Apicius is a collection of Roman cookery recipes, usually thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD and written in a language that is in many ways closer to Vulgar than to Classical Latin.
The name "Apicius" had long been associated with excessively refined love of food, from the habits of an early bearer of the name, Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmet and lover of refined luxury who lived sometime in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Tiberius. He is sometimes erroneously asserted to be the author of the book that is pseudepigraphically attributed to him.
Apicius is a text to be used in the kitchen. In the earliest printed editions, it was most usually given the overall title De re coquinaria ("On the Subject of Cooking") and attributed to an otherwise unknown Caelius Apicius, an invention based on the fact that one of the two manuscripts is headed with the words "API CAE".
Apicius is the title of the oldest surviving Roman cookbook, usually said to have been compiled in the 4th or 5th century AD.
Apicius may also refer to:
- Apicius (1st century BC) - lived during the Roman Republic
- Marcus Gavius Apicius - the second and most famous, lived at the time of the emperor Tiberius
- Apicius (2nd century AD) - lived at the time of the Emperor Trajan
- The name also occurs in the title Apici Excerpta ("Extracts from Apicius") of a completely different Latin cookbook attributed to Vinidarius
- Restaurant Apicius - Dutch Michelin-starred restaurant
- Prix Apicius - French award for cookbook
Apicius (1st century BC)
Apicius is the name of a Roman lover of luxury who lived in the 90s BC and was said to have outdone all his contemporaries in lavish expenditure. According to Poseidonius, Apicius was responsible for the banishment from Rome of Rutilius Rufus, who was the author of a history of Rome written in Greek and was notable for the modesty of his entertaining.
As Tertullian observes, this early Apicius gave his name to a series of later gourmets and cooks, notably Marcus Gavius Apicius and a slightly later Apicius who lived in the 2nd century AD. Apicius was not transmitted as a family name, but was apparently applied as a nickname, meaning "gourmand". For the same reason, the name of Apicius was eventually thought appropriate for a cookbook, and as such was applied both to the late Roman cookery text currently known as Apicius and to the quite different and much briefer Excerpta Apicii ("Abridged Apicius") ascribed to Vinidarius.
Apicius (2nd century AD)
According to the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus, Apicius is the name of a cook who found a way of packing fresh oysters to send to the emperor Trajan while he was on campaign in Mesopotamia around 115 AD. The information comes by way of the Epitome or summary of the Deipnosophists, since the full text of this part of Athenaeus's work does not survive. If the information is correct, this is the third known Roman food specialist who was named Apicius, the earliest being the luxury-loving Apicius of the 1st century BC.
The late Roman cookbook Apicius gives a recipe for preserving oysters. This is possibly the only detail in which the cookbook has a relationship with historical information about any of the people named Apicius.