After picking up the January Wine of the Month selections from my wine merchant this morning I did my usual research in order to know what I'm drinking … there was an Italian red, and a Sicilian one, so that got me thinking about the ancient Romans, who consumed a lot of wine.
Wikipedia (as usual handle with care) has a nicely illustrated Ancient Rome and wine. Jim Grout has Wine and Rome, and then there is a site Roman Wine: A Window on an Ancient Economy from MASCA (Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania Museum), with another page: the origins and the history of wine from its neolithic origin to Egypt and Mesopotamia. N.S. Gill at Ancient / Classical History at About.com has a page, Wine, with a number of links including some of the above. The Roman Empire also expounds on Wine, and tells us why the Romans drank it:
The Romans drank wine as a staple part of their diet, preferred over anything else. In fact, the quality of drinking water was such that, wine was a typical drink at any time in the day. However, unlike today, ancient wine was almost always consumed mixed in with large percentages of water. The ancient wines were stronger, both in alcohol content and perhaps in flavor, making the watering down of their drinks necessary.
Jim Grout also writes about Roman Vintages, which readers of the various Roman mystery series and their tipple friendly sleuths will recognize.
The wiki page discusses Roman writings on wine:
The Romans had two wine festivals called Vinalia (see LacusCurtius/Smith's Dictionary), the Vinalia urbana or priora on the 23rd of April IX. Calend. Mai.), and the Vinalia rustica or altera on the 19th of August (XIV. Calend. Sept.).
Ovid, Fasti, Book IV: April 23: The Vinalia.
All this actually updates a blog post from almost two years ago:
wine in the roman world – and a poem by catullus
And finally, related, there is also Ancient Greece and wine.
All images courtesy Wikimedia Commons, click to enlarge.