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Wine Culture In Ancient Greece And Rome

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Tom Standage describes the importance of wine as well as Greece and the Empire of Rome. As he explains it, it was around 9000 BCE when the fermented grape juice was discovered in Armenia and Iran. As wine grew in popularity to nearby areas, it was considered a drink only for the highest class. As when the trading started, and wine production increased, early nations would make it as a drink full of flavor for the rich. 

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Ancient Greece and symposia, are known to be the start of Western thought in philosophy, law, science and politics, they were place where new ideas were discussed along with wine drinking. The Greeks often drank wine because of the idea that it made them better than others such as the Persians. Wine later came as an improved version all over Greece, and was sold as a commercial product, which everyone even slaves drank. It was offered in different ages, and even different places, as it had a different taste. In Greece wine was mixed with water as they believed only the wine god could be safe drinking pure wine. The mixture of water with wine also didn’t allow people to overdrink. Thought to expose truths and characters of a person, the Greeks used wine as a model for philosophies. Whine was traded by Greeks everywhere, and was important in the social lives of the rich men who created the western thought. After some time the Greeks spread the drink along with their ways of drinking it and idea to other empires. 

However, within these empires was Rome, which then became so powerful that it conquered Greece, as Rome received its culture, including wine drinking. The Romans accepted the Greek wines, and then created new varieties, which eventually surpassed the popularity wine had in Greece. Roman wine then began to travel all over the empire and was then brought back to Rome. In the Roman society everyone drank wine, however the rich would get the best, and the slaves would get the worst, others would get an average quality. Wine then got the point where it was so popular it was used as a medicine. However, all this power came to an end as Rome divided into eastern and western part, after a while having the western part fall. Wine was able to survive passed it Greek and Roman creators, reasons for this including religion. For example, the religion of Christianity was growing, and it accepted wine and often used it in stories and services. But then there was also another growing religion which was Islam, and it banned all alcoholic drinks including wine, due to spiritual reasons. 

Overall, the ancient culture of wine has affected how we view it today, and also makes it the most cultured drink ever, as it has caused such a variety in a social setting. 

09 March 2021

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