Roman Fungi

Cathouse at vir.com Cathouse at vir.com
Mon Nov 18 15:45:40 EST 1996

I have been trying to find primary source information about the various
species of fungi consumed by the ancient Romans.  The copy of Apicius'
Cookery book which I have been consulting lists recipes for truffles
(tubera), tree fungi (fungi farnei), and mushrooms (boletos, boleti). 
The translator has rendered boletos as simply "mushroom" but mentions
that there is some dispute as to whether "boletos" refers to the common
agaric or whether it refers to Caesar's mushroom (Amanita caesarea). I
am puzzled by this as my initial thought was that it referred to Boletus
edulis which remain one of the most popular mushrooms in Italy.  Is
there a taxonomist out there who knows the solution to my problem?  If
"boletos" in primary sources does refer to Boletus edulis can anyone
tell me what the ancient Romans called Amanita caesarea?  Any
information at all related to this would be very much appreciated and
can either be posted or better yet e-mailed to: Cathouse at vir.com
Thanks, Judith.

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