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Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Android | RSS | MoreDown the River Tiber from Rome is the huge archaeological site of Ostia Antica, which used to be the main port for the city. It’s all ruins now, of course, and open to the elements, but still incredibly suggestive. As you stroll around under the umbrella pines, it’s hard not to daydream about what things might have been like a couple of thousand years ago. In my case, with very little formal education in the matter, those daydreams are pretty foggy. When I get to something I know a little about, like a bakery, the fog clears a bit and I can begin to see some details.
With a real expert, however, things really come to life, so I was absolutely delighted to be able to visit the Mulino di Silvano at Ostia with Farrell Monaco, who has studied, and brought back to life, the canonical bread of Ancient Rome.
She brought the bakery back to life for me. It was a total treat.
- Farrell Monaco’s website is at Tavola Mediterranea and she’s on Twitter and Instagram too.
- Photos taken by me, on site.
- Additional music by staticpony1, messed about with a bit.
- Yes, there is a transcript.
I should add that I edited ruthlessly to fit in a single tweet. The full quote in the transcript, and better yet the words as spoken, make it clear that this was nothing about modern scholarship. But ok.
You didn’t even mention the bisque.
Pliny is less ambiguous than “nobody.”
Also, did you just yada-yada the Naturalis Historia?
We also write that way, don’t we? Pliny (NH,xx) states that ‘yada yada’…
OK. Several of us interpreted that present tense a different way.
And of course I’ve read modern scholarship on the subject. Their books line the walls of my house. My observation was how those people are invisible in ancient Roman documentation and conversation but they’re right there on the bread.
Just to clear this up, I was referring to the literary record… not modern scholarship, when I was saying this. The labourers are represented in archaeology but very scantly in the ancient literary record. They weren’t a frequently covered subject to ancient Roman writers.
Do a bit more research before claiming that nobody has written on a topic or that there’s no historical evidence for it.
The most moving experience I’ve had throughout the research process. ❤️
So good to hear this Jeremy!! Thank you for going down the rabbit hole with me!