Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Greeks and the Romans on Alcohol

Wine and Beer in Antiquity

"When men drink, then they are rich and successful and win lawsuits and are happy and help their friends. Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever."

"I like best the wine drunk at the cost of others."

"Persians are quite devoted to drinking wine….”                                                                   

“We should not drink like the Carmani… These people, namely, eager to prove their friendship in their drinking bouts, open the veins of the forehead, and mixing the blood which streams down in their wine, they imbibe it, in the belief that to taste each other’s blood is the highest proof of friendship.”

“The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.”

“This is the great evil in wine, it first seizes the feet; it is a cunning wrestler.”

 “Wine prepares the heart for love unless you take too much.”

“Three bowls only do I mix for the temperate—one to health, which they empty first, the second to love and pleasure, the third to sleep. When this is drunk up wise guests go home. The fourth bowl is ours no longer, but belongs to violence; the fifth to uproar, the sixth to drunken reveal, the seventh to black eyes.”
Dionysus, by way of Eubulus

 “The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learnt to cultivate the olive and the vine.”                                             

 “…the Egyptians became fond of wine and bibulous; and so a way was found among them to help those who could not afford wine, namely, to drink that made from barley; they who took it were so elated that they sang, danced, and acted in every way like persons filled with wine.”


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1 comment:

Lee Weber said...

I live in SE Europe, near the site of old Roman and Greek cities. I can tell you that the culture of today in Macedonia is very much about sharing intimacy through alcohol; it is something that men do together. Drinking is pretty much taboo for women in modern times, and I don't find mention of women in antiquity drinking alcohol in your quotes, either.

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