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Taste and the Ancient Senses


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Table of Contents


List of Figures and Tables


Notes on Contributors

Introduction: On the Tip of the Tongue: Making Sense of Ancient Taste

Kelli C. Rudolph

1. Tastes of Greek Poetry: From Homer to Aristophanes

Sarah Hitch

2. Tastes of Reality: Epistemology and the Senses in Ancient Philosophy

Kelli C. Rudolph

3. Tastes in Ancient Botany, Medicine and Science: Bitter Herbs and Sweet Honey

Laurence Totelin

4. Tastes of Homer: Matro's Gastroaesthetic Tour Through Epic

Mario Telo

5. Tasting the Roman World

Emily Gowers

6. Tastes from Beyond: Persephone's Pomegranate and Otherworldly Consumption in Antiquity

Meredith J. C. Warren

7. Tastes of Roman Italy: Early Roman Expansion and Taste Articulation

Laura Banducci

8. Tastes and Digestion: Archaeology and Medicine in Roman Italy

Patricia Baker 9. Tastes of Meat in Antiquity: Integrating the Textual and Zooarchaeological Evidence Michael MacKinnon 10. Tastes in the Roman Provinces: An Archaeobotanical Approach to Socio-Cultural Change Alexandra Livarda 11. Tastes of Wine: Sensorial Wine Analysis in Ancient Greece Thibaut Boulay 12. Tastes of the Extraordinary: Flavour Lists in Imperial Rome John Paulas 13. Tastes of Danger and Pleasure in Early and Late Antique Christianity Beatrice Caseau Bibliography Index

About the Author

Kelli C. Rudolph is Lecturer in Classics and Philosophy at the University of Kent, Canterbury. She has research interests in ancient perceptual theories and the relationship between Presocratic and Hellenistic philosophy, and is currently working on theoretical approaches to the senses in antiquity.


Taste is the most corporeal of senses, requiring not only direct physical contact, but the ingestion of substances that will become part of ourselves. Thanks to its association with "low" bodily functions, taste has commonly been held in low regard by idealizing philosophers and other theorists. This multidisciplinary volume, with contributions from historians, literary critics, and material culture specialists, seeks to redress this imbalance through an engaging exploration of the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and experiences of taste in ancient Greece and Rome. It offers much to ruminate on for readers interested in almost any aspect of the ancient world, food history, or the history of the senses.

- Matthew Roller, Professor of Classics, Johns Hopkins University, USA

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