Peter Jones

An Ancient Stew

Around the Roman Table

By

Macmillan 371pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

WE CLASSICISTS SPEND a lot of our time taking things on trust, without quite knowing how they can be true. The use of olive oil provides a good example. Every book on the ‘Amazing Ancients’ reports that olive oil was a multi-purpose product, used for lighting, cooking and cleaning and for making perfumes, cosmetics and medicines. Until now it has always been the last use that has had me baffled, but Patrick Faas explains all, and embarrassingly obvious it is too.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,