An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

Exactly where would spices fall into this, as vegetables, and therefore fake meat, or as flavorings?
Or even cheese. Romans not having cheese on their pizza seems like the ultimate travesty.

It pleases me immensely that the social construct of pineapple on pizza got incorporated into this timeline as an insult. As a New Yorker it's just so profoundly satisfying.
And one that ultimately makes sense, given how pineapples were grown as a symbol of royalty and wealth. No doubt it would've been an egregious affront to any Roman noble.

So no greek souvlaki..i am somewhat disappointed
Wouldn't souvlaki survive though? It predates the POD and it might live on as a popular fast food (albeit in a changed form) along with pizza and other foodstuffs.
 
Or even cheese. Romans not having cheese on their pizza seems like the ultimate travesty.


And one that ultimately makes sense, given how pineapples were grown as a symbol of royalty and wealth. No doubt it would've been an egregious affront to any Roman noble.


Wouldn't souvlaki survive though? It predates the POD and it might live on as a popular fast food (albeit in a changed form) along with pizza and other foodstuffs.
Not really modern souvlaki dates back to the 1950s in beoteia
 

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I don't necessarily desire a superpower Rome, but at least a strong local power with not necessarily the power projection of superpowers. But no superpower could easily invade them or push them around ya know?
 
Although I love the updates by @Basileus444 (after all this TL is the first I have ever followed in this site), I am a little bit confused and not persuaded by the story of the Roman pizza. First of all, it is highly impractical to have a pizza with only meat on it; most people at that time would eat meat very rarely, perhaps not even once a month. By having a meat-only pizza, it would be consumed mostly by the more wealthy part of the society and it would not have such a popular appeal.
Secondly we are not being told why the Roman pizza was produced only with meat on it. We are being told the meaning it obtained afterwards, but not how it started to be produced like that. Don't forget that the original pizza did not have any meat on it.
Finally, as in everything else in the wonderful universe of the Roman world of @Basileus444 , I would expect a multitude of local variations of pizza to exist, according to the resources and the gastronomic tradition of each area of the Empire.

I am extremely curious to see how the Cypriot cuisine will evolve in this TL with the Sudanese element, my Cypriot mother would have many questions...
 
Pizza with no basil or rocket or cheese? Not even the honourary meats like egg or mushroom? Shameful. Between this and no potatoes, Roman cuisine is shaping up to be a true cultural wasteland. XD
 
I'm sure everyone can tell what I was craving when I wrote this update. Based on the comments, I felt some adjustments and additions were warranted and to be significant enough to be put in the update proper rather than just in a response. So the below has been added to the original update:

The rules were fairly simple. Pizza was never to be consumed alone, as it is often consumed in modern western countries. It was to be accompanied by a salad or fruit or both. But these vegetables and fruit were side dishes, and could only be side dishes. Fruit or vegetables absolutely could not be on the pizza itself, the only exceptions being the contents and bases of the sauce, cheese, and any seasonings. In this range there was much variation with types of cheeses, sauces, and seasonings, but in terms of toppings as one would order in a restaurant, only types of meat were allowed. (There was some regional variation in what counted as meat, specifically types of seafood and eggs, for this purpose. Cyprus, Crete, and the Pontic Coast also included mushrooms, onions, and later bell peppers as ‘meat’ for this purpose, which the rest of the Roman world simply took as unnecessary confirmation that those Romans were weird.)

It should further be noted that for many Roman pizza-consumers at this time, this was largely a non-issue given the expense of meat. Many pizza-consumers were eating what would today be considered a simple cheese pizza with no additional toppings, although they experimented with seasonings and sauces. However this factor also helps explain the strength of the pizza etiquette at this time. For the vast majority of Romans, eating pizza with meat toppings would be a special event, possibly marking a significant event and done in public. In that context, keeping etiquette, avoiding shame, and avenging insults was especially important. (This also explains the relative weakening in later times, when eating meat is more commonplace, and thus pizza becomes less of a special event and more likely to be something to be eaten on a meet with friends.)

How or why these specific rules arose, as well as their practically-universal adoption, is a mystery. It does seem to have originated in Constantinople and then exported to the provinces. Some believe its origins lie in nothing else than the personal preferences of Demetrios Sideros, or perhaps that of Empress Jahzara. There is an apocryphal story of a cook trying to serve her pizza with pineapple on it, and her responding with ordering the removal of his tongue. That was either an extreme overreaction, or a sign that she was a champion of justice. Opinions differ on that to this day.

In this possible explanation, the meat-only pizza was simply a personal taste of the Imperial family, which was then copied by senior officials, and then by their juniors first in the capital and then in the provinces. The social rationale for the customs came later, as a way of explaining this seemingly random pickiness.
 
Once again I’m affirmed in my love for Crete. Even in alternate timelines it beats the rest of Greece/Rhomania. Pizza without mushrooms is a work in progress at best.
 
Because it ain't meat. Otherwise, mushrooms would be counted since it's just protein, despite being fungi.

It's just funny imagining a Roman accepting a pizza with just anchovy but not an American combo. 🤣
Cheese was considered a "white meat" along with butter for a long time, not until post WWII did our concept of them change as a "non-meat".
 

Vince

Monthly Donor
On one hand, the Sicilian in me is horrified by how the Greekified pizza turned out.

On the other hand, the lactose-intolerant part of me is intrigued.
 
(There was some regional variation in what counted as meat, specifically types of seafood and eggs, for this purpose. Cyprus, Crete, and the Pontic Coast also included mushrooms, onions, and later bell peppers as ‘meat’ for this purpose, which the rest of the Roman world simply took as unnecessary confirmation that those Romans were weird.)
Okay we've got petty judgements based on regional pizza differences now, we're back on a stable timeline! :p
 
The catch-all Roman term for sub-Saharan Africans that are not Ethiopians.
On that note, have the actual Sudanese also adopted any Ethiopian identity? And denizens of Somalia and the Swahili Coast too?

Maybe a distinction will be made for the Kongolese once more contact and stronger trade links have been forged with Kongo and it becomes more economically and politically significant.

Ps no Egyptian or Rhomaion in the East Greek varieties yet?
Pps maybe an Adriatic Greek variety for Venice/Dalmatians in the future?
 
On that note, have the actual Sudanese also adopted any Ethiopian identity? And denizens of Somalia and the Swahili Coast too?

Maybe a distinction will be made for the Kongolese once more contact and stronger trade links have been forged with Kongo and it becomes more economically and politically significant.

Ps no Egyptian or Rhomaion in the East Greek varieties yet?
Pps maybe an Adriatic Greek variety for Venice/Dalmatians in the future?
I'd imagine atleast Rhomania in the East would likely primarily speak local languages and/or creole and use the Imperial dialect for official affairs (seeing as it's the most prestigious one and would be a second or third language for most people there).
 
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