Evaluating foodstuff properties in antiquity : a hierarchy of breads in De alimentorum Facultatibus : proposed by an ancient scientist

Title: Evaluating foodstuff properties in antiquity : a hierarchy of breads in De alimentorum Facultatibus : proposed by an ancient scientist
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2019, vol. 24, iss. 1, pp. 41-59
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
When approaching the nature of things, Galen of Pergamon tends to use an analytic process based on the relation between different elements interacting in a particular system. With respect to ancient eating habits and health, this way of collecting information and formulating hypotheses has some potential for generating hierarchies and is attested to in De alimentorum facultatibus I, in which foodstuffs are evaluated considering the particular result expected for a subject's metabolism. This paper aims to describe the manner in which a hierarchical construction is made in respect to the qualities of bread. In order to understand how such a method serves Galen's science, it offers a systematization of his commentaries and notes on different kinds of bread and their nutritional properties in the equation: human body condition + (cereal + type of processing) = body reaction.
  • The research for this paper was supported by fellowship SFRH/BD/93806/2013 from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.
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