"By Hercules! The More Common the Wine, the More Wholesome!" Science and the Adulteration of Food and Other Natural Products in Ancient Rome

August 2002

Issue: 57 Food and Drug Law Journal 573-602 (2002)

Trade in foods, spices, drugs and aromatic perfumes brought natural products to Ancient Rome from the Mediterranean region and beyond. These commodities were often subject to adulteration, and many Romans recognized the economic and health dangers posed by such tampering. The Roman legal and scientific systems had ways of recognizing and addressing such adulterations. Although modern science has discarded many analyses the Romans used to detect adulterations, several ancient techniques remain useful today.


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