The Delicious Legacy


Welcome back to another episode of our archaogastronomical adventures!

I hope you're all well and healthy and had a lovely Easter.

Today's episode is all about ancient vegetarianism.

And the philosopher Pythagoras is the central figure on all these talk today.

Pythagoras, the father of mathematics, was born and raised in Samos. around 580BCE. He is one of the most acclaimed pre-Socratic philosophers and the Pythagorean Theorem bears his name. Samos is a green island known for its mixed flora, full of mountains and plains. Olive groves are covering most of these plains, since the age of Pythagoras and even before, while the main varieties are the local Ntopia Elia, Koronéiki and Kalamòn. Even though Pythagoras spent more than forty years in his birthplace, he eventually decided to set sail for new seas; his thirst for knowledge led him to travel throughout most of the then known world, most notably Egypt and Babylon, centres of wisdom knowledge and secret mystical rites, before settling down to Croton, a town in Magna Graecia, modern Southern Italy. He may have found pupils to follow him, and welcoming ears to listen to his preaching....

More on the audio if you press play!

Notes for this episode:

Theophrastus (c. 371–287 BCE) was a Peripatetic philosopher who was Aristotle's close colleague and successor at the Lyceum. He wrote many treatises in all areas of philosophy, in order to support, improve, expand, and develop the Aristotelian system. Of his few surviving works, the most important are Peri phytōn historia (“Inquiry into Plants”) and Peri phytōn aitiōn (“Growth of Plants”), comprising nine and six books, respectively.

Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – after 180 AD) was a Roman author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome. He was educated in Athens, after which he returned to Rome.

Diogenes Laërtius was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is a principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy


Porphyry of Tyre (c. 234 – c. 305 AD) was a Phoenician Neoplatonic philosopher born in Tyre, Roman Syria during Roman rule. He edited and published The Enneads, the only collection of the work of Plotinus, his teacher. His commentary on Euclid's Elements was used as a source by Pappus of Alexandria.

He wrote original works on a wide variety of topics, ranging from music to Homer to vegetarianism. His Isagoge, or Introduction, an introduction to logic and philosophy, was the standard textbook on logic throughout the Middle Ages in its Latin and Arabic translations. Through works such as Philosophy from Oracles and Against the Christians (which was banned by Constantine the Great), he was involved in a controversy with early Christians.

His parents named him Malchus ("king" in the Semitic languages) but his teacher in Athens, Cassius Longinus, gave him the name Porphyrius ("clad in purple"), possibly a reference to his Phoenician heritage, or a punning allusion to his name and the color of royal robes. Under Longinus he studied grammar and rhetoric.

Epicurus is one of the major philosophers in the Hellenistic period, the three centuries following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E. (and of Aristotle in 322 B.C.E.). Epicurus developed an unsparingly materialistic metaphysics, empiricist epistemology, and hedonistic ethics.

Plotinus (204/5 – 270 C.E.), is generally regarded as the founder of Neoplatonism. He is one of the most influential philosophers in antiquity after Plato and Aristotle.

Plutarch (ca. 45–120 CE) was a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is known primarily for his Parallel Lives, a series of biographies of illustrious Greeks and Romans, and Moralia, a collection of essays and speeches.

Croton was an ancient Greek colony in Magna Graecia (southern Italy) that was established circa 710 BC. In Greek society, Croton led in Olympic titles, physics, and sobriety, and Pythagoras founded his school in Croton in 530 BC. Crotone, Latin Croton, port town, Calabria regione, southern Italy. It lies along the Gulf of Taranto, northwest of the Cape of Colonne, and east-northeast of Catanzaro. It was known as Cotrone from the Middle Ages until the Italian form of its early name was restored in 1928.


Cylon of Croton was a leading citizen of Croton, who led a revolt against the Pythagoreans, probably around 509 BC. ... After the success of the rebellion, all debts owed were eliminated and property was seized for redistribution; this arguably resulted in Pythagoras being expelled from Croton.


Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of De materia medica —a 5-volume Greek encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances, that was widely read for more than 1,500 years. He was employed as a physician in the Roman army.


Alexis, (born c. 375 bc, Thurii, Lucania [Italy]—died c. 275), one of the foremost writers of Middle and New Comedy at Athens, a low form of comedy that succeeded the Old Comedy of Aristophanes.

Vetch: A member of the pea family, Fabaceae, which forms the third largest plant family in the world with over thirteen thousand species. Of these species, the bitter vetch, was one of the first domesticated crops grown by neolithic people. There are many different vetch species, the purple flowered varieties are all safe to eat.


All Music by Pavlos Kapralos

except under Maltby and Greek promo; Song "Waltz Detuné" by Cloudcub

and under Ancient History Hound ad; Song by Aris Lanaridis

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Imagine yourself dining with Socrates, Plato, or Pythagoras... maybe even Cicero and Julius Caesar...being a soldier marching with Alexander's the Great army in the vast Persian empire discovering new foods... or try and picture the richness of fruits and vegetables in the lush Hanging Gardens of Babylon...what foods did our ancestors ate?

How did all begin? Why am I so hooked on ancient recipes and ingredients? Is the food delicious? Wholesome? Do you need to know? I think so! Recipes, ingredients, ways of cooking. Timeless and continuous yet unique and so alien to us now days. Staple ingredients of the Mediterranean world -as we think now- like tomatoes, potatoes, rice, peppers, didn't exist. What did they eat? We will travel and imagine how it was to eat like a Greek Philosopher in a symposium in Athens, as a Roman Emperor or as a rich merchant in the last night in Pompeii......Lavish dinners, exotic ingredients, barbaric elements, all intertwined...Stay tuned and find out more here, in 'The Delicious Legacy' Podcast!

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