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Article

Dimitri van Limbergen

Grape cultivation reached Greece towards the end of the 3rd millennium bce, and Italy around the beginning of the 1st millennium bce. From the 8th century bce onward, systematic viticulture expanded, and wine became deeply embedded in Greco-Roman society at all levels. It was the beverage of choice for both the wealthy and the poor, a major intoxicant in the ancient world, and an essential source of energy in the daily diet. Wine was widely used in religion, feasts, and medicine, and was considered a key marker of civilized culture. Combined with the vine’s high productive potential and its low agronomic needs, all this made wine a primary feature of the agrarian economy and an important product of (inter)national trade. Literature, iconography, and archaeology sketch a picture of significant Greek and Roman realizations in vine-growing techniques and winemaking technology, thus testifying to a level of scientific expertise unmatched until the 19th century. The consumption of wine was stratified and diversified, with the market divided between premium vintages for the rich, ordinary wines for the masses, and winery drinks for the lower classes.

Article

Travis Rupp

Beer was a staple of ancient diets, extending from the ancient Near East to Egypt and from the Greek Aegean to Rome. The brewing process developed in Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Israel, while industrialized production of beer continued in Egypt. However, in Greek and Roman culture, discussions and acceptance of beer are not as prevalent in the composed texts of the elite populace. These authors avoid or degrade the topic. Though no one word for beer universally translates in ancient Greek and Latin languages, further examination has demonstrated that beer was a nutritional necessity and was produced in Greek and Roman history; yet, the resilience of beer is largely attributed to peoples living on or beyond the boundaries of Greek and Roman dominion. Their direct contact with Rome’s legions compelled beer’s development even without a full embrasure from aristocratic elites. Combining art, architecture, archaeology, and literature, a comprehensive story for the existence and permanence of beer is told from 9500 bce to 500 ce.