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Wine differ in ancient Greece and Rome Essay

1.) How did the use of wine differ from that of beer in ancient Greece and Rome?

A.)Beer was for common folk and wine for the ‘important’ people. Beer was used as a source of barter for tradesmen and was considered an important food source. But beer was a much more different drink then tan it is today and is another answer for another question.

2.) How was wine used by the Greeks?

A.) It was their drink of choice when the water quality couldn’t be guaranteed, a social lubricant, used in games at parties (like kottabos, where the contestants threw the dregs from their wine cups into the wine-mixing bowl from a distance), and for making vinegar.

3.) How and why did wine develop into a form of a status symbol in Greece?

A.) In Greece, beer was considered to be the drink of the “common” folk. Wine became the fancier, more sought after drink that eventually led it to become a sort of status symbol for those who could afford to drink it.

4.) How was wine consumed? What does this tell us about the ancient Greek culture? A.) It was the main beverage in Ancient Greece as the water was often unsafe to drink on its own so the addition of wine, (“drink a little wine for thy stomach’s sake” St Paul to Timothy) helped to kill bacteria. Brewing beer had similar advantages, but grain was scarce in Greece and not to be wasted while grapes, like almonds and olives grow on otherwise useless land. The ancient tales of the coming of wine to Greece with Dionysus are full of warnings of its power, especially as women were associated with the cult. To read between the lines the message seems to be that if you let wine be your master you will be destroyed by women.

The wife will give you hell. Descriptions of Greek drinking parties or “symposiums” tell us that someone was appointed Master of Ceremonies with the task of regulating the ratio of wine to water so that everyone got merry early on and no one got obnoxiously drunk as the party continued. A special mixing dish was used for this purpose.

That this did not always work can be seen by the descriptions the drunken riots of Alcibiades and his aristocratic chums. Even at their best these gatherings were an opportunity to grope attractive young slaves and entertainers, Greek drinking vessels were sealed with pine resin which gave the wine a distinctive taste found today in Retsina. Once flavored with this it is hard to see how one distinguished between good and bad vintages, but like the iodine flavored island whiskies it is an acquired taste.

5.) How did the use of wine differ from that of beer in ancient Greece and Rome? A.)As Rome entered its golden age of winemaking and era of expansion, the “democratic” view of wine started to emerge in Roman culture with wine being viewed as a necessity for everyday life and not just a luxury meant to be enjoyed by a few as the Greeks believed. Romans believed that even slaves should have a weekly ration of over a gallon (5 liters) of wine a week.

However the reasons was more for the dietary health of the slaves and maintenance of their strength rather their personal enjoyment. Should a slave become sick and unavailable to work, doctors would advise cutting his rations in half to conserve wine for the workforce. It was this view that led to widespread planting in order to serve the need of all classes. Part of this was due to the changing Roman diet. In the 2nd century BC, Romans started moving away from a diet that consisted of the moist porridge and gruel to more bread-based meals. Wine became a necessity to help in eating the drier bread.

6.)What is the relationship between wine and empire, wine and culture, and wine and religion.


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