More Roman luxuries: additions to Empire of Pleasures
Amyclaean mackerel and Fundan wine
[page 46] The traveller followed the shore of the Bay of Amunclae, named after a deserted city (often the spelling is Amyclae, with an attractively classical echo of the name of a town near Sparta; the epithet tacitae Amyclae 'quiet Amyclae' truly belongs to its namesake). Its place was taken by Fundi, scarcely noisier, its only economic role having been to ship the local wine of the Ager Caecubum.
I might have mentioned the mackerel of Amyclae, and the modest fame of Fundan wine (four literary references and four inscriptions: details now in my Food in the Ancient World from A to Z).
The prawns of the river Liris
[page 47] ... the clear waters of shady Liris ... meandered through the realm of the goddess Marica, silva Maricae 'the wood of Marica', palus Maricae 'the marsh of Marica' ... and just here was the market town of Minturnae.
I now see that the squillae of the Liris mouth (Martial 13.83) must be the very karides of Minturnae so beloved of Apicius (Epitome of Athenaios, 7a). The Latin and Greek words both mean 'prawn'; I wonder if a particular species is identified nowadays as typical of the mouth of the Garigliano?
Here's the full set of updates to Empire of Pleasures.
The aromatic herbs of Circeii: an addition to Empire of Pleasures
[page 41] ... the old hill town Circeii. It was supposed to be named after Circe, daughter of the Sun, the witch of Homer's Odyssey. On these hills her magical herbs had been picked; here Nereids and nymphs worked in her palace, sorting herbs and flowers into baskets under her direction. If Circeii did not fit their metre, poets felt free to call the place Circe instead ...
The link of Kirke to Circeii was already known as a local Italian belief to Theophrastos in Athens in the late 4th century BC; aromatic bay and myrtle grew there abundantly (Theophrastos, Study of Plants 5.8.3, cf. Pliny, Natural History 15.119). Elsewhere (9.15.1) Theophrastos quotes a line of Aischylos, 'the Etruscan race, a medicine-making people'.For the complete set of updates to Andrew Dalby's Empire of Pleasures look at the new page Empire of Pleasures Extra.