Article

baking, Roman

Jared T. Benton

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics


Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.8055

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  • Economic History
  • History of Science and Technology
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology

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The earliest Roman bakers almost certainly made bread for their own households, but not for sale to the public. Pliny the Elder tells us in his Natural History (18.28) that among the quirites of Rome’s past, women baked the family’s bread, an observation he bases on comparisons with contemporary non-Roman peoples. Yet modes of domestic production were probably as diverse as the families themselves; early terracotta figurines from the eastern Mediterranean show women, men, and children all participating in the production of bread (Fig. 1).Moreover, the figurine shows both milling and baking, processes that remained interlinked until the end of antiquity. Even later commercial bakers seem also to have been millers. Medieval bakers, however, rarely milled their own grain. To some extent, this resulted from the advent of new technologies such as watermills and windmills, but the watermill, at least, was available from the 1st century bce onward (Vitr.

Keywords: baking; bakers; bakeries; pistor; pistrinum; bread; commercialisation; specialisation

Article.  3384 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History ; History of Science and Technology ; Greek and Roman Archaeology

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