Feast, Fast or Famine: Food and Drink in Byzantium

Edited by W. Mayer and S. Trzcionka

Byzantina Australiensia vol. 15 (Brisbane 2005)

ISBN: 1 876503 18 1; ISSN: 0725-3079

ix + 216 pages

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In recent decades there has been an increasing interest in the study of food and drink in the ancient, Mediaeval and Byzantine worlds and of their supply and consumption.  This volume presents selected papers from the biennial conference of the Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, which was held at the University of Adelaide, 11-12 July 2003.  The theme was food and drink in Byzantium.  Published selectively in the present volume, the papers of the conference are augmented by contributions from international scholars.  While some papers address the use of food directly (children’s diet, fasting) or tangentially (in love spells), or discuss philosophical approaches towards food (vegetarianism), other papers in this volume examine the topic from another perspective: the role and perception of food and drink – and their consumption – in society.  Yet others examine issues of supply (military logistics) and the role it played in shaping Byzantium.  This volume will appeal to readers interested in the history of food, in late antique and Byzantine society, in Byzantine rhetoric, in magic in late antiquity and in the Jews in early Byzantium.


S. Malmberg, Visualising Hierarchy at Imperial Banquets

A.A. Demosthenous, The Scholar and the Partridge: Attitudes Relating to Nutritional Goods in the Twelfth Century from the Letters of the Scholar John Tzetzes

A. Stone, Eustathius and the Wedding Banquet for Alexios Porphyrogennetos

L. Garland, The Rhetoric of Gluttony and Hunger in Twelfth-century Byzantium

D. Dzino, Sabairarius: Beer, Wine and Ammianus Marcellinus

P. Tuffin & M. McEvoy, Steak à la Hun: Food, Drink and Dietary Habits in Ammianus Marcellinus

J. Haldon, Feeding the Army: Food and Transport in Byzantium, ca 600-1100

J. Fitzpatrick, (Not Sailing) to Byzantium: Metropolis, Hinterland and Frontier in the Transformation of the Roman Empire

M. Martin, Communal Meals in the Late Antique Synagogue

S. Weingarten, Children’s Foods in the Talmudic Literature

S. Trzcionka, Calypso’s Cauldron: The Ritual Ingredients of Early-Byzantine Love Spells

K. Parry, Vegetarianism in Late Antiquity and Byzantium: The Transmission of a Regimen

A.N.J. LouvarisFast and Abstinence in Byzantium