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Ancient Rome and wine

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A Roman statue of Bacchus, god of wine (c. 150 AD, copied from a Hellenistic original, Prado, Madrid).
A Roman statue of Bacchus, god of wine (c. 150 AD, copied from a Hellenistic original, Prado, Madrid).

Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences on the viticulture of the Italian peninsula can be traced to ancient Greeks and the Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw both technological advances in and burgeoning awareness of winemaking, which spread to all parts of the empire. Rome's influence has had a profound effect on the histories of today's major winemaking regions in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The Roman belief that wine was a daily necessity made the drink "democratic" and ubiquitous; in various qualities, it was available to slaves, peasants and aristocrats, men and women alike. To ensure the steady supply of wine to Roman soldiers and colonists, viticulture and wine production spread to every part of the empire. The economic opportunities presented by trading in wine drew merchants to do business with tribes native to Gaul and Germania, bringing Roman influences to these regions even before the arrival of the Roman military.[1] Evidence of this trade and the far-reaching ancient wine economy is most often found through amphorae – ceramic jars used to store and transport wine and other commodities.[2]

The works of Roman writers – most notably Cato, Columella, Horace, Catullus, Palladius, Pliny, Varro and Virgil – have provided insight into the role played by wine in Roman culture as well as contemporary understanding of winemaking and viticultural practices.[3] Many of the techniques and principles first developed in ancient Roman times can be found in modern winemaking.[4]

Discover more about Ancient Rome and wine related topics

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome

In modern historiography, Ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire.

Ancient Greece and wine

Ancient Greece and wine

The influence of wine in ancient Greece helped ancient Greece trade with neighboring countries and regions. Many mannerisms and cultural aspects were associated with wine. It led to great change in Ancient Greece as well.The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine.

Etruscan civilization

Etruscan civilization

The Etruscan civilization was developed by a people of Etruria in ancient Italy with a common language and culture who formed a federation of city-states. After conquering adjacent lands, its territory covered, at its greatest extent, roughly what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, as well as what are now the Po Valley, Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy, southern Veneto, and western Campania.

French wine

French wine

French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, along with Italian, Spanish, and American wine-producing regions. French wine traces its history to the 6th century BCE, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. The wines produced range from expensive wines sold internationally to modest wines usually only seen within France such as the Margnat wines of the post war period.

German wine

German wine

German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of German wine is produced in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) for quality wine are situated. Germany has about 103,000 hectares of vineyard, which is around one tenth of the vineyard surface in Spain, France or Italy. The total wine production is usually around 10 million hectoliters annually, corresponding to 1.3 billion bottles, which places Germany as the eighth-largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production.

Aristocracy (class)

Aristocracy (class)

The aristocracy is historically associated with "hereditary" or "ruling" social class. In many states, the aristocracy included the upper class of people (aristocrats) with hereditary rank and titles. In some, such as ancient Greece, ancient Rome, or India, aristocratic status came from belonging to a military class. It has also been common, notably in African societies, for aristocrats to belong to priestly dynasties. Aristocratic status can involve feudal or legal privileges. They are usually below only the monarch of a country or nation in its social hierarchy. In modern European societies, the aristocracy has often coincided with the nobility, a specific class that arose in the Middle Ages, but the term "aristocracy" is sometimes also applied to other elites, and is used as a more generic term when describing earlier and non-European societies. Some revolutions, such as the French Revolution, have been followed by the abolition of the aristocracy.

Gaul

Gaul

Gaul was a region of Western Europe first clearly described by the Romans, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and parts of Switzerland, Germany, and Northern Italy. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). According to Julius Caesar, who took control of the region on behalf of the Roman Republic, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania.

Amphora

Amphora

An amphora is a type of container with a pointed bottom and characteristic shape and size which fit tightly against each other in storage rooms and packages, tied together with rope and delivered by land or sea. The size and shape have been determined from at least as early as the Neolithic Period. Amphorae were used in vast numbers for the transport and storage of various products, both liquid and dry, but mostly for wine. They are most often ceramic, but examples in metals and other materials have been found. Versions of the amphorae were one of many shapes used in Ancient Greek vase painting.

Cato the Elder

Cato the Elder

Marcus Porcius Cato, also known as Cato the Censor, the Elder and the Wise, was a Roman soldier, senator, and historian known for his conservatism and opposition to Hellenization. He was the first to write history in Latin with his Origines, a now fragmentary work on the history of Rome. His work De agri cultura, a rambling work on agriculture, farming, rituals, and recipes, is the oldest extant prose written in the Latin language. His epithet "Elder" distinguishes him from his great-grandson Cato the Younger, who opposed Julius Caesar.

Columella

Columella

Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella was a prominent writer on agriculture in the Roman Empire.

Catullus

Catullus

Gaius Valerius Catullus, often referred to simply as Catullus, was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic who wrote chiefly in the neoteric style of poetry, focusing on personal life rather than classical heroes. His surviving works are still read widely and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.

Culture of ancient Rome

Culture of ancient Rome

The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization of Ancient Rome. The term refers to the culture of the Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, which at its peak covered an area from present-day Lowland Scotland and Morocco to the Euphrates.

Early history

The beginnings of domestic viticulture and winemaking on the Italian peninsula are uncertain. It is possible that the Mycenaean Greeks had some influences through early settlements in southern Italy, but the earliest evidence of Greek influence dates to 800 BC. Before this, viticulture was widely entrenched in Etruscan civilization, which was centered around the modern winemaking region of Tuscany.

The ancient Greeks saw wine as a staple of domestic life and a useful trade commodity. Their colonies were encouraged to plant vineyards for local use and trade with Greek city-states. Southern Italy's abundance of indigenous vines provided an ideal opportunity for wine production, giving rise to the Greek name for the region: Oenotria ("land of vines").[5] The southern Greek colonies probably also brought their own wine pressing methods with them and influenced Italian production methods.[6]

In the Republican era, the culture of Roman winemaking was influenced by the viticultural skills and techniques of allies, and of regions conquered in Rome's expansion.[7] The Greek settlements of southern Italy were brought under Roman control by 270 BC. The Etruscans, who had long-established, mostly maritime trade routes into Gaul, were largely Romanised by the 1st century BC.

The Punic Wars with Carthage had a particularly marked effect on Roman viticulture. The Carthaginians practised advanced viticultural techniques, described in the work of the Carthaginian writer Mago. Rome ransacked and burned the libraries of Carthage but the 26 volumes of Mago's agricultural treatise survived intact. They were subsequently translated into Latin and Greek in 146 BC. Although this work did not survive to the modern era, it has been extensively quoted in the influential writings of Romans Pliny, Columella, Varro and Gargilius Martialis.[5]

Golden age

For most of Rome's winemaking history, Greek wine was the most highly prized, with domestic Roman wine commanding lower prices. The 2nd century BC saw the dawn of the "golden age" of Roman winemaking and the development of grand cru vineyards (a type of early first growths in Rome). The famous vintage of 121 BC became known as the Opimian vintage, named for consul Lucius Opimius. Remarkable for its abundant harvest and the unusually high quality of wine produced, some of the vintage's best examples were being enjoyed over a century later.

Pliny the Elder wrote extensively about the first growths of Rome—most notably Falernian, Alban and Caecuban wines. Other first-growth vineyards included Rhaeticum and Hadrianum from Atri of the Adriatic,[8] along the Po in what are now the modern-day regions of Lombardy and Venice respectively; Praetutium (not related to the modern Italian city of Teramo, historically known as Praetutium) along the Adriatic coast near the border of Emilia-Romagna and Marche; and Lunense in modern-day Tuscany. Around Rome itself were the estates of Alban, Sabinum, Tiburtinum, Setinum and Signinum. Southward to Naples were the estates of Caecuban, Falernian, Caulinum, Trebellicanum, Massicum, Gauranium, and Surrentinum. In Sicily was the first-growth estate of Mamertinum.[5]

Modern estimates of Roman wine consumption vary. All classes drank it, but not the very young. Women seem to have consumed less wine than men. Wine was almost always diluted before drinking, by as much as an equal volume of water, except for the elderly, libations to the gods, and alcoholics. Phillips estimates that on average, each member of Rome's urban population (man, woman or child) consumed half a litre of undilute wine per capita daily.[1] Tchernia and Van Limbergen estimate the same average consumption levels per diem, per capita throughout the Greco-Roman world.[9]

Pompeii

A painted Lararium (shrine) depicting Mercury (god of commerce) and Bacchus (god of wine) in Pompeii, in one of the hot-food establishments (thermopolia) that served the city prior to its destruction.
A painted Lararium (shrine) depicting Mercury (god of commerce) and Bacchus (god of wine) in Pompeii, in one of the hot-food establishments (thermopolia) that served the city prior to its destruction.

One of the most important wine centres of the Roman world was the city of Pompeii, located south of Naples, on the Campanian coast. An expanse of farms and vineyards covered the slopes of nearby Vesuvius, exploiting its exceptionally fertile soil to produce some of the best wines available to the Italian mainland, Rome and the Provinces.

The Pompeians themselves developed a widespread reputation for their wine-drinking capacity. The worship of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, is attested by his image on frescoes and archaeological fragments throughout the region. Amphoras stamped with the emblems of Pompeian merchants have been found across the modern-day remnants of the Roman empire, including Bordeaux, Narbonne, Toulouse and Spain. Evidence in the form of counterfeit stamps on amphoras of non-Pompeian wine suggests that the popularity and reputation of Pompeian wine may have given rise to early wine fraud.[10]

Ancient Roman amphoras in Pompeii
Ancient Roman amphoras in Pompeii

The 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius had a devastating effect on Campana's well-established, long-distance maritime export and trade. Ports, vineyards, and the warehouses that stored the 78 AD vintage were destroyed. Prices rose sharply, making wine unaffordable to all but the most affluent, at a time when wine-drinking habits and demand had percolated down to the less affluent majority. The wine shortage, and the potential for increased profits, led to the hurried planting of new vineyards nearer to Rome and the replanting of existing grain fields with grapevines.[11]

The subsequent wine surplus created by successful efforts to relieve the wine shortage caused a depression in price, and in the medium term, damage to the interests of wine producers and traders. The loss of grain fields now contributed to a food shortage for the growing Roman population. In 92 AD, Roman Emperor Domitian issued an edict that not only banned new vineyards in Rome but ordered the uprooting of half of the vineyards in Roman wine-producing provinces.

The 'Foro Boario' vineyard at Pompeii, replanted as it was at the time of the eruption, with small wine press in structure at back.
The 'Foro Boario' vineyard at Pompeii, replanted as it was at the time of the eruption, with small wine press in structure at back.

Although there is evidence to suggest that this edict was largely ignored in the Roman provinces, wine historians have debated the effect of the edict on the infant wine industries of Spain and Gaul. The intent of the edict was that fewer vineyards would result in only enough wine for domestic consumption, with little or no surplus for foreign trade. While vineyards were already established in these growing wine regions, the ignoring of trade considerations may have suppressed the spread of viticulture and winemaking in these areas. Domitian's edict remained in effect for nearly two centuries until Emperor Probus repealed it in 280 AD.[10]

The preservation of Pompeii has provided unique insights into Roman wine making and viticulture.[6][3] Preserved vine roots reveal planting patterns. Whole vineyards have been excavated within the city walls (for example, at Pompei's former cattle-market, the Forum Boarium). This complements evidence of pressing and production technologies that worked in tandem with this cultivation.[6] Some of these vineyards have been replanted in the modern era with ancient grape varieties and experimental archaeology used to recreate Roman wine.[12][13]

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Mycenaean Greece

Mycenaean Greece

Mycenaean Greece was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1750 to 1050 BC. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland Greece with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system. The Mycenaeans were mainland Greek peoples who were likely stimulated by their contact with insular Minoan Crete and other Mediterranean cultures to develop a more sophisticated sociopolitical culture of their own. The most prominent site was Mycenae, after which the culture of this era is named. Other centers of power that emerged included Pylos, Tiryns, Midea in the Peloponnese, Orchomenos, Thebes, Athens in Central Greece and Iolcos in Thessaly. Mycenaean settlements also appeared in Epirus, Macedonia, on islands in the Aegean Sea, on the south-west coast of Asia Minor, Cyprus, while Mycenaean-influenced settlements appeared in the Levant, and Italy.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was a northeastern Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of classical antiquity, that comprised a loose collection of culturally and linguistically related city-states and other territories. Most of these regions were officially unified only once, for 13 years, under Alexander the Great's empire from 336 to 323 BC. In Western history, the era of classical antiquity was immediately followed by the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine period.

Oenotrians

Oenotrians

The Oenotrians were an ancient Italic people who inhabited a territory in Southern Italy from Paestum to southern Calabria. By the sixth century BC, the Oenotrians had been absorbed into other Italic tribes.

Punic Wars

Punic Wars

The Punic Wars were a series of wars between 264 and 146 BC fought between Rome and Carthage. Three conflicts between these states took place on both land and sea across the western Mediterranean region and involved a total of forty-three years of warfare. The Punic Wars are also considered to include the four-year-long revolt against Carthage which started in 241 BC. Each war involved immense materiel and human losses on both sides.

Ancient Carthage

Ancient Carthage

Carthage was a settlement in what is now known as modern Tunisia that later became a city-state and then an empire. Founded by the Phoenicians in the ninth century BC, Carthage reached its height in the fourth century BC as one of the largest metropolises in the world and the centre of the Carthaginian Empire, a major power in the ancient world that dominated the western Mediterranean. Following the Punic Wars, Carthage was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, who later rebuilt the city lavishly.

Mago (agricultural writer)

Mago (agricultural writer)

Mago was a Carthaginian writer, author of an agricultural manual in Punic which was a record of the farming knowledge of Carthage, The Punic text has been lost, but some fragments of Greek and Latin translations survive.

Latin

Latin

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area around present-day Rome, but through the power of the Roman Republic it became the dominant language in the Italian region and subsequently throughout the Roman Empire. Even after the fall of Western Rome, Latin remained the common language of international communication, science, scholarship and academia in Europe until well into the 18th century, when other regional vernaculars supplanted it in common academic and political usage, and it eventually became a dead language in the modern linguistic definition.

Greek language

Greek language

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Italy, southern Albania, and other regions of the Balkans, the Black Sea coast, Asia Minor, and the Eastern Mediterranean. It has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning at least 3,400 years of written records. Its writing system is the Greek alphabet, which has been used for approximately 2,800 years; previously, Greek was recorded in writing systems such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Ancient Greece and wine

Ancient Greece and wine

The influence of wine in ancient Greece helped ancient Greece trade with neighboring countries and regions. Many mannerisms and cultural aspects were associated with wine. It led to great change in Ancient Greece as well.The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine.

First Growth

First Growth

First Growth status is a classification of wines primarily from the Bordeaux region of France.

Lucius Opimius

Lucius Opimius

Lucius Opimius was a Roman politician who held the consulship in 121 BC, in which capacity and year he ordered the execution of 3,000 supporters of popular leader Gaius Gracchus without trial, using as pretext the state of emergency declared after Gracchus's recent and turbulent death.

Harvest (wine)

Harvest (wine)

The harvesting of wine grapes (Vintage) is one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce. The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes and bring about various vine diseases. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, winemakers and vineyard owners must also determine whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters. The harvest season typically falls between August & October in the Northern Hemisphere and February & April in the Southern Hemisphere. With various climate conditions, grape varieties, and wine styles the harvesting of grapes could happen in every month of the calendar year somewhere in the world. In the New World it is often referred to as the crush.

Expansion of viticulture

Among the lasting legacies of the ancient Roman empire were the viticultural foundations laid by the Romans in lands that would become world-renowned wine regions. Through trade, military campaigns and settlements, Romans brought with them a taste for wine and the impetus to plant vines. Trade was the first and farthest-reaching arm of their influence, and Roman wine merchants were eager to trade with enemy and ally alike—from the Carthaginians and peoples of southern Spain to the Celtic tribes in Gaul and Germanic tribes of the Rhine and Danube.

During the Gallic Wars, when Julius Caesar brought his troops to Cabyllona in 59 BC, he found two Roman wine merchants already established in business trading with the local tribes. In places like Bordeaux, Mainz, Trier and Colchester where Roman garrisons were established, vineyards were planted to supply local need and limit the cost of long-distance trading. Roman settlements were founded and populated by retired soldiers with knowledge of Roman viticulture from their families and life before the military; vineyards were planted in their new homelands. While it is possible that the Romans imported grapevines from Italy and Greece, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they cultivated native vines that may be the ancestors of the grapes grown in those provinces today.[14]

As the republic grew into empire beyond the peninsula, wine's trade and market economy echoed this growth. The wine trade in Italy consisted of Rome's sale of wine abroad to settlements and provinces around the Mediterranean Sea, yet by the end of the 1st century AD, its exports had competition from the provinces, themselves exporters to Rome.[15] The Roman market economy encouraged the provinces’ exports, enhancing supply and demand.[16]

Hispania

Roman amphorae recovered from Catalonia.
Roman amphorae recovered from Catalonia.

Rome's defeat of Carthage in the Punic Wars brought the southern and coastal territories of Spain under its control, but the complete conquest of the Iberian peninsula remained unaccomplished until the reign of Caesar Augustus. Roman colonization led to the development of Tarraconensis in the northern regions of Spain (including what are now the modern winemaking regions of Catalonia, the Rioja, the Ribera del Duero, and Galicia) and Hispania Baetica (which includes modern Andalusia) Montilla-Moriles winemaking region of Cordoba and the sherry winemaking region of Cádiz.

While the Carthaginians and Phoenicians were the first to introduce viticulture to Spain, Rome's influential wine technology and the development of road networks brought new economic opportunities to the region, elevating grapes from a private agricultural crop to an important component of a viable commercial enterprise. Spanish wine was in Bordeaux before the region produced its own. French historian Roger Dion has suggested that the balisca vine (common in Spain's northern provinces, particularly Rioja) was brought from Rioja to plant the first Roman vineyards of Bordeaux.[14]

Spanish wines were frequently traded in Rome. The poet Martial described a highly regarded wine known as ceretanum from Ceret (modern-day Jerez de la Frontera). Wine historian Hugh Johnson believes this wine was an early ancestor of sherry.[14] Spanish wines penetrated more extensively than Italian wines into the Roman Empire, with amphoras from Spain discovered in Aquitaine, Brittany, the Loire Valley, Normandy, Britain and the German frontier. The historian Strabo noted in his work Geographica that the vineyards of Baetica were famous for their beauty. The Roman agricultural writer Columella was a native of Cádiz and was duly influenced by the region's viticulture.[17]

Gaul

There is archaeological evidence to suggest that the Celts first cultivated the grapevine in Gaul. Grape pips have been found throughout France, pre-dating the Greeks and Romans, with some examples found near Lake Geneva dated to 10,000 BC. The extent to which the Celts and Gallic tribes produced wine is not clearly known, but the arrival of the Greeks near Massalia in 600 BC certainly introduced new types and styles of winemaking and viticulture. The limit of Greek viticultural influence was planting in regions with Mediterranean climates where olives and fig trees would also flourish.

The Romans looked for hillside terrain in regions near a river and an important town. Their knowledge of the sciences included the tendency for cold air to flow down a hillside and to pool in frost pockets in the valley. As these are poor conditions under which to grow grapes, they were avoided in favor of sunny hillsides that could provide sufficient warmth to ripen grapes, even in northerly areas. When the Romans seized Massalia in 125 BC, they pushed farther inland and westward. They founded the city of Narbonne in 118 BC (in the modern-day Languedoc region) along the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul. The Romans established lucrative trading relations with local tribes of Gaul, despite their potential to produce wine of their own. The Gallic tribes paid high prices for Roman wine, with a single amphora worth the value of a slave.[14]

Roman ruins in Vienne. The first French wine to receive international acclaim was produced in this area near the modern Côte-Rôtie wine region.
Roman ruins in Vienne. The first French wine to receive international acclaim was produced in this area near the modern Côte-Rôtie wine region.

From the Mediterranean coast, the Romans pushed further up the Rhone Valley, to areas where olives and figs were unable to grow but where oak trees were still found. As a result of their experience in what is now northeastern Italy, the Romans knew that regions where Quercus ilex were found had climates warm enough to allow the full ripening of grapes. In the 1st century AD, Pliny notes that the settlement of Vienne (near what is now the Côte-Rôtie AOC) produced a resinated wine that fetched high prices in Rome. Wine historian Hanneke Wilson notes that this Rhone wine was the first truly French wine to receive international acclaim.[18]

Portion of bearded satyr, emptying a wine-skin, Arretine ware, Roman, Augustan Period 31 B.C.–A.D. 14
Portion of bearded satyr, emptying a wine-skin, Arretine ware, Roman, Augustan Period 31 B.C.–A.D. 14

The first mention of Roman interest in the Bordeaux region was in Strabo's report to Augustus that there were no vines down the river Tarn towards Garonne into the region known as Burdigala. The wine for this seaport was being supplied by the "high country" region of Gaillac in the Midi-Pyrénées region. The Midi had abundant indigenous vines that the Romans cultivated, many of which are still being used to produce wine, including—Duras, Fer, Ondenc and Len de l'El. The location of Bordeaux on the Gironde estuary made it an ideal seaport from which to transport wine along the Atlantic Coast and to the British Isles. Bordeaux soon became self-sufficient enough with its own vineyards to export its own wine to Roman soldiers stationed in Britain. In the 1st century AD, Pliny the Elder mentions plantings in Bordeaux, including the Balisca grape (previously known in Spain) under the synonym of Biturica after the local Bituriges tribe. Ampelographers note that corruption of the name Biturica is Vidure, a French synonym of Cabernet Sauvignon, perhaps pointing to the ancestry of this vine with the Cabernet family that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.[14]

Further up the Rhone, along the Saône tributary, the Romans encountered the areas that would become the modern-day wine regions of Beaujolais, the Mâconnais, the Côte Chalonnaise and the Côte d'Or. Rome's first allies among the tribes of Gaul were the Aedui, whom they supported by founding the city of Augustodunum in what is now the Burgundy wine region. While it is possible that vineyards were planted in the 1st century AD, shortly after the founding of Augustodunum, the first definitive evidence of wine production comes from an account of the visit by Emperor Constantine to the city in 312 AD.

The founding of France's other great wine regions is not as clear. The Romans' propensity for planting on hillsides has left archaeological evidence of Gallo-Roman vineyards in the chalk hillsides of Sancerre. In the 4th century, the Emperor Julian had a vineyard near Paris on the hill of Montmartre, and a 5th-century villa in what is now Épernay shows the Roman influence in the Champagne region.[19]

Germania

The Roman bridge of Trier crosses the river Mosel. The Romans found that planting vines on the steep banks along the river provided enough warmth to ripen wine grapes.
The Roman bridge of Trier crosses the river Mosel. The Romans found that planting vines on the steep banks along the river provided enough warmth to ripen wine grapes.

Although wild V. vinifera vines have existed along the Rhine since prehistory, the earliest evidence of viticulture dates back to the Roman conquest and settlement of the western territories of Germania. Agricultural tools, such as pruning knives, have been found near Roman garrison posts in Trier and Cologne, but the first definitive record of wine production dates to the 370 AD work by Ausonius titled Mosella, wherein he described vibrant vineyards along the Mosel. A native of Bordeaux, Ausonius compared the vineyards favorably to those of his homeland and seems to indicate that viticulture had long been present in this area. The reasons for planting Rhineland were to cater to the growing demand of Roman soldiers along the Limes Germanicus (German frontier) and the high costs associated with importing wine from Rome, Spain or Bordeaux. The Romans briefly considered building a canal that would link the Saône and Mosel rivers in order to facilitate waterway trading. The alternative was to drink what Tacitus described as an inferior beer-like beverage.[19] Beer was apparently enjoyed by some Roman legionaries. For instance, among the Vindolanda tablets (from Vindolanda in Roman Britain, dated c. 97-103 AD), the cavalry decurion Masculus wrote a letter to prefect Flavius Cerialis inquiring about the exact instructions for his men for the following day. This included a polite request for beer to be sent to the garrison (which had entirely consumed its previous stock of beer).[20]

The steep hillsides along the rivers Mosel and Rhine provided an opportunity to extend the cultivation of grapes to a northerly location. A south-southwest-facing slope maximizes the amount of sunshine vines receive, with the degree of angle allowing the vines to receive the sun's rays perpendicularly rather than at the low or diffuse angle vineyards on flatter terrain receive. Hillsides offered the added benefit of shielding vines from the cold northern winds, and the rivers' reflection offered additional warmth to aid in ripening the grapes. With the right type of grape (perhaps even an early ancestor of the German wine grape Riesling), the Romans found that wine could be produced in Germania. From the Rhine, German wine would make its way downriver to the North Sea and to merchants in Britain, where it began to develop a good reputation.

Despite military hostilities, the neighboring Germanic tribes like the Alamanni and Franks were eager customers for German wine until a 5th-century edict forbade the sale of wine outside of Roman settlements. Wine historian Hugh Johnson believes this might have been an added incentive for the barbarian invasions and sacking of Roman settlements such as Trier—"an invitation to break down the door."[19]

Britannia

The silver serving tray depicting Bacchus found in Mildenhall
The silver serving tray depicting Bacchus found in Mildenhall

Rome's influence on Britain with respect to wine is not so much viticultural as it is cultural. Throughout modern history, the British have played a key role in shaping the world of wine and defining global wine markets.[21] Though evidence of V. vinifera vines in the British Isles dates back to the Hoxnian Stage when the climate was warmer than it is now, British interest in wine production greatly increased following the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century AD.

Amphoras from Italy indicate that wine was regularly transported to Britain at great expense by sea, around the Iberian Peninsula. The development of wine-producing regions in Bordeaux and Germany made supplying the needs of local Roman colonists much easier and cheaper, but in Britain, no certain evidence of an early local or provincial wine industry has been found, possibly because climate and soil conditions have not favoured its preservation. Remnants of amphora production at Brockley Hill, in Middlesex, have been dated to 70-100 AD, and may be explained as a sign of very short-lived local wine production, brought to an end by Domitian's edict against vine cultivation during a widespread grain famine.[22] The edict was rescinded by Probus in 270 AD. Investigations of the Nene Valley and pollen analysis by Brown et al confirm several viticulture sites, at least from that date.[23]

More than 400 artifacts depicting Bacchus have been found throughout Britain, evidence of his widespread cult as a wine-god. They include the great silver dish of the Mildenhall Treasure, showing the rites of Bacchus' procession and his triumph over Hercules in a drinking contest. In Colchester, the early capital of Roman Britain, excavations have uncovered containers identifying over 60 different types of wines from Italy, Spain, the Rhine and Bordeaux.[19]

Discover more about Expansion of viticulture related topics

Campaign history of the Roman military

Campaign history of the Roman military

From its origin as a city-state on the peninsula of Italy in the 8th century BC, to its rise as an empire covering much of Southern Europe, Western Europe, Near East and North Africa to its fall in the 5th century AD, the political history of Ancient Rome was closely entwined with its military history. The core of the campaign history of the Roman military is an aggregate of different accounts of the Roman military's land battles, from its initial defense against and subsequent conquest of the city's hilltop neighbors on the Italian peninsula, to the ultimate struggle of the Western Roman Empire for its existence against invading Huns, Vandals and Germanic tribes. These accounts were written by various authors throughout and after the history of the Empire. Following the First Punic War, naval battles were less significant than land battles to the military history of Rome due to its encompassment of lands of the periphery and its unchallenged dominance of the Mediterranean Sea.

Germanic peoples

Germanic peoples

The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and early medieval Germanic languages and are thus equated at least approximately with Germanic-speaking peoples, although different academic disciplines have their own definitions of what makes someone or something "Germanic". The Romans named the area belonging to North-Central Europe in which Germanic peoples lived Germania, stretching East to West between the Vistula and Rhine rivers and north to south from Southern Scandinavia to the upper Danube. In discussions of the Roman period, the Germanic peoples are sometimes referred to as Germani or ancient Germans, although many scholars consider the second term problematic since it suggests identity with present-day Germans. The very concept of "Germanic peoples" has become the subject of controversy among contemporary scholars. Some scholars call for its total abandonment as a modern construct since lumping "Germanic peoples" together implies a common group identity for which there is little evidence. Other scholars have defended the term's continued use and argue that a common Germanic language allows one to speak of "Germanic peoples", regardless of whether these ancient and medieval peoples saw themselves as having a common identity.

Rhine

Rhine

The Rhine is one of the major European rivers. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps. It forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, and Swiss-German borders. After that the Rhine defines much of the Franco-German border, after which it flows in a mostly northerly direction through the German Rhineland. Finally in Germany the Rhine turns into a predominantly westerly direction and flows into the Netherlands where it eventually empties into the North Sea. It drains an area of 9,973 sq km and its name derives from the Celtic Rēnos. There are also two German states named after the river, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Danube

Danube

The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. A large and historically important river, it was once a frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects ten European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,850 km (1,770 mi), passing through or bordering Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. Among the many cities on the river are four national capitals: Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava. Its drainage basin amounts to 817 000 km² and extends into nine more countries.

Gallic Wars

Gallic Wars

The Gallic Wars were waged between 58 and 50 BC by the Roman general Julius Caesar against the peoples of Gaul. Gallic, Germanic, and British tribes fought to defend their homelands against an aggressive Roman campaign. The Wars culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul. Though the Gallic military was as strong as the Romans, the Gallic tribes' internal divisions eased victory for Caesar. Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix's attempt to unite the Gauls under a single banner came too late. Caesar portrayed the invasion as being a preemptive and defensive action, but historians agree that he fought the Wars primarily to boost his political career and to pay off his debts. Still, Gaul was of significant military importance to the Romans. Native tribes in the region, both Gallic and Germanic, had attacked Rome several times. Conquering Gaul allowed Rome to secure the natural border of the river Rhine.

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar, was a Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in a civil war, and subsequently became dictator from 49 BC until his assassination in 44 BC. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Chalon-sur-Saône

Chalon-sur-Saône

Chalon-sur-Saône is a city in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in eastern France.

Bordeaux wine

Bordeaux wine

Bordeaux wine is produced in the Bordeaux region of southwest France, around the city of Bordeaux, on the Garonne River. To the north of the city the Dordogne River joins the Garonne forming the broad estuary called the Gironde; the Gironde department, with a total vineyard area of 110,800 hectares, is the largest wine growing area in France.

Mainz

Mainz

Mainz is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Colchester

Colchester

Colchester is the main settlement within the city area of the same name in Essex, in the East of England. It had a population of 122,000 in 2011. The demonym is Colcestrian.

List of Roman legions

List of Roman legions

This is a list of Roman legions, including key facts about each legion, primarily focusing on the Principate legions, for which there exists substantial literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence.

Augustus

Augustus

Caesar Augustus, also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Principate, which is the first phase of the Roman Empire, and is considered one of the greatest leaders in human history. The reign of Augustus initiated an imperial cult as well as an era associated with imperial peace, the Pax Romana or Pax Augusta. The Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession.

Growers and traders

Roman attitudes to wine were complex, especially among the equestrian and senatorial classes; the latter were supposed to have no interest in personal profits. Equestrian entrepreneurs often acted as agents and negotiators for landowners of senatorial class, whose estates, large or small, were traditionally used to provide grain, olives and other food staples, not ingredients for luxuries such as wine production. Viticulture involved a very different set of skills, practices, abilities and landscapes than traditional agriculture, and a deal of expense at harvest-time, for picking, pressing and storage. The yields were notoriously unpredictable. For a large estate, a bad season's losses could be enormous, or the profits exceed what was considered proper for an aristocratic farmer-citizen. Very large wine estates were therefore quite rare, and the lowest risk investment strategy was an exchange of small, specialist properties already in production, along with the equipment, knowledge and skills that came with them, a ready-made wine estate. Considering the disinhibiting, even disabling effects of alcohol, any investment in commercial-scale wine production by Rome's ruling class was also of doubtful morality. Purcell suggests that for these reasons, Rome's upper classes were committed to refinement and high quality, and had only marginal open involvement in high volume wine production and the wine trade until the Imperial era.[24]

Roman writings on wine

Works of classical Roman writers—most notably Cato, Columella, Horace, Palladius, Pliny, Varro and Virgil—shed light on the role of wine in Roman culture as well as contemporary winemaking and viticultural practices.[3] Some of these influential techniques can be found in modern winemaking. These include the consideration of climate and landscape in deciding which grape varieties to plant, the benefits of different trellising and vine-training systems, the effects of pruning and harvest yields on the quality of wine, as well as winemaking techniques such as sur lie aging after fermentation and the maintenance of sanitary practices throughout the winemaking process to avoid contamination, impurities and spoilage.[4]

Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder

Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman. He had been raised on his family's farm in Reate, northeast of Rome, and wrote extensively on a variety of subjects in De agri cultura (Concerning the Cultivation of the Land), the oldest surviving work of Latin prose. He comments in detail on viticulture and winemaking.[5] He believes that grapes produce the best wine when they receive the maximum amount of sunshine, so he recommends that vines be trained in trees as high as possible and have all leaves removed once the grapes begin to ripen.[1] He advises winemakers to wait until the grapes are fully ripe before harvesting, to ensure high quality in the wine and thus maintain the reputation of the wine estate. Inferior and sour wines should be reserved for the work-hands. Cato claimed that vineyard cultivation was the only profitable agricultural use for slaves; if they became unproductive for any reason, their rations should be cut. Once they were worn out, they should be sold on.[25]

Cato was an early advocate for hygiene in winemaking, recommending, for example, that wine jars be wiped clean twice a day with a new broom every time; thoroughly sealing the jars after fermentation to prevent the wine from spoiling and turning into vinegar; and not filling the amphoras to the top but leaving some head space, allowing a degree of oxidation.[26] Cato's manual was fervently followed, becoming the standard textbook of Roman winemaking for centuries.[5]

Columella

Modern statue of Columella in his native land of Cádiz.
Modern statue of Columella in his native land of Cádiz.

Columella was a 1st-century AD writer. His 12-volume De re rustica is considered one of the most important works on Roman agriculture. Its eleven volumes of prose are augmented by one on gardens (Volume 10), in hexameter verse. Volumes 3 and 4 delve into the technical aspects of viticulture, including advice on which soil types yield the best wine. Volume 12 concerns various aspects of winemaking.[27]

Columella describes the boiling of grape must in a lead vessel to concentrate sugars and at the same time allow the lead to impart sweetness and desirable texture to the wine,[28] a practice that may have contributed to lead poisoning. He presents precise details on how a well-run vineyard should operate, from the optimum breakfast for slaves to the yield of grapes from each jugerum of land and the pruning practices to ensure those yields. Many modern elements of vine training and trellising are evident in Columella's description of best practices. In his ideal vineyard, vines are planted two paces apart and fastened with willow withies to chestnut stakes about the height of a man. He also describes some of the wines of Roman provinces, noting the potential of wines from Spain and the Bordeaux region. Columella extols the quality of wines made from the ancient grape varieties Balisca and Biturica, believed by ampelographers to be ancestral to the Cabernet family.[29]

Pliny the Elder

Imaginary portrayal of Pliny the Elder.
Imaginary portrayal of Pliny the Elder.

Pliny the Elder was a 1st-century AD naturalist and author of the 37-volume Roman encyclopedia Naturalis Historia (Natural History), dedicated to the Emperor Titus. Published after Pliny's death near Pompeii following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the work covers a vast array of topics, including serious discourse on viticulture and wine.

Book 14 deals exclusively with the subject of wine itself, including a ranking of the "first growths" of Rome. Book 17 includes a discussion of various viticultural techniques and an early formalization of the concept of terroir, in that unique places produce unique wine. In his rankings of the best Roman wines, Pliny concludes that the vineyard has more influence on the resulting quality of wine than the particular vine. The early sections of Book 23 deal with some of the purported medicinal properties of wine.[30]

Pliny was a strong advocate for training vines up trees in a pergola, noting that the finest wines in Campania all derived from this practice. Due to the dangers in working on and pruning vines trained this way, however, he advised not using slaves, who were costly to buy and maintain, but rather vineyard workers hired with a stipulation in their contract to cover grave and funeral expenses. He described some contemporary varieties, recommending Aminean and Nomentan as the best. Some modern ampelographers believe that two white wine varieties mentioned, Arcelaca and Argitis, may be early ancestors to the modern grape Riesling.[29]

Pliny is also the source for one of the most famous Latin quotations about wine: "In vino veritas," or "There's truth in wine," referring to the often confessional loquacity of the intoxicated.[31] This is not a commendation on Pliny's part: he regrets that the "excessive candour" of drunkards can lead to serious breaches of etiquette, and thoughtless disclosure of matters best kept private.[32]

Other writers

Marcus Terentius Varro, whom the rhetorician Quintilian called "the most learned man among the Romans,"[33] wrote extensively on such topics as grammar, geography, religion, law and science, but only his agricultural treatise De re rustica (or Rerum rusticarum libri) has survived in its entirety. While there is evidence that he borrowed some of this material from Cato's work, Varro credits the lost multi-volume work of Mago the Carthaginian, as well as the Greek writers Aristotle, Theophrastus and Xenophon. Varro's treatise is written as a dialogue and divided into three parts, the first of which contains most of the discussion on wine and viticulture. He defines old wine as one removed from its vintage by at least a year; nonetheless, he notes that while some wines are best consumed young, especially fine wines such as Falernian are meant to be consumed much older.[34]

Virgil.
Virgil.

The poetry of Virgil recalls that of the Greek poet Hesiod in its focus on the morality and virtue of viticulture, particularly the austerity, integrity and hard work of Roman farmers. The second book of the didactic poem Georgics deals with viticultural matters.[35] Virgil advises leaving some grapes on the vine until late November when they become "stiff with frost." This early version of ice wine would have produced sweet wines without the acidity of wine made from grapes harvested earlier.[29]

Virgil's contemporary Horace wrote often of wine, though no single work is devoted entirely to the subject. He espoused an Epicurean view of taking life's pleasures, including wine, in moderation. Among the earliest recorded examples of deliberately choosing a wine for a specific occasion, Horace's Odes included serving a wine from the birth-year vintage at a celebration of an honored guest. He writes of serving simple wines for everyday occasions and saving celebrated wines such as Caecuban for special events. Horace answered the question posed by the Alexandrian poet Callimachus as to whether water or wine was the preferred drink of poetic inspiration by enthusiastically siding with Cratinus and the wine drinkers.[36] His affinity for wine was such that while contemplating his death, he expressed more dread at the thought of departing from his beloved wine cellar than his wife.[29]

Palladius was the 4th-century writer of the 15-volume agricultural treatise Opus agriculturae or De re rustica, the first volume of which was an introduction to basic farming principles. The 12 volumes following were dedicated to each month of the calendar and the specific agricultural tasks to be performed in that month. While Palladius deals with a variety of agricultural crops, he devotes more discussion to the practices of the vineyard than to any other. The last two volumes treat mostly veterinary medicine for farm animals but also include a detailed account of late-Roman grafting practices. Though borrowing heavily from Cato, Varro, Pliny and Columella, the work of Palladius is one of the few Roman agricultural accounts to still be widely used through the Middle Ages and into the early Renaissance. His writings on viticulture were widely quoted by Vincent of Beauvais, Albertus Magnus and Pietro Crescenzi.[37]

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Equites

Equites

The equites constituted the second of the property-based classes of ancient Rome, ranking below the senatorial class. A member of the equestrian order was known as an eques.

Social class in ancient Rome

Social class in ancient Rome

Social class in ancient Rome was hierarchical, with multiple and overlapping social hierarchies. An individual's relative position in one might be higher or lower than in another, which complicated the social composition of Rome.

Climate

Climate

Climate is the long-term weather pattern in a region, typically averaged over 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months to millions of years. Some of the meteorological variables that are commonly measured are temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, and precipitation. In a broader sense, climate is the state of the components of the climate system, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere and the interactions between them. The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, longitude, terrain, altitude, land use and nearby water bodies and their currents.

List of grape varieties

List of grape varieties

This list of grape varieties includes cultivated grapes, whether used for wine, or eating as a table grape, fresh or dried. For a complete list of all grape species including those unimportant to agriculture, see Vitis.

Pruning

Pruning

Pruning is a horticultural, arboricultural, and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots.

Yield (wine)

Yield (wine)

In viticulture, the yield is a measure of the amount of grapes or wine that is produced per unit surface of vineyard, and is therefore a type of crop yield. Two different types of yield measures are commonly used, mass of grapes per vineyard surface, or volume of wine per vineyard surface.

Cato the Elder

Cato the Elder

Marcus Porcius Cato, also known as Cato the Censor, the Elder and the Wise, was a Roman soldier, senator, and historian known for his conservatism and opposition to Hellenization. He was the first to write history in Latin with his Origines, a now fragmentary work on the history of Rome. His work De agri cultura, a rambling work on agriculture, farming, rituals, and recipes, is the oldest extant prose written in the Latin language. His epithet "Elder" distinguishes him from his great-grandson Cato the Younger, who opposed Julius Caesar.

De agri cultura

De agri cultura

De agri cultura, written by Cato the Elder, is the oldest surviving work of Latin prose. Alexander Hugh McDonald, in his article for the Oxford Classical Dictionary, dated this essay's composition to about 160 BC and noted that "for all of its lack of form, its details of old custom and superstition, and its archaic tone, it was an up-to-date directed from his own knowledge and experience to the new capitalistic farming." Cato was revered by many later authors for his practical attitudes, his natural stoicism and his tight, lucid prose. He is much quoted by Pliny the Elder, for example, in his Naturalis Historia.

Columella

Columella

Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella was a prominent writer on agriculture in the Roman Empire.

Hexameter

Hexameter

Hexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and the Hymns of Orpheus. According to Greek mythology, hexameter was invented by Phemonoe, daughter of Apollo and the first Pythia of Delphi.

Lead

Lead

Lead is a chemical element with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metal that is denser than most common materials. Lead is soft and malleable, and also has a relatively low melting point. When freshly cut, lead is a shiny gray with a hint of blue. It tarnishes to a dull gray color when exposed to air. Lead has the highest atomic number of any stable element and three of its isotopes are endpoints of major nuclear decay chains of heavier elements. Lead is toxic, even in small amounts, especially to children.

Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning, also known as plumbism and saturnism, is a type of metal poisoning caused by lead in the body. The brain is the most sensitive. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, irritability, memory problems, infertility, and tingling in the hands and feet. It causes almost 10% of intellectual disability of otherwise unknown cause and can result in behavioral problems. Some of the effects are permanent. In severe cases, anemia, seizures, coma, or death may occur.

Roman winemaking

After fermentation, Roman wine was stored in amphoras to be used for serving or further aging.
After fermentation, Roman wine was stored in amphoras to be used for serving or further aging.

The process of making wine in ancient Rome began immediately after the harvest with treading the grapes (often by foot), in a manner similar to the French pigeage. The juice thus expressed was the most highly prized and kept separate from what would later come from pressing the grape.[4][3] This free-run juice was also believed to have the most beneficial medicinal properties.[1]

Cato described the process of pressing as taking place in a special room that included an elevated concrete platform containing a shallow basin with raised curbs. The basin was shaped with gentle slopes that led to a runoff point. Horizontally across the basin were long, wooden beams whose front parts were attached by rope to a windlass. The crushed grapes were placed between the beams, with pressure applied by winding down the windlass. The pressed juice ran down between the beams and collected in the basin. As the construction and use of a wine press was labor-intensive and expensive, its use was generally restricted to large estates, with smaller wineries relying on treading alone to obtain grape juice.[38]

If grape pressing was used, an estate would press the skins one to three times. Since juice from later pressings would be coarser and more tannic, the third pressing normally made wine of low quality called lora. After pressing, the grape must was stored in large earthenware jars known as dolia. With a capacity of up to several thousand liters, these jars were often partially buried into the floors of a barn or warehouse. Fermentation took place in the dolium, lasting from two weeks to a month before the wine was removed and put in amphoras for storage. Small holes drilled into the top allowed the carbon dioxide gas to escape.[1]

To enhance flavor, white wine might age on its lees, and chalk or marble dust was sometimes added to reduce acidity.[4] Wines were often exposed to high temperatures and "baked," a process similar to that used to make modern Madeira. To enhance a wine's sweetness, a portion of the wine must was boiled to concentrate the sugars in the process known as defrutum and then added to the rest of the fermenting batch. (Columella's writings suggest that the Romans believed boiling the must acted as a preservative as well.) Lead was also sometimes used as a sweetening agent,[5] or honey could be added, as much as 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) recommended to sweeten 12 litres (3.2 US gal) of wine to Roman tastes. Another technique was to withhold a portion of the sweeter, unfermented must and blend it with the finished wine, a method known today as süssreserve.[29]

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History of the wine press

History of the wine press

The history of the wine press and of pressing is nearly as old as the history of wine itself with the remains of wine presses providing some of the longest-serving evidence of organised viticulture and winemaking in the ancient world. The earliest wine press was probably the human foot or hand, crushing and squeezing grapes into a bag or container where the contents would ferment.

Harvest (wine)

Harvest (wine)

The harvesting of wine grapes (Vintage) is one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce. The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes and bring about various vine diseases. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, winemakers and vineyard owners must also determine whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters. The harvest season typically falls between August & October in the Northern Hemisphere and February & April in the Southern Hemisphere. With various climate conditions, grape varieties, and wine styles the harvesting of grapes could happen in every month of the calendar year somewhere in the world. In the New World it is often referred to as the crush.

Concrete

Concrete

Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens (cures) over time. Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its usage worldwide, ton for ton, is twice that of steel, wood, plastics, and aluminium combined. Globally, the ready-mix concrete industry, the largest segment of the concrete market, is projected to exceed $600 billion in revenue by 2025. This widespread use results in a number of environmental impacts. Most notably, the production process for cement produces large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to net 8% of global emissions. Other environmental concerns include widespread illegal sand mining, impacts on the surrounding environment such as increased surface runoff or urban heat island effect, and potential public health implications from toxic ingredients. Significant research and development is being done to try to reduce the emissions or make concrete a source of carbon sequestration, and increase recycled and secondary raw materials content into the mix to achieve a circular economy. Concrete is expected to be a key material for structures resilient to climate disasters, as well as a solution to mitigate the pollution of other industries, capturing wastes such as coal fly ash or bauxite tailings and residue.

Piquette

Piquette

Piquette is a French wine term which commonly refers to a vinous beverage produced by adding water to grape pomace but sometimes refers to a very simple wine or a wine substitute.

Must

Must

Must is freshly crushed fruit juice that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit. The solid portion of the must is called pomace and typically makes up 7–23% of the total weight of the must. Making must is the first step in winemaking. Because of its high glucose content, typically between 10 and 15%, must is also used as a sweetener in a variety of cuisines. Unlike commercially sold grape juice, which is filtered and pasteurized, must is thick with particulate matter, opaque, and comes in various shades of brown and purple.

Earthenware

Earthenware

Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that has normally been fired below 1,200 °C (2,190 °F). Basic earthenware, often called terracotta, absorbs liquids such as water. However, earthenware can be made impervious to liquids by coating it with a ceramic glaze, and is used for the great majority of modern domestic earthenware. The main other important types of pottery are porcelain, bone china, and stoneware, all fired at high enough temperatures to vitrify. End applications include tableware, decorative ware such as figurines.

Dolium

Dolium

A dolium is a large earthenware vase or vessel used in ancient Roman times for storage or transportation of goods. They are similar to kvevri, large Georgian vessels used to ferment wine.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a chemical compound made up of molecules that each have one carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. It is found in the gas state at room temperature, and as the source of available carbon in the carbon cycle, atmospheric CO2 is the primary carbon source for life on Earth. In the air, carbon dioxide is transparent to visible light but absorbs infrared radiation, acting as a greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide is soluble in water and is found in groundwater, lakes, ice caps, and seawater. When carbon dioxide dissolves in water, it forms carbonate and mainly bicarbonate (HCO−3), which causes ocean acidification as atmospheric CO2 levels increase.

Lees (fermentation)

Lees (fermentation)

Lees are deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate, or are carried by the action of "fining", to the bottom of a vat of wine after fermentation and aging. The same while brewing beer at a brewery is known as trub – the same from secondary fermentation of wine and beer are the lees or equally, as to beer only, dregs. This material is the source for most commercial tartaric acid, which is used in cooking and in organic chemistry.

Chalk

Chalk

Chalk is a soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock. It is a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite and originally formed deep under the sea by the compression of microscopic plankton that had settled to the sea floor. Chalk is common throughout Western Europe, where deposits underlie parts of France, and steep cliffs are often seen where they meet the sea in places such as the Dover cliffs on the Kent coast of the English Channel.

Marble

Marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock consisting of carbonate minerals that recrystallize under the influence of heat, pressure and aqueous solutions, most commonly calcite (CaCO3) or dolomite (CO3)2 and has a crystalline texture of varying thickness. Marble is typically not foliated (layered), although there are exceptions. About 10-15% of the sedimentary rocks on Earth are composed of limestone.

Madeira wine

Madeira wine

Madeira is a fortified wine made on the Portuguese Madeira Islands, off the coast of Africa. Madeira is produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry wines which can be consumed on their own, as an apéritif, to sweet wines usually consumed with dessert. Cheaper cooking versions are often flavoured with salt and pepper for use in cooking, but these are not fit for consumption as a beverage.

Wine styles

The grape material from pomace (pictured) was used to make lora, a low-quality wine commonly drunk by Roman slaves.
The grape material from pomace (pictured) was used to make lora, a low-quality wine commonly drunk by Roman slaves.

As in much of the ancient world, sweet white wine was the most highly regarded style. Wine was often diluted with warm water, occasionally seawater.[5]

The ability to age was a desirable trait in Roman wines, with mature examples from older vintages fetching higher prices than that from the current vintage, regardless of its overall quality. Roman law codified the distinction between "old" and "new" as whether wine had aged for at least a year. Falernian was particularly valued for its aging ability, said to need at least 10 years to mature but being at its best between 15 and 20 years. The white wine from Surrentine was said to need at least 25 years.

In the manner of Greek wine, Roman wine was often flavored with herbs and spices (similar to modern vermouth and mulled wine) and was sometimes stored in resin-coated containers, giving it a flavor similar to modern retsina.[4] Romans were particularly interested in the aroma of wine and experimented with various methods of enhancing a wine's bouquet. One technique that gained some usage in southern Gaul was planting herbs such as lavender and thyme in the vineyards, believing that their flavors would pass through the ground and into the grapes. Modern-day wines from the Rhone are often characterized by using the aroma descriptors of lavender and thyme, presumably as a reflection of the grape varieties used and the terroir.[1] Another widespread practice was the storage of amphoras in a smoke chamber called a fumarium to add smokiness to a wine's flavor. Passum, or wine made from dried grapes or raisins, was also particularly popular and was produced in the eastern Mediterranean.[3] It was widely used in ritual contexts and also found popularity in the kitchen and medicinal spheres.[3]

The term "vinum" spanned a broad spectrum of wine-based beverages, the quality of which depended on the amount of pure grape juice used and how diluted the wine was when served. Temetum, a sacrificial grade, strong wine from the first pressing, was served undiluted, and was supposedly reserved for men of the Roman elite, and for offerings to the gods.[39] Its name suggests an archaic Etruscan origin; in Rome's distant past, temetum might have been an alcoholic drink brewed from Rowan fruits.[40] Well below that was posca, a mixture of water and sour wine that had not yet turned into vinegar. Less acidic than vinegar, it still retained some of the aromas and texture of wine and was the preferred wine for the rations of Roman soldiers due to its low alcohol levels. Posca's use as soldiers' rations was codified in the Corpus Juris Civilis and amounted to around a liter per day. Still lower in quality was lora (modern-day piquette), which was made by soaking in water for a day the pomace of grape skins already pressed twice, and then pressing a third time. Cato and Varro recommended lora for their slaves. Both posca and lora were the most commonly available wine for the general Roman populace and probably would have been for the most part red wines, since white wine grapes would have been reserved for the upper class.[41]

Grape varieties

Mosaic depicting the vintage (from Cherchell, present-day Algeria, Roman Africa
Mosaic depicting the vintage (from Cherchell, present-day Algeria, Roman Africa

The writings of Virgil, Pliny and Columella offer the most detail about the grape varieties used in the production of wine in the Roman empire, many of which have been lost to antiquity. While Virgil's writings often do not distinguish between a wine's name and the grape variety, he made frequent mention of the Aminean grape variety, which Pliny and Columella ranked as the best in the empire. Pliny described five sub-varieties of the grape that produced similar but distinct wines, declaring it to be native to the Italian peninsula. While he claimed that only Democritus knew of every grape variety that existed, he endeavored to speak with authority on the grapes he believed were the only ones worthy of consideration.

Pliny described Nomentan as the second-best wine-producing grape, followed by Apian and its two sub-varieties, which were the preferred grape of Etruria. The only other grapes worthy of his consideration were Greek varieties, including the Graecula grape used to make Chian wine. He remarked that the Eugenia had promise, but only if planted in the Colli Albani region. Columella mentioned many of the same grapes but noted that the same grape produced varied wines in different regions and could even be known under different names, making it hard to track. He encouraged vine growers to experiment with different plantings to find the best for their areas.[42]

Ampelographers debate these descriptions of grapes and their possible modern counterparts or descendants. The Allobrogica grape that was used to produce the Rhone wine of Vienne may have been an early ancestor of the Pinot family. Alternative theories posit that it was more closely related to Syrah or Mondeuse noire—two grapes that produce vastly different wines. The link between these two is the Mondeuse noire synonym of Grosse Syrah. The Rhaetic grape that Virgil praised is believed to be related to the modern Refosco of northeastern Italy.[19]

Discover more about Wine styles related topics

Pomace

Pomace

Pomace, or marc, is the solid remains of grapes, olives, or other fruit after pressing for juice or oil. It contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit.

Roman law

Roman law

Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables, to the Corpus Juris Civilis ordered by Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I. Roman law forms the basic framework for civil law, the most widely used legal system today, and the terms are sometimes used synonymously. The historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law.

Herb

Herb

In general use, herbs are a widely distributed and widespread group of plants, excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients, with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, for medicinal purposes, or for fragrances. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs generally refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant, while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.

Mulled wine

Mulled wine

Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, is an alcoholic drink usually made with red wine, along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins, served hot or warm. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. It is usually served at Christmas markets in Europe, primarily in Germany and eastern France. There are non-alcoholic versions of it. Vodka-spiked mulled wine can be found in Polish Christmas markets, where mulled wine is commonly used as a mixer.

Resin

Resin

In polymer chemistry and materials science, a resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic compounds. This article focuses on naturally occurring resins.

Retsina

Retsina

Retsina is a Greek white resinated wine, which has been made for at least 2,000 years. Its unique flavor is said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, particularly amphorae, with Aleppo pine resin in ancient times. Before the invention of impermeable glass bottles, oxygen caused many wines to spoil within the year. Pine resin helped keep air out, while infusing the wine with resin aroma. The Romans began to use barrels in the 3rd century AD, removing any oenological necessity for resin, but the flavor itself was so popular that the style is still widespread today.

Aroma of wine

Aroma of wine

The aromas of wine are more diverse than its flavours. The human tongue is limited to the primary tastes perceived by taste receptors on the tongue – sourness, bitterness, saltiness, sweetness and savouriness. The wide array of fruit, earthy, leathery, floral, herbal, mineral, and woodsy flavour present in wine are derived from aroma notes sensed by the olfactory bulb. In wine tasting, wine is sometimes smelled before taking a sip in order to identify some components of the wine that may be present. Different terms are used to describe what is being smelled. The most basic term is aroma which generally refers to a "pleasant" smell as opposed to odour which refers to an unpleasant smell or possible wine fault. The term aroma may be further distinguished from bouquet which generally refers to the smells that arise from the chemical reactions of fermentation and aging of the wine.

Rhône wine

Rhône wine

The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC.

Fumarium

Fumarium

A fumarium was a smoke chamber used in ancient Rome to enhance the flavor of wine through artificially "aging" the wine. Amphorae were placed in the chamber, which was built on top of a heated hearth, in order to impart a smoky flavor in the wine that also seemed to sharpen the acidity. The wine would sometimes come out of the fumarium with a paler color. In his book Vintage: The Story of Wine, Hugh Johnson noted that Pliny the Elder and Columella did not recommend that "first-growth wines" like Falernian, Caecuban, and Alban be smoked.

Passum

Passum

Passum was a raisin wine apparently developed in ancient Carthage and transmitted from there to Italy, where it was popular in the Roman Empire. The earliest surviving instruction constitutes the only known Carthaginian recipe. It is a fragment from the Punic farming manual by Mago in its Latin translation by Decimus Junius Silanus. It survives because it was summarised by Columella :

Rowan

Rowan

The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or trees in the genus Sorbus of the rose family, Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the Himalaya, southern Tibet and parts of western China, where numerous apomictic microspecies occur. The name rowan was originally applied to the species Sorbus aucuparia and is also used for other species in Sorbus subgenus Sorbus.

Posca

Posca

Posca was an Ancient Roman drink made by mixing wine vinegar and water. Bracing but less nutritious and palatable than wine, it was typically a drink for soldiers, the lower classes, and slaves.

Wine in Roman culture

Marble table support adorned by Dionysos, Pan and a Satyr; Dionysos holds a rhyton (drinking vessel) in the shape of a panther, 170-180 AD
Marble table support adorned by Dionysos, Pan and a Satyr; Dionysos holds a rhyton (drinking vessel) in the shape of a panther, 170-180 AD

In its early years, Rome probably imported wine as a somewhat rare and costly commodity, and its native wine-god, Liber pater, was probably a fairly minor deity. Rome's traditional history has its first king, Romulus, offer the gods libations of milk, not wine, and approve the execution of a wife whose husband caught her drinking wine.[43] The writer Aulus Gellius claims that in those earlier times, women were forbidden to drink wine, "for fear that they might lapse into some disgraceful act. For it is only a step from the intemperance of Liber pater to the forbidden things of Venus". He cites the much respected arch-conservative Cato the elder as his source, but Cato's own writings make no mention of this.[44][45] The claimed prohibition and the consequences of its subversion have parallels in the myths pertaining to the "Women's goddess" Bona Dea, the nature deities Faunus and Fauna, and the founding of ancient Latium. Modern literature suggests that if there ever was such a prohibition it did not apply to wine and women in general, but to women of the elite classes and "particular types of [strong] wines". Drunkenness was disapproved of by Roman moralists, but women of the elite carried additional responsibility for their family's good reputation, and were expected to set the best possible example of female chastity and purity. Drunkenness could lead to adultery, which for women - but not men - was potentially a capital crime.[40]

Wine played a major role in ancient Roman religion and Roman funerary practices, and was the preferred libation for most deities, including one's deified ancestors, whose tombs were sometimes fitted with a permanent, usually stoppered "feeding tube".[46] The invention of wine was usually credited to Liber or his Greek equivalents, Bacchus (later Romanised) and Dionysus, who promoted the fertility of human and animal semen, and the "soft seed" of the vine. Ordinary, everyday, mixed wines were under the protection of Venus, but were considered profane (vinum spurcum), and could therefore not be used in official sacrifice to deities of the Roman State. A sample of pure, undiluted strong wine from the first pressing was offered to Liber/Bacchus, in gratitude for his assistance in its production. The undiluted wine, known as temetum, was customarily reserved for Roman men and Roman gods, particularly Jupiter, king of the gods. It was an essential element of the secretive, nocturnal and exclusively female Bona Dea festival, during which it was freely consumed but referred to euphemistically, as "milk" or "honey".[47][48] Outside of this context, ordinary wine (that is, Venus' wine) tinctured with myrtle oil was thought particularly suitable for women; myrtle was sacred to Venus.[49]

Venus' long association with wine reflects the inevitable connections between wine, intoxication and sex, expressed in the proverbial phrase sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus (loosely translated as "without food and wine, Venus freezes"). It was employed in various forms, notably by the Roman playwright, Terence, and well into the Renaissance.[50]

The major public festivals concerning wine production were the two Vinalia. At the Vinalia prima ("first Vinalia") of 23 April, ordinary men and women sampled the previous year's vintage of ordinary wine in Venus' name, while the Roman elite offered a generous libation of wine to Jupiter, in the hope of good weather for the next year's growth.[51] The Vinalia Rustica of 19 August, originally a rustic Latin harvest festival, celebrated the grape harvest, and the growth and fertility of all garden crops; its patron deity may have been Venus, or Jupiter, or both.[52]

Early Roman culture was strongly influenced by the neighbouring Etruscans to the north, and the ancient Greek colonists of Southern Italy (Magna Graecia) both of whom exported wine, and held viticulture in high esteem. Though Rome was still probably very "dry" by Greek standards, Roman attitudes to wine were drastically changed by the establishment and growth of empire.[53] Wine had religious, medicinal and social roles that set it apart from other ingredients of Roman cuisine. Wine might be watered by more than half its volume, possibly for taste or purification. Excessive drinking of undilute wine was thought barbaric and foolish; on the other hand, undilute wine was thought to be beneficial and "warming" for old men. Throughout Rome's Republican and Imperial eras, the offering of good wine to guests at banquets was a mark of the host's generosity, wealth and prestige.[54]

During the mid-to-later Republic, wine was increasingly treated as a necessity of everyday life rather than simply a luxury enjoyed by the elite. Cato recommended that slaves should have a weekly ration of 5 liters (over a gallon), though this should be sour or otherwise inferior wine. Should slaves become old, or sick and unproductive, Cato advised halving their rations.[1] The widespread planting of grapevines reflects the increase in demand for wine among all classes; the expanding market for wine also reflects an overall change in Roman diets. In the 2nd century BC, Romans began to shift from meals consisting of moist porridge and gruel to those more bread-based; wine aided in eating the drier food.[41]

Bacchic cult

Wine's use in the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist shares similarities with the pagan rites dedicated to Bacchus.
Wine's use in the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist shares similarities with the pagan rites dedicated to Bacchus.

The Bacchanalia were private Roman mystery cults of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom, intoxication and ecstasy. They were based on the Greek Dionysia and the Dionysian mysteries, and probably arrived in Rome c. 200 BC from Greek colonies in southern Italy, and Etruria, Rome's northern neighbour. They were originally occasional, women-only affairs, but became increasingly popular and frequent, and were opened up to priests and initiates of both genders and all classes; they may have briefly supplanted an existing, lawful cult to Liber.[55] Cult initiates employed music, dance and copious amounts of wine to achieve ecstatic religious possession. The Roman Senate perceived the cult as a threat to its own authority and Roman morality, and suppressed it with extreme ferocity in 186. Of some seven thousand initiates and their leaders, most were put to death. Thereafter the Bacchanalia continued in much diminished form, under the supervision of Rome's religious authorities, and were probably absorbed into Liber's cult.[56][57] Despite the ban, illicit Bacchanals persisted covertly for many years, particularly in Southern Italy, their likely place of origin.[58]

Judaism and Christianity

As Rome assimilated more cultures, it encountered peoples from two religions that viewed wine in generally positive terms—Judaism and Christianity. Grapes and wine make frequent literal and allegorical appearances in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. In the Torah, grapevines were among the first crops planted after the Great Flood, and in exploring Canaan following the Exodus from Egypt, one of the positive reports about the land was that grapevines were abundant. The Jews under Roman rule accepted wine as part of their daily life, but regarded negatively the excesses that they associated with Roman "impurities".[59]

Many of the Jewish views on wine were adopted by the new Christian sect that emerged in the 1st century AD. One of the first miracles performed by the sect's founder, Jesus, was to have turned water into wine. In addition, the sacrament of the Eucharist prominently involved wine. The Romans drew some parallels between Bacchus and Christ. Both figures possessed narratives strongly featuring the symbolism of life after death: Bacchus in the yearly harvest and dormancy of the grape; and Christ in the death and resurrection story. Eucharist's act of drinking wine as a stand-in for consuming Christ, either metaphysically or metaphorically, echoes the rites performed in festivals dedicated to Bacchus.[59]

The influence and importance of wine in Christianity was undeniable, and soon the Church itself would take the mantle from ancient Rome as the dominant influence in the world of wine for the centuries leading to the Renaissance.[59]

Medical uses

Romans believed that wine had the power to both heal and harm. Wine was a recommended cure for mental disorders such as depression, memory loss and grief, as well as bodily ailments, from bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gout, and halitosis to snakebites, tapeworms, urinary problems and vertigo.

Cato wrote extensively on the medical uses of wine, including a recipe for a laxative: wine made from grapevines treated with a mixture of ashes, manure and hellebore. He recommended that the flowers of certain plants, e.g. juniper and myrtle, be soaked in wine to help with snakebites and gout. He also believed that a mixture of old wine and juniper, boiled in a lead pot, could aid in urinary issues and that mixing wine with very acidic pomegranates could cure tapeworms.[59]

The 2nd-century CE Greco-Roman physician Galen provided several details concerning wine's medicinal use in later Roman times. In Pergamon, Galen was responsible for the diet and care of the gladiators, and used wine liberally in his practice, boasting that not a single gladiator died in his care. Wine served as an antiseptic for wounds and an analgesic for surgery. When he became Emperor Marcus Aurelius's physician, he developed pharmaceutical concoctions made from wine known as theriacs. Superstitious beliefs concerning theriacs' "miraculous" ability to protect against poisons and cure everything from the plague to mouth sores lasted until the 18th century. In his work De Antidotis, Galen noted the trend in Romans' tastes from thick, sweet wines to lighter, dry wines that were easier to digest.[29]

The Romans were also aware of the negative health effects of drinking wine, particularly the tendency towards "madness" if consumed immoderately. Lucretius warned that wine could provoke a fury in one's soul and lead to quarrels. Seneca the Elder believed that drinking wine magnified the physical and psychological defects of the drinker. Drinking wine in excess was frowned upon and those who imbibed heavily were considered dangerous to society. The Roman politician Cicero frequently labeled his rivals drunkards and a danger to Rome—most notably Mark Antony, who apparently once drank to such excess that he vomited in the Senate.[59]

The ambivalent attitude of the Romans is summarized in an epitaph:

balnea vina Venus
corrumpunt corpora
nostra se vitam faciunt
balnea vina Venus

"Baths, wine, and sex corrupt our bodies, but baths, wine, and sex make life worth living."

— epitaph of Tiberius Claudius Secundus, [60]

Discover more about Wine in Roman culture related topics

Satyr

Satyr

In Greek mythology, a satyr, also known as a silenus or silenos, is a male nature spirit with ears and a tail resembling those of a horse, as well as a permanent, exaggerated erection. Early artistic representations sometimes include horse-like legs, but, by the sixth century BC, they were more often represented with human legs. Comically hideous, they have mane-like hair, bestial faces, and snub noses and are always shown naked. Satyrs were characterized by their ribaldry and were known as lovers of wine, music, dancing, and women. They were companions of the god Dionysus and were believed to inhabit remote locales, such as woodlands, mountains, and pastures. They often attempted to seduce or rape nymphs and mortal women alike, usually with little success. They are sometimes shown masturbating or engaging in bestiality.

Rhyton

Rhyton

A rhyton is a roughly conical container from which fluids were intended to be drunk or to be poured in some ceremony such as libation, or merely at table. A rhyton is typically formed in the shape of an animal's head. Items were produced over large areas of ancient Eurasia, especially from Persia to the Balkans. Many have an opening at the bottom through which the liquid fell; others did not, and were merely used as drinking cups, with the characteristic that they could not usually be set down on a surface without spilling their contents.

Liber

Liber

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Liber, also known as Liber Pater, was a god of viticulture and wine, male fertility and freedom. He was a patron deity of Rome's plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia became associated with free speech and the rights attached to coming of age. His cult and functions were increasingly associated with Romanised forms of the Greek Dionysus/Bacchus, whose mythology he came to share.

Romulus

Romulus

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of folklore, and it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the God-like Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions.

Libation

Libation

A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an offering to a deity or spirit, or in memory of the dead. It was common in many religions of antiquity and continues to be offered in cultures today.

Aulus Gellius

Aulus Gellius

Aulus Gellius was a Roman author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome. He was educated in Athens, after which he returned to Rome. He is famous for his Attic Nights, a commonplace book, or compilation of notes on grammar, philosophy, history, antiquarianism, and other subjects, preserving fragments of the works of many authors who might otherwise be unknown today.

Faunus

Faunus

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Faunus [ˈfau̯nʊs] was the rustic god of the forest, plains and fields; when he made cattle fertile he was called Inuus. He came to be equated in literature with the Greek god Pan, after which Romans depicted him as a horned god.

Fauna (deity)

Fauna (deity)

Fauna [ˈfau̯na] is a Roman rustic goddess said in differing ancient sources to be the wife, sister, or daughter of Faunus. Varro regarded her as the female counterpart of Faunus, and said that the fauni all had prophetic powers. She is also called Fatua or Fenta Fauna.

Latium

Latium

Latium is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire.

Religion in ancient Rome

Religion in ancient Rome

Religion in ancient Rome consisted of varying imperial and provincial religious practices, which were followed both by the people of Rome as well as those who were brought under its rule.

Roman funerary practices

Roman funerary practices

Roman funerary practices include the Ancient Romans' religious rituals concerning funerals, cremations, and burials. They were part of time-hallowed tradition, the unwritten code from which Romans derived their social norms. Elite funeral rites, especially processions and public eulogies, gave the family opportunity to publicly celebrate the life and deeds of the deceased, their ancestors, and the family's standing in the community. Sometimes the political elite gave costly public feasts, games and popular entertainments after family funerals, to honour the departed and to maintain their own public profile and reputation for generosity. The Roman gladiator games began as funeral gifts for the deceased in high status families.

Dionysus

Dionysus

In ancient Greek religion and myth, Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest, wine making, orchards and fruit, vegetation, fertility, festivity, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre. The Romans called him Bacchus for a frenzy he is said to induce called baccheia. As Dionysus Eleutherios, his wine, music, and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful. His thyrsus, a fennel-stem sceptre, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. Those who partake of his mysteries are believed to become possessed and empowered by the god himself.

Source: "Ancient Rome and wine", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 14th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Rome_and_wine.

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See also
References
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  2. ^ Dodd, Emlyn (April 2014). "From Hispania to the Chalkidiki: A Detailed Study of Transport Amphorae from the Macquarie University Museum of Ancient Cultures". Chronika.
  3. ^ a b c d e f DODD, EMLYN K. (2020). ROMAN AND LATE ANTIQUE WINE PRODUCTION IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN : a comparative ... archaeological study at antiochia ad cragum. [Place of publication not identified]: ARCHAEOPRESS. ISBN 978-1-78969-403-1. OCLC 1139263254.
  4. ^ a b c d e J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 589–590 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  5. ^ a b c d e f g H. Johnson Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 59–63 Simon and Schuster 1989 ISBN 0-671-68702-6
  6. ^ a b c Dodd, Emlyn (January 2017). "Pressing Issues: A New Discovery in the Vineyard of Region I.20, Pompeii". Archeologia Classica.
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  17. ^ J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 652 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  18. ^ J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 281 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
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  43. ^ Dionysus of Halicarnassus, Roman antiquities, 2.25.6: Plutarch, "The Parallel Lives", Comparison of Lycurgus and Numa, 3.5
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  48. ^ Wildfang, Robin Lorsch, Rome's vestal virgins: a study of Rome's vestal priestesses in the late Republic and early Empire, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2007, p. 41
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  50. ^ Bull, Malcolm, The Mirror of the Gods, How Renaissance Artists Rediscovered the Pagan Gods, Oxford UP, 2005, pp. 218_219ISBN 978-0195219234
  51. ^ Olivier de Cazanove, "Jupiter, Liber et le vin latin", Revue de l'histoire des religions, 1988, Vol. 205, Issue 205-3, pp. 245–265 persee
  52. ^ Lipka, Michael, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach, BRILL, 2009, p. 42; citing Varro, Lingua Latina, 6. 16; Varro's explicit denial that the festival belongs to Venus implies his awareness of the opposite opinion. Lipka offers this apparent contradiction as an example of two Roman cults that offer "complementary functional foci" within a single festival.
  53. ^ Gately, Iain (2009). Drink A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York: Gotham Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 9781592404643.
  54. ^ Gately, Iain (2008). Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York, New York: Penguin Group. pp. 35, 32. ISBN 978-1-592-40464-3.
  55. ^ Most Roman sources describe Liber as Rome's equivalent to Dionysus and Bacchus, both of whom were sometimes titled eleutherios (liberator); see Robert Rouselle, Liber-Dionysus in Early Roman Drama, The Classical Journal, 82, 3 (1987), p. 193.
  56. ^ Erich S. Gruen, "The Bacchanalia affair", in Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy, University of California Press, 1996, p. 34 ff.[2]
  57. ^ For Livy's account, see Livy, The History of Rome, Vol 5, Book 39, IX. Modern scholarly sources offer various estimates on the number executed.
  58. ^ See Sarolta A. Takács, Politics and Religion in the Bacchanalian Affair of 186 B.C.E., Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 100, (2000), op.301. [3]
  59. ^ a b c d e R. Phillips A Short History of Wine pg 57–63 Harper Collins 2000 ISBN 0-06-621282-0
  60. ^ Brian K Harvey (2016). Daily Life In Ancient Rome: A Sourcebook. Hackett Publishing Company. p. 256.
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