Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 February 2021


  • Robert Browning


Anthimus was a Greek doctor attached to the court of the emperor Zeno (ce 474–91) who was involved in treasonable relations with the Ostrogothic king *Theoderic (2) Strabo in 481. He fled Roman territory and took refuge in Italy at the court of *Theoderic (1) the Great, who later sent him on a diplomatic mission to the Franks. He wrote some time after 511 a short Latin handbook of *dietetics—De observatione ciborum ad Theodoricum regem Francorum epistula. The interest of this curious text, half medical textbook, half cookery book, is twofold: first, it provides a detailed and vivid picture of the eating and drinking habits of a Germanic people of the Völkerwanderung: beer and mead are drunk for pleasure, wine as a medicine; second, since Anthimus learnt his Latin from the lips of the common people and had no contact with the literary and grammatical tradition, the De observatione ciborum is a specimen of the popular Latin of late antiquity, deviating from classical norms in vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, and of great value to the Romance philologist.

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription