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There were no bakers at Rome until1 the war with King Perseus, more than five hundred and eighty years after the building of the City. The ancient Romans used to make their own bread, it being an occupation which belonged to the women, as we see the case in many nations even at the present day. Plautus speaks of the artopta, or bread-tin, in his Comedy of the Alularia,2 though there has been considerable discussion for that very reason among the learned, whether or not that line really belongs to him. We have the fact, too, well ascertained, in the opinion of Ateius Capito, that the cooks in those days were in the habit of making the bread for persons of affluence, while the name of "pistor"3 was only given to the person who pounded, or "pisebat," the spelt. In those times, they had no cooks in the number of their slaves but used to hire them for the occasion from the market. The Gauls were the first to employ the bolter that is made of horse-hair; while the people of Spain make their sieves and meal-dressers of flax,4 and the Egyptians of papyrus and rushes.

1 Which ended A.U.C. 586.

2 A. ii. s. 9, 1. 4. "Ego hine artoptam ex proxumo utendam peto." It is thought by some commentators, that the word used by Pliny here was, in reality, "Artoptasia," a female baker; and that he alludes to a passage in the Aulularia, which has now perished.

3 Which in Pliny's time signified "baker."

4 The Stipa tenacissima of Linnæus, Fée says; or else the Lygeum spartum of Linnæus.

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