There are so many meanings attributed to it, sacred bread, secular bread, ordinary bread, daily bread, bread as a great metaphor for humanity.
Who invented bread?
Cereals (barley and wild wheat seeds, ancestors of domesticated wheat) were broken, shelled, crushed and sieved. This flour was then mixed with water to form a dough to be cooked on embers or hot stones. Such complexity makes us think of the need to "design" foods that were more nutritious and easier to preserve than those available in nature.
Bread as a sacred object and a metaphor for transformation
They had discovered the "magical" effects of fermentation, what would later be called "natural leavening".
The idea of bread was in fact closely linked to the fruitfulness of the land. The grain of wheat was inscribed in the heart of the mysteries of Eleusis, a city west of Athens, where pilgrims came from all over the Mediterranean perimeter. At the centre of the agricultural rites celebrated in the sanctuary of Demeter, there was the symbolic death of the wheat seed that, once buried in the depths of the earth, germinated to donate a new ear.
Making bread is an art
The most prized and best flours of all are those of barley, all carefully sieved, whiter than ether and snow. If the gods eat barley flour, Hermes goes there and buys it for them.
It seems that it was the Greek prisoners captured in Macedonia who brought the secret of baking to Rome. The question was sometimes so great that, when wheat was missing in Italy, it was imported from Egypt and North Africa. With the Romans the first bakeries were built, during the empire of Augustus there were 329, all managed by the Greeks. Under Trajan, there is the category of millers and then that of bakers bakers: gathered in corporations whose rights are guaranteed by the emperor, are named pistores, a name taken from the French bakers (pestores) until the ninth century.
Bread at the base of the social contract
Bread in modern times
Bread has had and still has a great economic and social role. The history of bread has always been intertwined with that of the poorest and most painful part of the population, which struggles and works to get it.