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PULS was a thick gruel or porridge made of spelt (far, ador): as regards this grain, see AGRICULTURA Vol. 1. pp. 64 f. We are told that this porridge formed the staple of Roman food in early times in place of bread (Varro, L. L. 5.105; Plin. Nat. 18.83): Pliny adds that for this reason puls was still used in sacred rites (cf. Juv. 16.39; Arnob. 2.21). As it was a national dish of the early Romans, we find pultiphagus in Plaut. Mostell. 818, used to describe a Roman, or “barbarus” (cf. Id. Poen. prol. 54). It remained a common food for the poorer class or those who affected homely fare (Juv. 14.170; Mart. 5.78, 13.8; Ammian. 25.2, 2). This dish of puls must be distinguished from the later introduction polenta, which was made of barley-meal (Plin. Nat. 18.72), and was borrowed from Greece, “videtur tam puls ignota Graeciae fuisse, quam Italiae polenta” (Id. ib. § 84). It was, in fact, the Greek μᾶζα in its more fluid state. The name polenta has now been transferred to a different substitute for puls. It is a stiff porridge of Indian meal, and is at the present [p. 2.526]time a principal food of the peasants in North Italy. (Marquardt, Privatleben, p. 415; Becker-Göll, Gallus, 3.313; Charikles, 2.312.)


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 18.72
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 18.83
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 25.2.2
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 13.8
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.78
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