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Apicius in the 15th and 16th centuries: manuscripts, books and the circulation of medical and food knowledge

Grant number: 14/00918-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): May 19, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal Investigator:Leila Mezan Algranti
Grantee:Wanessa Asfora Nadler
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):14/21413-4 - Apicius in the 15th and 16th centuries: manuscripts, printed books and the circulation of medical/dietary knowledge - the Apiciana northern Italian textual tradition, BE.EP.PD


The cookbook attributed to Apicius, traditionally known as De re coquinaria, is a reference when it comes to subjects concerning food from the past. However, despite this celebrity, the specificities of its existence in different contexts of production and circulation require further study by historians. The Apiciana textual tradition holds twenty manuscripts (three medieval, sixteen from the Renaissance and one from seventeenth century) and its first printed editions dates back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Renaissance appears therefore undeniably interwoven with the history of Apician texts. The problem of this research concerns precisely this "rebirth" in the context of humanism, especially the Italian part of the movement. This problem was already announced in my doctoral thesis on Apicius and the High Middle Ages, however, on that occasion, it was not carried forward. More specifically, the present research work with the hypothesis that the Renaissance humanists, although driven by different forces from those of the intellectuals of the eighth and ninth centuries, somehow, remained trapped in a dietetical logical for classification and understanding the Apician cookbook. Thus, as a general goal, I will seek to investigate how medical and cooking dimensions - and therefore the notions of food and medicine - were articulated around Apician texts and men involved in their copying, reproduction and circulation throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

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