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Bill Thayer

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Apicius: De Re Coquinaria

The Text on LacusCurtius

For now, there is no Latin text onsite; the gentle reader is referred to the transcription at Augustana; and see below.

The English translation I'm currently inputting is that by Joseph Dommers Vehling in a very limited edition by Walter M. Hill (1936), which in turn was reprinted by Dover Publications in 1977. It is in the public domain.

The Hill edition, while adequate, is not as good as it could have been, however. It does not provide a Latin text, is said to be based on inferior manuscript tradition, and Vehling's translation is quirky and inconsistent, frequently inserting words with the laudable aim of making better culinary sense but sometimes hardly justified: to his credit, he brackets these insertions, as I note further below. The best full English translation of Apicius seems to be that of Barbara Flower and Elisabeth Rosenbaum, published in 1958. As far as I can tell — still checking — the work was simultaneously published in the UK and the US, and in the US the copyright was not renewed in the appropriate years (1985 or 1986): which, pursuant to current copyright law, and in particular the Uruguay Round Act (URAA), puts the work in the public domain also. If that is the case, I will probably input the Flower/Rosenbaum edition as well, which includes a Latin text.

As usual, I'm retyping the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

The transcription will eventually be subjected to a minute proofreading, of course. In the table of contents below, however, sections that still need proofreading are shown on red backgrounds; proofread sections are given blue backgrounds. The header bar at the top of each webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you still spot an error, please do report it, of course.

Further details on the technical aspects of the site layout follow the Table of Contents.

Introduction
Author's "Review": The Book of Apicius
Latin
Text
English
Translation
Main Subject

I

Book 1

Wines; preservation of various foods. [℞ Nos. 1‑40]

II

Book 2

Minced dishes. [℞ Nos. 41‑65]

III

Book 3

Vegetables. [℞ Nos. 66‑124]

IV

Book 4

Quiches, timbales and related food. [℞ Nos. 125‑177]

V

Book 5

Peas, beans, lentils. [℞ Nos. 178‑209]

VI

Book 6

Fowl. [℞ Nos. 210‑250]

VII

Book 7

Roast meats, mushrooms and truffles, egg dishes. [℞ Nos. 251‑328]

VIII

Book 8

Venison, lamb, pork. [℞ Nos. 329‑396]

IX

Book 9

Seafood. [℞ Nos. 397‑431]

X

Book 10

Sauces for seafood. [℞ Nos. 432‑467]

Excerpts by Vinidarius

Seafood, pork, lamb. [℞ Nos. 468‑499]

Apparatus and Notes

Vehling's edition is amply supplied with footnotes, combining a sort of textual criticism (although giving the readings of modern editions rather than those of the manuscripts) and commentary on the subject matter. I'm reproducing them. As a professional chef, he also fleshes out some of Apicius' stenographic instructions: in [brackets] in the print edition, in color in my Web transcription. I've made a few semi-tacit changes of my own, inserting punctuation in a different color where I felt it was really needed; Vehling's bag of commas and such seems to have run out on him early on.



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The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a colorized version of one of the many original engravings by the author: the thermospodium or chafing dish that serves as his frontispiece to Book III.


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Site updated: 13 May 22