Tag Archives: Ancient Rome

Make an Ancient Roman Dessert..I Challenge You

Posted on 04. Feb, 2016 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

Oh how I have missed writing! I am sorry that I have written in a while, but I’m back. Today we are going to ease back into the Roman world and Latin. I am trying something new for 2016. I will be posting bucketlist post every once in a while to inform readers and followers of unique things they can do to really live up 2016!

Today, February 3, is also National Carrot Cake Day! So, I decided that today’s blog should be one about a dessert.


The following recipe is from Apicius’ De re coquinaria (“On the Subject of Cooking”)

The Apicius manuscript (ca. 900 CE) of the monastery of Fulda in Germany, which was acquired in 1929 by the New York Academy of Medicine

The Apicius manuscript (ca. 900 CE) of the monastery of Fulda in Germany, which was acquired in 1929 by the New York Academy of Medicine

Patina  de piris* [ Pan/Stew/Cake of Pears; literally pan /stew/cake from pears]

Pear Mosaic

Pear Mosaic

Pira elixa et purgata e medio teres** cum pipere, cumino, melle, passo, liquamine, oleo modico. Ovis missis patinam facies**, piper super aspargis**et inferes**.

Boiled pears and having been purged or cleaned from its middle (i.e seeds, pit, etc.) you will grind with pepper, cumin, honey , wine, broth, and a little oil. Having been mixed with eggs, you will make a pan/stew/cake, spread or sprinkle with pepper and serve.

*piris is an ablative as evident from de, but it could be debated the type of ablative. Ablative of origin, source, means, etc.

** Great examples of the 2nd singular future that you don’t see that often, but this make sense for a directions. It is interesting that it isn’t an imperative.


Well, in all honestly, this is more like a custard or pudding made out of pears. While this recipe is very simple, but it doesn’t say anything about cooking, time, amounts, etc.. That doesn’t really work well for our modern day thinking…so I have provided everyone with a up-to-date recipe (here) with directions.


Monthly Latin Spotlight Text: Aeneid

Posted on 21. Oct, 2015 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Name: Aeneid (Latin:)

Also Known As:  N/A

Date: 29 B.C.E and 19 B.C.E

Author(s): Publius Vergilius Maro

Depiction of Virgil, 3rd century AD .Courtesy of WikiCommons, Giorces, Mattes.

Depiction of Virgil, 3rd century AD
.Courtesy of WikiCommons, Giorces, Mattes.

Type of Text: Epic Poem

Genre: Latin Epic Poetry, Mythology, Foundation Story,

Content: A foundation story similar to Iliad and Odyssey that highlights the adventures and journeys of the Greco-Roman hero Aeneid. The piece is thought to be part of Augustan propaganda to the greatness of Rome and the Julio-Claudian family.

Type of Latin:  Classical Latin

Distinguishing Features: (1). It comprises 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter. (2). The Aeneid is a cornerstone of the Western canon, and early (at least by the 2nd century AD) became one of the essential elements of a Latin education, usually required to be memorized.

Where is it today:

There are no original surviving copies.

The Vergilius Vaticanus (Cod. Vat. lat. 3225, also known as the Vatican Virgil) is a manuscript containing fragments of Virgil’s Aeneid and Georgics made in Rome in about 400. It is one of the oldest surviving copies of the text.


In Pop Culture:

The Opera- Dido & Aeneas by Purcell.

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On a personal note, I was writing a play adaptation of the Aeneid set in a post-apocalyptic time period.



Aeneid by Virgil in Latin (here).


Aeneid by Virgil in English (here).


Pop Culture + Antiquity

Posted on 10. Sep, 2015 by in Roman culture

Salvette Omnes!

This week we will be discussing pop culture and antiquity. The everlasting influence of antiquity can be still be felt in our modern culture, particularly, popular culture. Television shows, movies, and other mediums of entertainment have included ancient mythology and culture for generations. What are most interesting, however, are the examples of references made to ancient times and that are served without exposition.

Even without explaining the references story writers continue to incorporate ancient ideas quietly into pop culture, even into movies or shows that have very little to do with antiquity. Here are some examples you might have missed:


  1. The Simpsons
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The Simpsons might have had a few classically themed episodes, including the episode featuring Homer as Ulysses in their own version of The Odyssey. But, one of the most fleeting yet deep classical references on the show would be Mr. Burns’ address. The local,  billionaire Mr. Burns happens to live on the corner of Mammon Lane and Croesus St.

What’s the reference? You may ask.

Mammon, in the New Testament of the Bible, is greed or material wealth, and in the Middle Ages was often personified as a deity, and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell. Scholars do not agree about its etymology, but it is theorized that Mammon derives from Late Latin mammon, from Greek”μαμμωνάς mammonas“, Syriac mámóna (“riches”), Aramaic mamon (“riches, money”), a loanword from Mishnaic Hebrew ממון (mamôn) meaning money, wealth, or possessions.

In Greek and Persian cultures the name of Croesus became a synonym for a wealthy man. Croesus’ wealth remained proverbial beyond classical antiquity: in English, expressions such as “rich as Croesus” or “richer than Croesus” are used to indicate great wealth to this day. Croesus is credited with issuing the first true gold coins with a standardized purity for general circulation.

2. Futurama

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Seen in the episode “Crimes of the Hot” is the indulgent automaton Hedonismbot. The name alone could remind one of certain circles in Antiquity but the overall design of the robot is certainly, yet never blatantly explained, to remind the viewer of a certain god of wine and pleasure- Bacchus. In the clip above, Hedonism bot sponsors an opera, which is reminiscent of the delegations of theater the Roman god Bacchus has.

Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure is the primary or most important intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain). This school of thought was practiced as a type of philopsphy one should live their life around not only during Greek times, but Ancient Roman times as well.


At one point or another you might have heard kids yell the word “Shazam!” with the same enthusiasm as other comic book sound effects like “Kapow!” To anyone without extensive knowledge of graphic novels it seems like a simple, fun, and made-up word. Although it is made-up its also an acronym using the names of a few entities you might recognize.

The comic hero Billy Batson (also known as Shazam or Captain Marvel)  would yell the word “Shazam!” to invoke powers, specifically, the genius of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the unbreakable will of Atlas, the lightning of Zeus, the power of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. While the clip is a bit silly and retro, it gets the point across!

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*Hercules is Roman version of the name while Herakles is the Greek. Zeus is known as Jupiter in Roman mythology, and Mercury is known as Apollo in Greek mythology. So, SHAZAM actually invokes both Greek and Roman deities alike.

4. Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles (Spoilers Below)

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The Incredibles was an interesting and completely unexplained reference to the myth of Saturn. After some intense investigation one of the main characters discover the name of the main villain’s master plan: “Kronos” or (Greek god: Saturn, Roman god: Saturn).

Painting by Peter Paul Rubens of Cronus / Saturn devouring one of his children

Painting by Peter Paul Rubens of Cronus / Saturn devouring one of his children

Mad with jealousy and a desire “to even” the playing ground (or to be the strongest himself!)  for those of the population without superpowers, the villain created a killing machine to defeat all superheroes. Unexplained to the children in the audience is how this alludes to Saturn’s madness for power that drove him to devour his children to prevent any one of them from growing stronger than himself.


Although it was a cool name, the villain should’ve remembered how it ended for Saturn.

5. MUSIC!- Arcade Fire – Reflektor

We’ve even seen allusions to ancient times in our modern music, such as with Arcade Fire’s album named Reflektor.

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The album cover art is a photograph of Auguste Rodin’s 1893 sculpture “Orpheus and Eurydice”. Two songs in particular, “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” and “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)”, reference the Orpheus myth.

The Orpheus Myth is retold my the Roman poet Ovid in the Metamorphoses. I have written other post on Ovid such as Dating Tips by Ovid and The Original Fan Fiction.

This myth, perhaps not famously remembered by general audiences, is not explained in the lyrics themselves but the story’s romantic and tragic tones can be felt in the songs. The only direct reference is in “Its Never Over (Oh Orpheus)” which starts with the lyrics  “Hey, Orpheus! / I’m behind you / Don’t turn around / I can find you.”

If you are interested in more classical reference in pop culture- check out my post about Disney Mythology vs. Greco-Roman Mythology.