(Redirected from Main Page)
Jump to: navigation, search


It is basically an interactive online searchable database of culinary words & contexts for Classical, Medieval, Renaissance and other period scholars and researchers in the fields of Language, History, and Food Studies.

Our project has two primary goals.

The first is to create a complete digital Thesaurus of Classical Latin Food Words from Cato the Elder [1] to Isidore of Seville [2].

The second is to display the history of European Food Words in an approachable easy-to-use layout (thanks, GNU people!) of an online Thesaurus and bring to light the exciting links that mostly exist unappreciated between, say, an ancient Greek word and a modern Hungarian one. This will probably take us the rest of our lives to achieve but at least we'll keep trying. We are currently mostly working on the words that have some Classical Antiquity connections, but hopefully we'll be able to take our cause further sometime soon.

Recently a visual counterpart has been devised, a special project Food Images in Antiquity [3] we have started running on Wikiversity, a database of food images from Antiquity (details of mosaics, frescoes etc.) paired with respective and more or less contemporary food quotations, relevant excerpts from Martial, Apicius, Pliny the Elder and so on. This has now evolved into a collective project called FiAR, Food in Ancient Rome: Interdisciplinary Digital Database of Food Images, Texts, and Archaeological Records currently residing here [4]


The project is called GASTEREA after Brillat-Savarin’s Muse of Culinary Art. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin [5] was a French gastronome who wrote a ground-breaking book called Physiology of Taste (Physiologie du Gout, Paris, 1825) on all things gastronomic. In fact, Brillat-Savarin, very much a man of his time, didn't exactly follow the original Classical rules in choosing a name for his Muse - had he done so, the spelling would have been Gastrea. Thus we think it is a very fitting name indeed for our project: it symbolizes its joint & interdisciplinary nature, as it lies in the province of both Classical Antiquity and Food History, and it also depicts the inevitable twisting of forms and meanings of words that occurs with the passage of time.

Who we are

The principal investigator and instigator of the GASTEREA project is Alexandra (Sasha) Grigorieva, PhD in Classics, food and wine writer, former research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. She works in corroboration with an international team of scholars some of which hail from Interdepartmental Centre for Anthropological Study of Ancient Cultures, University of Siena, Italy, chaired by Prof. Maurizio Bettini.

Contact us

Nothing is simpler. Just drop us an e-mail [6]!

Personal tools