Gastronomy/Food in antiquity/Dates and figs

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Dates and figs fresco from the House of the Deer, Herculaneum [[[Wikipedia:Herculaneum|Herculaneum]]] (before 79 AD, probably 2nd Pompeian style [[[Wikipedia:Pompeian Styles|Pompeian Styles]]] )

KalendisDactyli.jpg

Roman custom of giving dates, figs, honey, and small coins to celebrate the New Year on the 1st of January. Here are dates with small coins and figs on a platter.

Ovid, Fasti 1, 185-190 (published 8 AD)

  • 'quid volt palma sibi rugosaque carica' dixi
  • 'et data sub niveo candida mella cado?'
  • 'omen' ait 'causa est, ut res sapor ille sequatur
  • et peragat coeptum dulcis ut annus iter.'
  • 'dulcia cur dentur video: stipis adice causam,
  • pars mihi de festo ne labet ulla tuo.'

Martial 13, 27 (Xenia, published 84 AD around Saturnalia)

XXVII Petalium caryotarum[edit]

  • Aurea porrigitur Iani caryota Kalendis;
  • Sed tamen hoc munus pauperis esse solet.


  • The golden date is offered during the calends [[[Wikipedia:Calends|calends|Calends|calends]]] of Janus [[[Wikipedia:Janus|Janus|Janus|Janus]]]
  • However this is usually a gift of the poor