saec. IV (dub.)
The name ‘Apitius Caelius’, which the humanists attributed to the author of recipes collection known as the De re coquinaria, probably originated as an attempt to interpret the form ‘API CAE’, which occurs on the first folio of one of the two oldest manuscripts of this text (V). The editor Vollmer, however, had already refuted the conjecture ‘Caelius’ as part of the author’s name (or indeed as a co-author or collaborator), and had offered the emendation Api<cii arti magiri>cae or opsartyti>cae <libri X>. Although today Vollmer’s conjecture can only be accepted with difficulty on account of its length, critics remain almost unanimous in rejecting ‘Caelius’. ‘Apicius’, however, has enjoyed greater agreement: among the many men known to us with this name, the sources offer much information about a rich patrician who was a master of the culinary arts at Rome during the reign of Tiberius in the first decades of the 1st c. AD. Seneca reports that he transformed cooking into a science and depicts him as a famous spendthrift (Consolatio ad Helviam matrem 10), a reputation confirmed by the elder Pliny at various points in the Historia Naturalis. It was thus in all likelihood this reputation for gluttony and excessive spending that ensured the collection of recipes known as the De re coquinaria circulated under his name, even though the presence of dishes dedicated to or inspired by individuals who lived after the age of Tiberius (e.g. Commodus, Trajan) prove that the collection has many chronological layers. [A. Borgna; tr. C. L. Caterine].