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Unguere: To Smear with Oil Lori Kissell FLAVA October 04, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Unguere: To Smear with Oil Lori Kissell FLAVA October 04, 2013."— Presentation transcript:


2 Unguere: To Smear with Oil Lori Kissell FLAVA October 04, 2013

3 Origin Gift of Athena Symbol of Attica/Athens Never most important Attic crop and likely not primary export

4 Production and Uses Production – growing -crushing -pressing -transporting Uses - -light -cooking -bodies -ritual



7 Production Growing: – Lower slopes of Apennines – Spain – Southern Gaul – Greece – Asiatic provinces – coastal Tripolitania and Cyrenaica – African provinces

8 Production Growing – Highly drought-resistant – Sensitive to frost – Usually crop every other year – Cuttings, ovules and grafts – Olives do not grow true to type from seeds – Table/oil varieties – Rarely mono-cultured

9 Production Growing – Combined with pastoralism – Harvested in autumn/winter – Greeks and Romans liked white olives for oil

10 Production Crushing – Packed in salt/saltwater first – Not edible raw – Crush first – Many devices known – Simplest – flat bed and stone roller, pestle, wooden sandals – Best is Roman trapetum



13 Production Crushing – Dont crush stones – add bitter taste – Luxury/quality oil removed stones first or minimal crushing of stones – Machines existed for stone removal, questionable effectiveness – Crushed olives moved to frails, then to presses


15 Production Pressing – Simplest and most common press = beam – Weighted with rocks, human pulling – End fixed in wall as fulcrum – Weight pulled onto crushed olives in frails, pressing oil out




19 Production Pressing -Improvements to beam press incl. winch, lever and drum, better anchoring - Screw 1 st assisted, then replaced beam -Direct screw press replaced beam 1 st C. CE -Possible because of screw, screw nut 3 rd C BCE --Pliny, screw extracts more, risks bitterness


21 Production Pressing – Separate oil and water – Romans ladle from top per Cato (Agr. 66) and Columella (Rust. 12.52-8-12) – Greeks more commonly use bottom spout method – Presscake remains, used for pig food and fertilizer

22 Production Transporting – Most olives raised and consumed locally – Oil keeps better, and is traded – Luxury oils for quality, taste, added flavorings traded like vintage wine

23 Production Transporting – Attica, Samos, Venafrum, Baetica, Cyrenaica all famous for oil – Stored and transported in large jars (dolia/pithoi) – Sold in amphorae – 2/3 sherds in Mt. Testaccio are olive oil amphorae – Peak in trade 140-165 CE

24 Uses Light – Lamps were pottery, bronze, gold, silver, iron, lead, ceramic – Single or multiple nozzle styles – Freestanding or suspended – Smokeless or minimal smoke


26 Uses Cooking – Roman recipes abound with olive oil – Dunk (morning) bread – Infuse with flavors – herbs? decadent?

27 Uses Bodies – Baths and strigils – Skin oils

28 Uses Bodies -Perfumes

29 Uses Bodies – Medicaments

30 Uses Ritual -Oil from sacred trees (moriai) given as prizes in Panathenaic Games

31 Uses Ritual -Libations

32 Uses Roman wedding – Anoint couples new door with oil-soaked wool


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