The challenging part of researching these early pies is most of us rely on translators of original texts.These can vary according to scholarly proficiency and educated interpretation.Moreover, there are several editions of ancient texts and recipe numbers/titles do not always match.
Deinde farinam oleo subactam contexes et ei corium reddis et cum farina cocta fuerit, eximas furno ut est et inferes." Boil the ham with a large number of dried figs and 3 bay leaves. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6, and bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden. 268) "Pastry dough: Roman pastry dough was made with lard or olive oil rather than butter. Spelt flour needs rather less fat than wheat flour.
254) "If the basic concept of 'a pie' is taken to mean a mixture of ingredients encased and cooked in pastry, then proto-pies were made in the classical world and pies certainly figured in early Arab cookery.
But those were flat affairs, since olive oil was used as the fat in the pastry and will not produce upstanding pies; pastry made with olive oil is 'weak' and readily slumps." ---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 2nd edition, Tom Jaine editor [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2006 (p.
In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil.
When combined with ground grains, it produced a rudimentary type of pastry.