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Polenta (Barley Polenta)

Gaius Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis 18.14

Polenta (Barley Polenta)

A hot cereal made with cracked barley, flax seeds, millet, coriander seeds, and salt. To be boiled in patera or iron pot on contubernia grills in castra. Could be made from barley, raisins, and honey as a variant.

Original recipe: Vicenis hordei libris ternas seminis lini et coriandri selibram salisque acetabulum.

Translation: For each 20 librae of barley, 3 librae of linseeds and ½ libra of corriander, in addition to an acetabulum of salt.

Serves 4


  • 12 oz. (340g.) gorund barley
  • 3 tbs. linseeds
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • sufficient salt


  • Boil 1 quart (liter) of water, gradually add the ingredients, and leave to cook for approximately one hour.
  • Add more boiling water if the barley consumes too much.
  • A more flavorful polenta can be obtained by cooking the barley in meat stock or vegetable broth instead of water.
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