„Leporis vero si novellae…”, i.e. about connections between medicine and culinary art in Anthimus’ "De observatione ciborum"

Zofia Rzeźnicka

University of Łódź, Poland , Poland


The present study scrutinizes the initial part of the recipe considering culinary preparation of hare meat (reading: „Leporis vero si novellae…”), from a Byzantine medical treatise De observatione ciborum by Anthimus (5th/6th c. AD). The first part of the article proves that the work was written in accordance with the ancient materia medica. The author emphasises the specific character of the said work, as it discusses foodstuffs typical for non-Mediterranean peoples. Moreover, she highlights that since treatise was dedicated to Theuderic, the ruler of the Franks it contains mainly information on food served at the royal court. As an example showing Theuderic's high social status a recipe for hare meat is given. In the main part of the study the author analyses the initial passage of the said formula. On the basis of Anthimus' treatise as well as medical (works by Galen [2nd/3rd c. AD], Oribasius [4th c. AD], Aetius of Amida [6th c. AD]) and culinary (a poem by Archestratos of Gela [4th c. BC], De re coquinaria [4th c. AD]) sources she proposes a reconstruction of culinary technology which might have been recommended by Anthimus in preparing the examined dish. The comparative analysis of the above source material confirms Anthimus’ competences in the field of dietetics as well as a close connection between ancient/Byzantine medicine and culinary art. Furthermore, it proves that medical treatises are useful in the research on the history of everyday life.


history of medical literature, history of dietetics, food history, Anthimus, De observatione ciborum, Byzantium, medicine, food

Aetii Amideni Libri medicinales I–VIII, ed. A. Olivieri, Lipsiae – Berolini 1935-1950.

Anthimi De observatione ciborum ad Theodoricum Regem Francorum epistula, ed. E. Liechtenhan, Berolini 1963.

Anthimus, De observatione ciborum, w: Anthimus, On the Observance of Foods. De observatione ciborum, ed. i tł. M. Grant, Blackawton – Totnes 2007.

Apicius. A Critical Edition with an Introduction and an English Translation of the Latin Recipe text Apicius, ed. Ch. Grocock – S. Grainger, Blackawton – Totnes 2006.

Athenaei Naucratitae Dipnosophistarum libri XV, t. 1-3, ed. G. Kaibel, Lipsiae – Berolini 1887-1890.

Archestratus, Fragmenta, w: Archestratos of Gela: Greek Culture and Cuisine in the Fourth Century BCE, tł. S.D. Olson – A. Sens, Oxford – New York 2000.

Cassiodorus Senator, Variae, tł. A. Kołtunowska – R. Sawa, ŹMT 79, Kraków 2017.

Decimius Magnus Ausonius, Mosella. Kritische Ausgabe, ed. J. Gruber, Berlin – Boston 2013.

Galenus, De alimentorum facultatibus libri III, w: Claudii Galeni Opera omnia, t. 6, ed. C.G. Kühn, Lipsiae 1823, s. 453-748.

Galenus, De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis ac facultatibus libri XI, w: Claudii Galeni Opera omnia, t. 11, ed. C.G. Kühn, Lipsiae 1826, s. 379-892.

Galenus, In Hippocratis de natura hominis commentaria tria, w: Claudii Galeni Opera omnia, t. 15, ed. C.G. Kühn, Lipsiae 1828, s. 1-173.

Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Historiarum libri X, ed. B. Krusch – L. Levison, MGH SRM 1/1, Hanover 1951.

Malchus, Historia Byzantina, w: The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus: Text, Translation, and Historiographical Notes, t. 2, ed. R.C. Blockley, Liverpool 1983, s. 403-462.

Oribasii Collectionum medicarum reliquiae, t. 1-4, ed. I. Raeder, Lipsiae – Berolini 1928-1933.

Oribasius, Libri ad Eunapium, w: Oribasii Synopsis ad Eustathium filium et Libri ad Eunapium, t. 6/3, ed. I. Raeder, Lipsiae 1964, s. 122-498.

Sidonius, Epistulae, w: Sidonius, Poems and Letters in Two Volumes, t. 1, tł. W.B. Anderson, Cambridge – London 1956, s. 330-483.

Terentius, Phormio, w: P. Terenti Afri Comoediae, ed. K. Dziatzko, Lipsiae 1884, s. 149‑194.

Andrews A.C., Greek and Latin Terms for Salmon and Trout, „Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association” 86 (1955) s. 308-318. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/283626

Baader G., Early Medieval Latin Adaptations of Byzantine Medicine in Western Europe, „Dumbarton Oaks Papers” 38 (1984) s. 251-259. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1291509

Boudon-Millot V., Introduction générale, w: Galien. Tome I: Introduction générale, Sur l’ordre de ses propres livres, Sur ses propres livres, Que l’excellent médecin est aussi philosophe, tł. V. Boudon-Millot, Paris 2007, s. VII-XC.

Bouras-Vallianatos P., Galen in Byzantine Medical Literature, w: Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Galen, red. P. Bouras-Vallianatos – B. Zipser, Leiden – Boston 2019, s. 86-110. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004394353_006

Caseau B., Nourritures terrestres, nourritures célestes: La culture alimentaire à Byzance, Paris 2015.

Curtis R.I., Garum and Salsamenta: Production and Commerce in Materia Medica, Leiden – New York – København – Köln 1991. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004377264

Dalby A., Food in the Ancient World from A to Z, London – New York 2003.

Dalby A., Tastes of Byzantium. The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire, London – New York 2010.

Dalby A. – Dalby R., Gifts of the Gods: A History of Food in Greece, London 2017.

Decker M., Hunting and Hawking, Barbarian, w: The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, red. O. Nicholson, Oxford 2018, s. 750.

Deroux C., Des traces inconnues de la „Diététique” d’Anthime dans un manuscrit du Vatican „(Reg. Lat. 1004)”, „Latomus” 33/3 (1974) s. 680-687.

Deroux C., Anthime, un médecin gourmet du début des temps mérovingiens, „Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire” 80/4 (2002) s. 1107-1124. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/rbph.2002.4663

Deroux C., The Franks and Bacon According to Doctor Anthimus (De obs. cib. 14), w: Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History, red. C. Deroux, Bruxelles 2008, s. 518-528.

Effros B., Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul, New York – Houndmills 2002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-62577-2

Głombiowska Z., Ślady lektury komedii rzymskich w Foriceniach Jana Kochanowskiego, „Classica Wratislaviensia” 28 (2008) s. 101-111.

Grant M., Introduction, w: Anthimus, On the Observance of Foods. De observatione ciborum, red. i tł. M. Grant, Blackawton – Totnes 2007, s. 9-44.

Grocock Ch. – Grainger S., Introduction, w: Apicius. A Critical Edition with an Introduction and an English Translation of the Latin Recipe text Apicius, red. Ch. Grocock – S. Grainger, Blackawton – Totnes 2006, s. 13-123.

Harries J., Sidonius, w: Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, red. G.W. Bowersock – P. Brown – O. Grabar, Cambridge – London 1999, s. 694-695.

Hen Y., Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul, w: Tätigkeitsfelder und Erfahrungshorizonte des ländlichen Menschen in der frühmittelalterlichen Grundherrschaft (bis ca. 1000): Festschrift für Dieter Hägermann zum 65. Geburtstag, red. B. Kasten, München 2006, s. 99-110.

Jagusiak K. – Kokoszko M., Pisma Orybazjusza jako źródło informacji o pożywieniu ludzi w późnym Cesarstwie Rzymskim, „Vox Patrum” 59 (2013) s. 339-357. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.4035

Kitchell K.F. Jr., Animals in the Ancient World from A to Z, London – New York 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203087503

Koder J., Die Byzantiner Kultur und Alltag im Mittelalter, Wien – Köln – Weimar 2016. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7767/9783205204527

Kokoszko M., Smaki Konstantynopola, w: Konstantynopol – Nowy Rzym. Miasto i ludzie w okresie wczesnobizantyńskim, red. M.J. Leszka – T. Wolińska, Warszawa 2011, s. 471-575.

Kokoszko M. – Dybała J. – Jagusiak K. – Rzeźnicka Z., Chleb nieodpowiedni dla chrześcijan: moralne zalecenia Klemensa Aleksandryjskiego w konfrontacji z naukowymi ustaleniami Galena, „Vox Patrum” 64 (2015) s. 249-291. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.3715

Kokoszko M. – Erlich Ł., Rola mięsa w diecie późnego antyku i wczesnego Bizancjum na podstawie wybranych źródeł literackich. Część II. Dziczyzna, podroby i wyroby wędliniarskie, „Piotrkowskie Zeszyty Historyczne” 12/2 (2011) s. 155-177.

Kokoszko M. – Jagusiak K., Woda, wino i tak dalej, czyli o napojach i trunkach w Konstantynopolu, „Przegląd Nauk Historycznych” 9/1 (2010) s. 25-54.

Kokoszko M. – Rzeźnicka Z., Dietetyka w De re coquinaria, „Przegląd Nauk Historycznych” 10/2 (2011) s. 5-25. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/2084-140X.02.13

Letts M., Rufus of Ephesus and the Patient’s Perspective in Medicine, „British Journal for the History of Philosophy” 22/5 (2014) s. 996-1020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2014.963504

Mackinnon M., Hunting, w: The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life, red. G.L. Campbell, Oxford 2014, s. 203-215. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199589425.013.012

McGowan A., Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford 1999. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269724.001.0001

Nelson M., The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe, London – New York 2005.

Périn P., Landscape and Material Culture of Gaul in the Times of Gregory of Tours According to Archaeology, w: A Companion to Gregory of Tours, red. A.C. Murray, Leiden – Boston 2015, s. 256-277. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004307001_010

Plouvier L., L’alimentation carnée au Haut Moyen Âge d’après le De observatione ciborum d’Anthime et les Excerpta de Vinidarius, „Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire” 80/4 (2002) s. 1357-1369. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/rbph.2002.4672

Rzeźnicka Z., Rola mięsa w okresie pomiędzy II a VII w. w świetle źródeł medycznych, w: Dietetyka i sztuka kulinarna antyku i wczesnego Bizancjum (II-VII w.), cz. 2: Pokarm dla ciała i ducha, red. M. Kokoszko, Łódź 2014, s. 213-447.

Rzeźnicka Z. – Kokoszko M., Dietetyka i sztuka kulinarna antyku i wczesnego Bizancjum (II-VII w.), cz. 3: Ab ovo ad γάλα. Jajka, mleko i produkty mleczne w medycynie i w sztuce kulinarnej (I-VII w.), Łódź 2016.

Rzeźnicka Z. – Kokoszko M., Milk and Dairy Products in the Medicine and Culinary Art of Antiquity and Early Byzantium (1st–7th Centuries AD), Łódź – Kraków 2020.

Scarborough J., Anthimus (of Constantinople?) (ca 475 – 525 CE), w: The Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists. The Greek Tradition and its Many Heirs, red. P.T. Keyser – G. Irby-Massie, London – New York 2008, s. 91-92.

Scarborough J., Theodora, Aetius of Amida, and Procopius: Some Possible Connections, „Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies” 53 (2013) s. 742-762.

Thurmond D., From Vines to Wines in Classical Rome. A Handbook of Viticulture and Oenology in Rome and the Roman West, Leiden – Boston 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004334595

Touwaide A., Medicine and Pharmacy, w: A Companion to Byzantine Science, red. S. Lazaris, Leiden – Boston 2020, s. 354-403. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004414617_012

Touwaide A. – Appetiti E., Food and Medicines in the Mediterranean Tradition: A Systematic Analysis of the Earliest Extant Body of Textual Evidence, „Journal of Ethnopharmacology” 167 (2015) s. 11-29. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2014.10.035

Wilkins J., Medical Literature, Diet, and Health, w: A Companion to Food in the Ancient World, red. J. Wilkins – R. Nadeau, Malden – Oxford – Chichester 2015, s. 59-66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118878255.ch5


Rzeźnicka, Z. (2022). „Leporis vero si novellae…”, i.e. about connections between medicine and culinary art in Anthimus’ "De observatione ciborum". Vox Patrum, 81, 91–110. https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.12647

Zofia Rzeźnicka  zosia_pwp.historyk@wp.pl
University of Łódź, Poland https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8566-4946


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Pursuant to the Act on Copyright and Related Rights of February 4, 1994, the Author of the publication grants the Publisher of the journal "Vox Patrum" a non-exclusive and free license to use the Work submitted for publication for an indefinite period of time on an unlimited territory in the following fields of use:
a. In the field of recording and reproducing the work - producing copies of the work using a specific technique, including printing, reprographic, magnetic recording and digital technology;
b. Within the scope of trading in the original or copies on which the work has been recorded - marketing, lending or renting the original or copies;
c. In the scope of disseminating the work in a manner other than specified in point b - public performance, exhibition, display, reproduction, broadcasting and rebroadcasting, as well as making the work available to the public, so that everyone can have access to it at a place and time chosen by them.
Moreover, the Author allows the Publisher free of charge to use and dispose of the compilations of the Works.
The publisher may grant sub-licenses.
Third parties may use the Works and other materials containing or based on the Works in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (also known as CC-BY-NC 4.0) license pattern.