Archaeologists Collect On-line to Have fun the Historical past of The Mediterranean Food regimen
According to Roman mythology, there were three foods that the gods gave to mankind.
Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, gave an olive tree. Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, gifted wheat. Dionysus gave the vine to the Romans.
While the Mediterranean diet is a combination of factors such as history and necessity, we must also take into account the great passion for food that civilizations of the past have left us.
These three gifts resulted in foods that to this day represent three pillars of the Mediterranean diet: olive oil, bread and wine.
Archaeologists recently gathered online to discuss the history of nutrition and to celebrate the eleventh anniversary of its inclusion on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
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Among the guests of the seminar was the director of the Naples Archaeological Museum, Paolo Giulierini, who took the audience on a journey through ancient sources.
“In the countries of the so-called ‘Mezzaluna fertile ‘- mainly the Mesopotamia region, then neighboring countries like Egypt and the Greek colonies – these three crops have always been a source of wealth and livelihood, “said Giulierini. “Somehow they were them ‘first core of what we call the Mediterranean diet today. “
“Then over the centuries this core has been enriched thanks to the contributions of various communities in the Mediterranean and beyond, ”he added. “For example, we have known foods such as rice, tomatoes and some citrus fruits since the Middle Ages, never before. “
While observing ancient objects and paintings can provide further clues in deciphering the past of the Mediterranean diet, Giulierini warned of some common misinterpretations.
“The everyday dimension was seldom represented in the artistic works that have survived to this day, which often had a solemn or metaphorical meaning, ”he said.
Photo: Mann Museum
“Frescoes depicting banquets laden with exotic fruits, sweets or game were the expression of wealthy elites, ”added Giulierini. “They did not represent the way of life of the largest strata of the population, whose diet was determined more by the phases of agriculture than by free choice. “
“Items for transforming or preserving food found in some Pompeii mansions can tell us a lot about the standard of living of the wealthiest families; nothing about that of the masses, ”he continued.
“We do know, however, that in the Roman world agriculture was the basis for food and nutrition and that fish farming was widespread, ”concluded Giulierini. “Cattle were indispensable for agriculture and animals were needed alive: The consumption of meat was therefore limited to a few exceptional cases. “
See also: Oldest known bottle of olive oil on display in the Museum of Naples
Giulierini’s full report is available in the online gallery with educational and scientific contributions of the Virtual Museum of the Mediterranean Diet, the first digital museum in the world devoted exclusively to the Mediterranean Diet.
The museum was created by MedEatResearch of the University of Suor Orsola Benincasa, an Italian academic research center in Naples specifically dedicated to the Mediterranean diet.
“Our aim is to elucidate the cultural, economic, anthropological, gastronomic, medical, educational and ecological aspects of the Mediterranean diet, ”said Marino Niola, anthropologist and one of the museum’s directors.
“To achieve this, the museum will support our ethnographic research and our studies of longevity through public activities such as seminars and conferences, but also through the provision of videos and ‘living testimonies from local producers, artists, scientists and citizens who are reminiscent of the rural society of the past, ”he added.
Co-director Elisabetta Moro added: “While the Mediterranean diet is a combination of factors such as history and necessity, we must also take into account the great passion for food that civilizations of the past have left us. “
“Over the centuries, this passion has become a defining feature of our society, ”she concluded. “The challenge now is to preserve them and to improve them through a nutritional trail that involves society and, above all, the younger generations. “