such a delicate subject as teratology, to which instead Galen of Pergamum – an illustrious physician, much younger than his colleague from Ephesus – reserved even minimal attention, pointing out how the “so-called” hermaphrodites would have aroused the interest of sculptors rather than doctors, in not coincidental chronological concomitance with the types of the “Sleeping Hermaphrodite” and the “Standing Hermaphrodite”, well known through the famous copies conserved in Paris (Louvre, from the Villa Borghese), Rome (Villa Borghese, Museo delle Terme), St. Petersburg (Hermitage, from Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli), London (British Museum), Florence (Museo degli Uffizi), Berlin (Altes Museum).

(Italiano) Un “fiume di fogna”: il Tevere, Giovenale e la piscatrix Aurelia

Author: G. Arena

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Juvenal’s V satire describes the unequal relationship between patronus and cliens, but also offers the attestation of a female profession, that of a fishwife, and of an auroral environmental awareness, connected with the depletion of fish resources caused both by the pollution of the Tiber and indiscriminate fishing in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The data that can be deduced from the text of the satirical poet are confirmed thanks to the fruitful comparison established respectively with the inscription engraved on a marble funerary altar dedicated to a piscatrix and with the testimonies offered by Athenaeus of Naucratis and Galen of Pergamum about the spasmodic search for precious fishes by a wealthy élite resident in Rome.