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Marcus Gavius Apicius

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Marcus Gavius Apicius was a notorious Roman gourmet and lover of luxury who lived in the 1st century AD. He is the alleged author of the cook book Apicius. Seneca the Younger said that Apicius wrote two cookery books, a general recipe book, and a specialist work on sauces. Isidorus, a late writer, said that Apicius was the first author in the ancient world to write a cookery book. There is in fact no early evidence that Apicius was an author. The book was actually compiled about 300 years later.

He was the subject of On the Luxury of Apicius, a famous work, now lost, by the Greek grammarian Apion. Marcus Gavius Apicius apparently owed his cognomen (his third name or "nickname") to an earlier Apicius, who lived around 90 BC, whose family name it may have been. If this is true, Apicius had come to mean "gourmand" as a result of the fame of this earlier lover of luxury.

Evidence for the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius was derived partly from contemporary or almost-contemporary sources but is partly filtered through the above-named work by Apion, whose purpose was presumably to explain the names and origins of luxury foods, especially those anecdotally linked to Apicius.

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