PROLEGOMENA TO THE DIFFUSION OF WINEMAKING IN ANTIQUITY. A STUDY IN CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY. by IVOR WINTON M.A. (Hons.), University of Glasgow, 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of Geography We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1975 In presenting th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary shal l make it f ree ly ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thes is for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is for f i nanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my writ ten permission. The Univers i ty of Bri 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Department of Date i ABSTRACT This is a study of wine in antiquity. An attempt to describe the spatial diffusion of winemaking in ancient times and to acknow-ledge the principal factors which spurred that diffusion has produced a study which is simple in structure, but wide-ranging in temporal and geographical compass as well as in i ts topical divers ity. Basical ly, i t consists of two sections, corresponding to the dual preoccupation of diffusion and function. Part I traces winemaking's diffusion from i t s l i ke l y beginnings to the end of the Roman Empire. Although casual Palaeolithic fermentation was probably practised, organised winemaking awaited the systematic v i t icu l ture which arrived with the Neolithic, From a generally agreed origin in Armenia, winemaking's story is followed through a series of lands: Babylonia and Assyria, Egypt, Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Greece, Italy, and the Roman Empire in Afr ica and Europe. The oenological variety of these lands is made apparent. Major patterns of wine trading and their influence or lack of i t on winemaking's spread are studied. What emerges from this account is the start l ing vigour of this diffusion story, indicative of the high esteem in which ancient man held wine. Part II attempts to identify the reasons for such esteem in order to understand the diffusion momentum of winemaking. The u t i l i t y of wine to the ancients is examined systematically in some deta i l . The following themes are treated: wine for the body, that i i i s , wine as l i q u i d , wine as food, wine as medicine (and aphrodisiac); wine for recreational drinking-- its value to the individual and i ts role in society; wine for religious observance and man's existential well-being. An endeavour is made to avoid mere cataloguing of examples in favour of assessing wine's role in these various domains. At every turn, the great importance of the beverage in ancient l i f e becomes apparent. A wide range of writing—ancient and modern, primary and interpretative—has been culled for information, including materials drawn from the b io log ica l , medical, and social sciences, technology, archaeology and epigraphy, art history, c lass ical l i terature, l ingu i s t i c s , comparative re l i g ion, and Bib l ica l exegesis. Even so, i t would be unwise to consider the present examination more than an introduction to a rich and complex theme in the history of Western man. CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . INTRODUCTORY REMARKS PART I 1. BEGINNINGS The Fermentation Process Man's F irst Alcoholic Steps The Origins of Winemaking 2. THE SPREAD OF ORGANISED WINEMAKING . . . . . . . . The Early C iv i l i sa t ions : Hazardous Environments a) Mesopotamia b) Egypt c) Trade: The Civ i l i sat ions Import The Later C iv i l i sa t ions : Propitious Environments a) The Northern Foldlands (i) Anatolia-Armenia ( i i ) Persia b) The Mediterranean Tra i l ( i) The Levant ( i i ) The Aegean World ( i i i ) Italy c) Trade: The Civ i l i sat ions Export INTERIM REMARKS. . . PART II 3. WINE FOR THE BODY. Wine as Liquid Wine as Food Wine as Medicine iv 4. WINE, THE INDIVIDUAL, AND SOCIETY 178 Wine by any Other Name? Wine for the Individual Wine for Society 5. WINE AND RELIGION 204 Introductory Matters Religion: Themes of Life and Death a) The Force of L i fe b) The Problem of Death in Nature c) The Problem of Death in Man Wine's Use in Religion a) Why Wine? b) Wine and the "Favourable Relationship" c) Wine and Eschatological Longing d) Wine and Communion CONCLUDING REMARKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248 FOOTNOTES, CHAPTER 1 . . . . . . . . 253 FOOTNOTES, CHAPTER 2 . . . . . . . 269 FOOTNOTES, CHAPTER 3 . . . . . . . . . 329 FOOTNOTES, CHAPTER 4 . . 342 FOOTNOTES, CHAPTER 5 . . .361 LITERATURE CITED . . . . . 393 APPENDIX A. ALTERNATIVE SPURS TO THE DIFFUSION OF VITIS VINIFERA? . . . . . 453 APPENDIX B. THE ETYMOLOGICAL EVIDENCE: TRACING BACK THE WORD "WINE" . . . . . . . . 466 ABBREVIATIONS USED . , 477 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I gratefully record here that in various ways l i f e was made easier by the following: Dick Copley Jim Houston Lew Robinson Cole Harris Julian Minghi Bob North Donna Cook Paul Kariya Yi-Fu Tuan James Chang John Hickey Joe Nakanishi Dominique Bourgau my parents Skol! vi He who plants a vine becomes entangled in i t s branches. (Flaubert) A man who l ives apart from other men is l ike a ripe grape. And a man who l ives in the company of others is a sour grape, (Abbot Moses) To Dick and the vineyards of Pignan-two turning points. 1 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS My ideal introduction is that which does not outstay i t s welcome. Accordingly, I shall hasten to a close. The purpose of this thesis is simple: i t is to te l l of wine in the ancient world. What I intend to do is th is . To begin with (in Part I), I shall present an explanatory account of the spatial diffusion of winemaking from i t s origins—inasmuch as these can be ascertained—to the period of the death throes of the Roman Empire. Given certain key characteristics of this diffusion pattern, i t wi l l be possible to conclude (in Interim Remarks) that wine enjoyed an especial significance in the ancient world. Thereupon (in Part II), I shall make tentative examination of why wine was accorded such importance by detai l ing the diverse ways in which i t served the needs of ancient man. In essence, then, this thesis is twofold—a diffusion study and a functional study. I do not pretend to have made the l ink between the two as strong as I might have wished. While I believe firmly that the aggregate of functions performed by wine illuminates in large measure the conclusions to be drawn from the examination of winemaking's d i f fus ion, I have not advanced to the point of proposing that a specif ic element of the former can explain a part icular aspect of the la t ter . That would be to proceed beyond the competence of the evidence available. Thus i t is that I stress the structural s implicity of this study. 2 The pages which follow te l l only the early episodes in the story of wine, more recent events remaining unsaid. The choice of temporal l imit is not arbitrary. By the end of the Roman Empire in the west, winemaking had achieved a te r r i to r i a l extent which i t was not to surpass for over a millennium. Indeed, the imminent menace of Muslim orthodoxy, implacable enemy of wine, was to herald a v i t i cu l tura l recession. In diffusion terms, therefore, the declining Roman Empire marked the end of an era. And as the mediaeval world has a sp i r i t or personality which makes i t quite d is t inct from the ancient world, so wine's later story bears a character different from that which I intend to t e l l . I cannot claim to be charting virgin ter r i tory . As my bibliography reveals, others have devoted studies to wine in antiquity. However, only four merit mention as recent attempts at major contributions on the subject. Charles Seltman's Wine in the Ancient World belies the promise of i t s t i t l e . Seltman's ancient world rarely extends beyond the Greek realm. In addition, his material is both i l l -balanced and thin. (Lest I be accused o f . . . e r . . . sour grapes, one need only turn to Renard's review of this book.) The remaining three works are general histories of wine. I have examined but not drawn upon A History of Wine by H. Warner Al len: unfortunately, this begins far into histor ic times when the saga of wine had already run much of i t s course. Quite useful is Edward Hyams' Dionysus. A social history of the wine vine, especially since Hyams is often at pains to propose possible diffusion paths for 3 winemaking. Yet this account, heavily dependent on a re lat ive ly small number of sources, f a l l s far short of the meticulous assemblage of diverse data which the subject demands. F ina l ly , a more erudite tome is Gods, Men and Wine by William Younger, who has ventured vigorously into the arena of archaeological research. Perhaps because of such di l igent cu l l ing , Younger highlights a weakness which to a greater or lesser extent characterises a l l endeavours to come to terms with the complexity of wine's hi story--the lack of an overall guiding structure. At times, Gods, Men and Wine reads as a compendium, and I do not think i t uncharitable to suggest that Younger, as a l l others, f a i l s to convey the immense significance of wine to the ancients. (Incidentally, to the best of my knowledge, works of equivalent scope are rare or lacking altogether in other modern Western tongues. I have encountered no references to such studies during lengthy bibliographic search in several languages and amongst authors with a broad l ingu i s t ic command. Thus, in French, B i l l i a rd ' s La vigne dans Vant iqu i te , written in 1913 and necessarily out of date, remains the standard work.) As I say, the terr i tory I enter is not new. Yet I am far from following dut i fu l ly in the wake of the above writings. It can be said with a good measure of confidence that there is s t i l l no comprehensive and detailed consideration of winemaking's diffusion in the ancient world, despite several appeals for one. Nor do I know of any author who has undertaken a sustained scrutiny of the 4 considerable breadth of functions performed by wine. Hopefully, the pages which follow can make some contribution in these two separate areas. I would further wish that this study may to some extent take in rein (where others have been submerged by) the complexity of i ts subject material and thereby show the significance of wine in antiquity to i t s best advantage. One f inal intent: since statements rash rub shoulders with statements rational a l l too frequently in the. wine l i terature, at intervals throughout the following chapters I shall be at pains to expose some of the wilder claims. This, however, is not said in cavalier tone, for as Will Durant once remarked in another context, "It is easy for us to see better and farther than Ar i s tot le , since we stand on his shoulders." Lastly, some terminology and sundry matters. The ancients and the ancient world, the players and backcloth of this study, are solely those of the Western tradit ion. The East has been ignored (pace Joseph Needham). In addition, wine should always be understood as grape wine unless otherwise qual i f ied or, except in af fa i rs etymological, placed in quotation marks as 'wine'; alcohol is employed both in the precise sense of ethyl alcohol (= ethanol) and in the everyday sense of the alcoholic beverages as a group. Measurements are given in metric units. No uniform approach has been taken towards proper names beyond the desire to present them in a clear and famil iar manner. A useful atlas to accompany the text would be Westermann's Atlas zur Welt Geschichte. 5 PART I 5a CHAPTER 1 BEGINNINGS The story goes something l ike this. Long ago—in ancient Persia, to be exact—there l ived a king called Jamshid who was exceedingly partial to grapes. Dismayed by their absence during winter, he resolved to store huge quantities of the f ru i t in large vats to satisfy his wintertime cravings. Alas, before long the grapes ran to juice which began to surge and seethe in a manner most mysterious and quite alarming. The verdict was poison. Jamshid, saddened at his loss but ever-resourceful, ordered the vats to be set aside among the palace poisons. Now there l ived in the palace a rather attractive young lady called Gulnare the Beautiful. Poor Gulnare had resolved to k i l l herself ( i t is hinted that she had been upstaged, for , you see, in a harem much upstaging goes on). True to her sex's sense of f l a i r , she pondered to find the most h istr ionic exit possible. Eventually her mind lighted on the vats of the strange new poison. Screwing up her courage, she took a long draught of the l iqu id . The poison soon acted. Strange to re late, however, she f e l t herself going out with a giggle rather than a whimper. Or rather, she didn't go out at a l l , which added incompetence to impropriety. Indeed the more of the poison she drank, the less i l l -disposed did she feel towards the world she had intended to bid sorrowful adieu to. F ina l ly , she sought audience with Jamshid and, a-laughing and a-dancing, confronted the astonished 6 monarch with her tale of the miraculous 'poison 1 . He too sampled the vat and was delighted with i ts l iquid which, for reasons that aren't too c lear, came to be cal led 'wine 1. i So runs the Persian legend of Jamshid and Gulnare, one of several ancient world explanations of the origins of winemaking. It embodies an important truth: wine was a chance discovery. Man discovered alcohol. It was no creative invention in the s t r i c t sense. Thus i t has been dubbed a "natural phenomenon," "a triumph 3 not of human imagination but of human cur ios i ty. " This chapter is concerned with the origins of winemaking. When was the discovery made? Where was the discovery made? A necessary prelude, I f e e l , is to have a stronger idea of what actually was discovered—namely, the fermentation process. And with this I shall begin. The Fermentation Process 4 Alcohol is from plants. Yet i t is rare to find any in plant 5 tissues. Not a d i f f i c u l t paradox to resolve, th is . "The chemical constituents of plants are more or less the direct result of photosynthesis and ce l l re sp i ra t ion , " 6 that i s , a consequence of the formation of complex molecules and their degradation or catabolism. And the fact is that neither of these processes can result in more than trace quantities of ethyl alcohol (ethanol).^ For alcohol to form, a special condition must be imposed--anaerobiosis. There are, then, two forms of ce l l catabolism, that occurring under aerobic 7 conditions (respiration) and that under anaerobic (fermentation). Only the latter yields alcohol. Ethanol is invariably the result of glucidic carbohydrate fermentation (whereas higher alcohols are acquired in part from 8 9 amino acids). The basic fermentation process is written thus: C 6 H 1 2 ° 6 — > 2C 2H-0H + 2C0 2 + 33 ca l . energy glucose —> ethanol carbon dioxide Every plant ce l l is capable of creating a small quantity of alcohol when deprived of oxygen, the phenomenon being l imited by the death of the ce l l to which alcohol acts as a t o x i n . ^ But naturally occurring anaerobic conditions are re lat ive ly l imited and such intrace l lu lar fermentation is therefore uncommon. It is seen perhaps most obviously when oxygen has d i f f i cu l t y penetrating the inter ior of compact or large f ru i t s , especially i f senescent, since the epicarp of f ru i t i s resistant to gaseous exchange.^ For practical purposes, that is to say anthropocentric purposes, such intrace l lu lar fermentation has never been of any consequence. Alcohol as ancient man knew i t was the product of not one plant, but two--an appropriate carbohydrate base material, granted, but also the yeast. The yeast's role is to promote the process of base material catabolism to alcohol (which i t achieves by means of a complicated 12 series of enzymatic catalyses). While i t was said that every plant can create some alcohol, the yeast cel l is in a sense special ised, 8 being a thoroughly fecund manufacturer with a marked resistance to 13 the toxic attack of alcohol. Essential ly, however, the yeast ce l l is being exploited when the fermentation equation above is employed by man: i t has no use for the resultant alcohol, nor yet for the carbon dioxide. Its reward is the energy released, much of which, to be sure, dissipates as heat, but about half of which i t captures and directs towards the chemical work of synthesising the substance of more yeast ce l l s , that i s , towards yeast growth.^ (For yeasts, unicel lu lar organisms, are devoid of photosynthetic power and rely on organic carbon—any material containing fermentable sugars or substances 15 easi ly hydrolised to such sugars —as a source of energy and carbon.)^ 6 For present purposes, no examination of the complicated fermentation sequence, the so-called Embden-Meyerhof biochemical pathway,^ is necessary. But worthy of mention in greater deta i l , for i t wi l l be seen later to have historical bearing, is the antagonism between oxygen and the winemaker. Oxygen stimulates yeast growth but not alcoholic fermentation. Given a plent i ful a i r supply, the yeast acts upon sugars as i f to 18 burn them, that i s , by changing them to carbon dioxide and water: C 6 H 12°6 + 6 0 2 ~ * 6 H 2 ° + 6 C 0 2 + 6 7 3 c a l ' e n e r 9 y glucose oxygen —•» water carbon dioxide 9 This is what every yeast dreams of—more energy return for unit 19 effort compared with the anaerobic s ituation. On the other hand, i t has never been an overriding t r a i t of mankind to be impressed by the turning of potential 'wine' into water. Therefore, for man, 20 yeast anaerobiosis i s all-important. Some sort of container becomes necessary to achieve a ir less conditions since then only the surface of the fermenting base material mash, be i t grape must or whatever, w i l l be exposed to oxygen and because there wi l l be a dominant upward movement as the carbon dioxide escapes through the 21 ju ice. The need for this fermentation container wi l l be returned to presently. Oxygen remains the v i l l a i n of the piece even after fermentation has been completed. In the finished beverage spoilage was very prevalent until quite recent times. I shall explain in terms of the specif ic case of wine. As the alcohol concentration increases in the fermenting must the various yeast species reach their part icular l imi t of ethanol tolerance and die off. (Thus a sequence of fungal 'performers' show their mettle: certain so-called 'wild yeasts ' , notably Kloeckera apiculata, i n i t i a te fermentation only to perish 22 by the time 4% alcohol has been reached; thereafter, Saccharomyces species dominate the process, part icular ly the premier wine yeast 23 24 Saccharomyces cerevisiae which may withstand 15% alcohol levels; Saccharomyces oviformis, highly resistant, sometimes completes the 25 fermentation at 18-19%.) But neither high ethanol concentrations nor wine's high acidity (generally, pH 3-4) can prevent certain 10 microbial spoilage i f oxygen is allowed to reach the finished wine. In that case, a very few yeasts can grow in alcohol. For example, the aerobe Candida mycoderma, incapable of fermentation, wi l l convert 26 the alcohol to carbon dioxide and water at the surface of the wine. More serious is the fact that several species of Acetobacter rank among the l imited number of microorganisms, yeasts excepted, which can f lourish in wine. Again aerobic organisms, their multipl ication is achieved at the expense of oxidising more and more of the alcohol 27 to acetic acid. A 'vinegary' wine results. The histor ical significance of such microbial act iv i ty is evident. For the most part, ancient technology could not guarantee an hermetic environment for the finished wine. Hence early drinkers were required to consume their l iquor immediately or to seek preservative measures to mitigate i t s speedy souring. This feature of ancient v in i f icat ion wi l l be raised again later. Man's F i r s t Alcoholic Steps Enough of the fermentation process per se. Its ear l iest recognition and purposeful regulation by man is now of concern. To begin at the beginning, however, is no simple matter for one must contend with the spectre which treads on the ta i l of so many diffusion studies--the issue of single innovative nucleus versus multiple, independent foci of invention. One beginning for wine-making or many? But given the wide range of beverages fermented by man, I prefer to confront the issue in terms of the more general 11 level of alcohol-making. Is i t l i ke l y that numerous peoples, independent of each other, discovered the means to make alcohol from local products? Or are the many beverages the inheritors a l l of one breakthrough, one discovery which diffused in every direction with appropriate substitutions in base material being made in different environments? Either s ituation, i f deemed the more probable, would illuminate the early days of wine. On the one hand, i t would be reasonable to suppose several or many beginnings for winemaking rather than one; on the other, there is the l ikel ihood that the temporal and spatial character of incipient v in i f icat ion was strongly influenced by the broader diffusion pattern. No categorical answer is possible, but i t does seem to me that the situation of multiple, independent origins is the more tenable conclusion. A case can be made for this founded upon two fac tors— the widespread ava i l ab i l i t y of materials for the fermentation process and the s impl ic ity of the process i t s e l f . A cursory acquaintance with the relevant l i terature reveals the astonishing variety of carbohydrate material which has been fermented by man. It would seem that every possible material possessing fermentable sugars or substances easi ly converted to such 28 sugars has been investigated as a source for alcohol. Major 29 starches ( f i r s t requiring enzymatic conversion) which have been employed are the staple grains--wheat, barley, rye, maize, mi l le t , sorghum, and r ice—plus such vegetables as the potato and Jerusalem artichoke, and the tropical sweet potato, manioc, agave, and pepper 12 30 root (Piper methysticum). Notable sugar sources have been grapes, f igs , pomegranates, carobs, dates, bananas, pineapples, and mesquite 31 beans, as well as honey, palm sap, and sugar cane. Distinct from these is the ut i l i sa t ion of animal sugars, chief ly the lactose in mares' milk which ferments to give the mildly alcoholic beverage 32 kumiss. Comprehensiveness would require the additional mention of a host of now minor or unorthodox bases—various tree saps, berries and roots, certain cac t i , even tree ferns, pine cones, the flower 33 of the Bassia plant, and f i sh ! This positive profusion of fermentable bases (albeit some more easily fermented than others) means that available to mankind has been the near-universal presence of a source material for alcohol. S igni f icant ly, few are the peoples of the world who tradi t ional ly 34 have not made some sort of alcoholic beverage. In l ight of such pandemic d i s t r ibut ion, i t is surely more reasonable to canvass for many centres rather than but one where alcohol-making began. True, I have not yet taken into consideration the distr ibution (therefore local ava i lab i l i ty ) of that other prerequisite for fermentation, the yeast. The 'geography' of yeasts at a given juncture in history is something we may never know. But for that distr ibution spec i f i ca l ly to confound my conclusion above, i t would be necessary to suppose that yeasts were lacking from a l l parts of the earth's land surface save that area where the one fermentation breakthrough was reputedly achieved and, furthermore, that only subsequently did the microorganism diffuse throughout the world. 13 presumably with the intentional or unknowing aid of man. This reconstruction seems most unlikely. It certainly accords i l l with what is known of yeasts today, when there is no denying their 35 ubiquity. An ecological ver sa t i l i t y , observed c l i n i c a l l y and empirically, has taken the yeasts, as a group, to most, perhaps a l l , parts of the globe. Their toleration of diverse growth media and cl imatic conditions, prime considerations at the world scale, may make this point more emphatically. From the days of Pasteur on, much attention has been given to the media in which yeasts can grow or at least pass part of their l i f e cycle. Wealth rather than ecological l imitation impresses. Fruits, part icular ly decomposing f ru i t s , may be la dolce vita for 37 yeasts, but the plant world offers many habitats to the micro-organism—agarics and tree exudates in part icular, but also grain 38 ears, root crops, and the leaves and nectar of various plants. 39 Yeasts are now recognised as a component of soi l f l o r a , are 40 increasingly reported in the oceans, and can be collected from the a i r ^ (although this is a d i s t inct ly temporary medium). 4 2 Moreover, a l l the things that creep therein may not be yeastless. The alimentary. tract of several insects has been established as a regular yeast habitat; 4 ^ a few examples of high counts in f i sh gut and skin have 44 come to l i ght ; some seabirds maintain a dense intestinal yeast 45 f l o ra ; and i t . i s certain that the digestive systems of many animals harbour both permanent (obligate saprophytes) and temporary (facultate saprophytes and passers-by) fungal populat ions. 4 6 Man 14 47 48 is no exception. His faeces may be yeast-rich and yeasts are 49 50 a commonplace in his mouth, in his sputum, on his skin and . 51 scalp. S imilar ly, a tolerance for diverse climatic conditions marks the yeast. Experiments have shown thermotolerant.species to f lourish 52 at 40 o -48°C, and tropical and equatorial lands, to their cost, 53 know certain yeasts as crop pathogens. Equally, there exist psychrophilic examples. Vigorous fungal growth has been stimulated 54 at -2°C. Outside the laboratory, di Menna has recorded a variety 55 of yeast f lora in so i l s from Antarctica and eastern Greenland, while colonies (including Saccharomyces spp.) grew from mud samples 56 taken at a depth of 3,450 metres below the ice near the North Pole. Most wine yeasts seem able to survive temperatures below freezing 57 by hibernating. Humidity as an ecological variable has received CO less attention: a moist environment would seem to be preferred 59 by yeasts, but there is also empirical evidence indicative of drought resistance. 6 ^ Clearly, i t is impossible to gainsay the ecological ver sa t i l i t y and widespread distr ibution of yeasts. This is not to deny, however, 61 62 marked areal dif ferentiat ion in the amount and kind of yeast f lora (the l a t ter being a factor in the French notion of vineyard CO ter ro i r ) . But my present point is this: i f the yeast, which appeared early in the evolution of l i f e forms, can be so easi ly 64 sat isf ied as to habitat—which in some cases is vector as well — and climatic environment, there can be scant reason to suppose that 15 they were not more or less as widespread when man made his f i r s t alcohol as they are today. Just as fermentable base materials were available throughout most of the world, so were the necessary yeasts. The fact of the widespread ava i l ab i l i t y of the active ingredients for fermentation, accompanied by the dearth of peoples lacking a tradition of alcohol-making, encourages bel ief in multiple origins rather than one g i f t of alcohol 's secret to the world. Encourages bel ief , but that is a l l . However, the balance swings further against the l a t ter proposition i f we remark on the s impl ic ity of the process involved ( i . e . , the gathering and processing of materials to give alcohol). It is often the case that technical advance attends the particular genius of one questioning mind, but there is no need to suppose so for fermentation, the "natural phenomenon." A cache of f r u i t , forgotten in a container, may ferment; likewise, though less eas i ly, a pottage of grain. Masson waxes paradisaic (though not without chronologic hyperbole): "If, some mill ions of years ago ripe grapes had fal len into a hollow stone, The F irs t Wine would have been there waiting for The F irs t Man to arrive and enjoy 65 i t . " Others have noted that i t may be d i f f i c u l t not to obtain alcohol i f appropriate base materials are l e f t a-standing. 6 6 Such s impl ic ity, I believe, placed the discovery and u t i l i s a t ion of alcohol well within the capacities of Palaeolithic man and adds weight to the case for multiple origins. 16 To argue thus is to oppose Forbes, perhaps the foremost authority on the history of ancient technology. Forbes reasons that prepared ferments were not a product of the Palaeol i thic, but awaited the revolutionised world of the Neol i th ic 6 ^ (though he arms himself with an escape clause—honey; mead, he is ready to concede, may date back "as far as early Neolithic times and even CO ear l i e r " ) . He gives three premises for his posit ion, premises which suggest I may have overestimated the s impl ic ity of the alcohol-making process. These are: that fermentation required f i r e and pottery; that regular production of cereals suitable for fermentation came in Neolithic times only; thatj as alternative bases, wild f ru i t s and berries lacked adequate sugar to "make a suitable base material for fermentation," presumably until domestication 69 occasioned compositional changes. Forbes' arguments demand rejoinder, for i f alcohol-making was indeed part of the congeries of techniques which characterised the Neolithic breakthrough, then we need not look for i t s beginnings beyond the early Neolithic hearths, few rather than many in number. The case for multiple origins would evaporate. F i r s t l y , why f i re and pottery for fermentation? I remain baffled by Forbes' advocacy of f i r e . For a start, the sun would have been heat source enough;^ but ignoring th i s , Forbes cannot seriously believe use of f i r e diagnostic of Neolithic technology (for universal fire-making appears to be 40,000 years o ld, while i t s use may extend back at least 350,000 yearsJ.^ 1 Nor is pottery 17 an essential. True, as was acknowledged ear l ie r , a container is required, but to stipulate a man-made container and, moreover, a specif ic ar t i fact seems unduly res t r ic t ive. A hollow in a tree, a 72 fissure in a rock —these may have been receptacle enough. To this day, an Australian tr ibe employs a hole in the ground, into which 73 tree sap is allowed to run. As for a r t i f ac t s , man may have fashioned containers from materials other than clay—from wood or possibly stone, from depithed f ru i t s and coconut shel l s , from the horns or skins of animal prey, perhaps even from large egg shells 74 or skul ls. Thus Mexican pulque is s t i l l fermented in gourd r i n d s . 7 5 Forbes is on surer ground where base materials are concerned. His conclusions about cereals can be endorsed with few misgivings. Casual gathering of a suf f ic ient grain provision does seem unlikely, and, in addition, cereal fermentation would have been a more sophisticated matter than preparing alcohol from sugar bases owing 7fi to the preliminary starch conversion required. The fact of low sugar content in wild f ru i t s and berries, the grape included, is at f i r s t sight a te l l i ng point (and one that might usefully temper g l ib references to the inev i tab i l i t y of fermentation). Several writers have noted this characterist ic in the grape, 7 7 though whether i t nu l l i f i e s a l l poss ib i l i ty of alcohol or merely restr icts alcoholic strength to mild proportions is not made too clear. Must we then abandon the notion of alcohol from pre-domesticated f ru i t s , of wine prepared from the wild vine? Not i f we accept Andrews' passing 18 allusion to Isonica, a wine from Hercegovina, Yugoslavia, s t i l l made 78 from wild grapes. How Hercegovina succeeds where Forbes would fear to tread, I do not know. But I can guess. Let me cautiously advance three possible means to overcome Forbes' sugar-content objection, none of which I have yet seen considered in the present context. The focus is largely restr icted to the vine. The f i r s t , also the most tenuous, is simply to remember the 79 relationship between climate and grape sugar content. In transalpine Europe today's vine often struggles to accumulate 80 adequate sugars before the advance frosts of winter besiege i t , whereas in the Mediterranean i t may suffer from too high a ratio of sugar to acid in the berry, resulting in a ' f l a t ' wine. It may therefore be that the wild vine could have achieved reasonable sugar levels in certain c l imat ica l ly favoured areas. In Transcaucasia's forests, where wild vines s t i l l grow in profusion, sour grapes 81 predominate, but Vavilov also encountered some edible f r u i t ; other Asian wild grapes have been found with sugar contents in 82 no way in fer ior to those of cultivated var iet ies. Secondly, the sugar-concentrating power of dessication may have been an avenue by which ancient man obtained wine from the wild grape. While today's cultivated grape, when fresh, may contain up to 25% sugar, 83 this figure may reach 80% for ra is ins. That yeasts cannot grow 84 in sugar concentrations exceeding 30% has been declared, but even an elementary acquaintance with the appropriate microbiological l i terature reveals osmotolerant yeasts able to ferment such sugar 19 85 levels with ease. Moreover, i t is certain that the Greeks and Romans dried grapes in the sun as a prelude to fermenting certain wines: Homer, Hesiod,and Pliny instruct on this . Lastly, i t would have been quite feasible to sweeten a grape mash by means of sugar-rich additives. Honey springs to mind. The.Roman honeyed wines may even have been a legacy of such practice, Egyptian kyphi 87 likewise. Indeed, for e f f i c i en t fermentation, a compote of materials —often including honey—rather than a single base may have been 88 commoner than not. (An overriding tendency of modern statements on ancient beverages is to superimpose today's taxonomy, with i t s 89 particular discrete categories, upon past experience. But our world of difference between, say, wine and mead may not hold true for a different world, especial ly one where assured quantities of a single substance to be fermented may sometimes have been lacking.) A superf icial search reveals some evidence for this suggested modus operandi. To the examples above may be added the following. Swiss and Italian prehistoric deposits have furnished occasional masses of wild grape pips together with the stones and seeds of other wild berries (elderberry, blackberry, bittersweet nightshade), 90 indicating the composite refuse from 'wine'-making. Middle Bronze Age bowls from Jutland tombs have been found to contain the 91 remains of a drink made from wheat, myrtle berries, myrrh, and honey. Residues in ancient German beer vessels have yielded not only fragmentary starch grains and yeast ce l l s but also pollen from honey-producing flowers, which presence " i s always an indication that honey 20 had been added to the beer while i t was brewing, to give the yeasts a more concentrated sugar solution to work on, and thus produce a 92 higher alcohol content." Later, the Germanic peoples possessed 93 a beverage made from honey and mulberries. 'Mixed drinks' have a long history, we must conclude. Al l in a l l , Forbes, despite his considerable reputation, reasons f i r s t unsoundly, then inadequately. His case for Neolithic beginnings for alcohol-making lacks foundation. There is no need 94 to presume that Palaeolithic man could not have made alcohol. Fermentation, I repeat, is a simple rather than complex procedure, and the materials required (fermentable base, yeast, container) were available and widespread long before organised plant husbandry ushered in a new era. Not in one place, but in many throughout the world, must Palaeolithic man have raised l iquor to eager l i p s . And some of that liquor was rudimentary wine. The Origins of Winemaking The grape vine, the genus V i t i s , belongs to the botanical family Ampelidaceae (or Vitaceae), a heterogeneous assemblage of 95 some ten genera distributed throughout the world. All these 96 genera, V i t i s included, predate man. Vi t i s i t s e l f has been 97 traced back to lower Eocene deposits of the Tertiary era. 98 Prolonged evolution since then has culminated in the 'recent' ( i . e . , Quaternary) situation of almost 50 V i t i s species scattered across the land-masses of the northern hemisphere as follows: 21 North America (about 35 species), Asia (about twelve), and Europe 99 (one). This so l i tary European example, V i t i s v ini fera L., is the concern of this thesis. Here is the grape of Western history, now the resource of diverse parts of the globe. "Les troubles d ' ic i -bas sont presque tous grammairiens" (Montaigne). Some terms should be made clear. The modern, cultivated Vi t i s v in i fera L. plant, that i s V i t i s v in i fera sativa (confusingly abbreviated to V i t i s v in i fera) , is the cult ivar of the wild V i t i s v in i fera L. plant, termed V i t i s v in i fera s i l v e s t r i s 1 0 0 (usually abbreviated to V i t i s s i l ve s t r i s ) . Both these plants, the cult ivar and the wild ancestor, wi l l be encountered i f we wish to know the spatial and temporal begin-nings of winemaking. They are very different beasts, i t should be realised. Ranks of manicured vines sweeping in verdant formation across dry h i l l s ides—the panorama from so many Mediterranean heights—bear scant resemblance to the plant which has never known man's yoke. In i t s wilder moments, the vine is a l iana of the forest. Transcaucasia harbours the f inest remaining examples. There " in the woods, the vine, thick as a man's arm, s t i l l climbs into the lo f t ie s t trees, hanging in wreathes from summit to summit, and temptingly displaying i t s heavy bunches of g r a p e s . H e h n ' s description is v iv id. Vavilov was later to echo him: "In the autumn, when the f ru i t is ripening, a t rave l ler passing through the forests of Transcaucasia might think himself in the Garden of Pa rad i se . " 1 0 2 22 Palaeolithic man made wine from grapes. Where he began to so do cannot be fixed with precision: any number of places within the distribution of V i t i s s i lvestr i s may have been the scene of primitive winemaking. The best that can be done is to define that distr ibut ion. Even this is no simple matter, given the dynamic character of the wild vine's ter r i tory , and the poverty of prehistoric data. While i t seems l i ke ly that V i t i s s i l ves t r i s evolved somewhere in the (present-day) south-eastern Mediterranean area during the late 103 Pliocene, i t speedily diffused to attain a much wider t e r r i t o r y — including western, centra l , and Mediterranean Europe—by the time of early food-gathering man.^ 4 Unfortunately, the Pleistocene period has received less attention than the ear l ier Tertiary events in the V i t i s story. It would appear that the Ice Age saw the vine in general retreat to a refuge "dans les forets circum-mediterraneennes 1 0 5 et sud-caspiennes," as witnessed by i t s imprint in interglacial materials in Languedoc or by i t s pollen in deposits of the Late Glacial Period in Spain's Sierra Nevada and in Macedonia. (If such was the case, the climatic amelioration of interglacial times must have encouraged a resurgence northwards, for traces of the vine have been unearthed from interglacial deposits across the North European P la in, from East Anglia to P o l a n d . ) ^ Once Europe had shaken off the environmental fetters of the glacial epoch, there is more evidence at our command. Pips from wild grapes gathered by Neolithic man and preserved in his vi l lage sites reveal that V i t i s s i l vestr i s was by then present in Spain, in Greece and 23 Yugoslavia, in the lake country of northern Italy and Switzerland, 108 in parts of central Europe, and even in Belgium. Indeed, Levadoux's meticulous studies have allowed him to conclude that by this time maximum distribution—encompassing Mediterranean Europe and Afr ica ' s Barbary Coast, much of western and central Europe, Asia 1 no Minor, and the Caucasus—had been attained. But this is re lat ive ly late in post-glacial times. There is less evidence of the Upper Palaeolithic d istr ibut ion: i t does not appear to be known as yet how speedily the vine moved out of i t s southern sanctuary to recolonise the lands north of the Alps, that i s , to achieve i ts wider Neolithic province. So, i t is impossible to arrest this process at a chosen date in the Upper Palaeol ithic to ascertain the then terr i tory of V i t i s s i l ve s t r i s . Perhaps a l l that can be said is th is : that in the early post-glacial period, Palaeolithic man had access to the wild vine throughout a substantial east-west stretch of terr i tory centred upon the Mediterranean and extending from the Atlantic to the Armenia-Caucasus-northern Persia area, that this terr i tory never advanced far southwards (there is no evidence of the wild vine in Egypt, Mesopotamia, or P a l e s t i n e ) , 1 1 0 and that i t s northern extension into transalpine Europe is increasingly evidenced as Neolithic times are approached. Within such a d i s t r i b u t i o n s — n o t so very dif ferent from today's vestigial pattern 112 of V i t i s s i l ves t r i s --primordial winemaking may have commenced in many places. 24 But the wild grape and i t s wine are merely the overture to the story of winemaking. The supply of this Palaeolithic l iquor, gleaned adventitiously from nature, was both l imited and uncertain. 113 The wild vine crop is small and infrequent, not the basis for the wine industry of historical times. Even the addition of extraneous fermentable materials, honey or various berries, can scarcely have altered this fact. Early winemaking must certainly have been rare, by no means a thing to be casually undertaken. The catalyst ushering in changed circumstances, creating the conditions which allowed wine's r ise to eminence within the early Western trad i t ion, was, of course, domestication. Domestication was the herald of quantity. Even the most primitive patch of cultivated vines promised a greater and more assured supply of f ru i t than before. The metamorphosis of the vine i t s e l f from wild plant to cult ivar was to have the same effect, for among i t s gradual consequences was a heavier and more regular f ru i t ing . Perhaps more important, the cal ibre of the domesticated grape as a source material for alcohol was developed to the highest, quite overshadowing the qual it ies of i t s wild forebear and alternative f r u i t s J 1 4 The briefest character sketch bears this out. Above a l l , the domesticated grape is an admirable carbohydrate source. It may easi ly accumulate sugars to a total of 25% of i t s weight (unlike Vi t i s s i l v e s t r i s ) ; ^ 5 qua l i tat ive ly, these sugars are of the most readily fermentable types, the monosaccharides glucose and fructose (whereas most f ru i ts store part of their carbohydrates in 25 starch or sucrose f o r m ) . 1 1 6 In addition, grape must is ordinar i ly an adequate basis for yeast growth: the necessary minerals and vitamins are generally suf f ic ient for yeasts to f l o u r i s h ; 1 1 7 s igni f icant ly, grapes are unique among f ru i t s in possessing ample 118 available nitrogen for such purposes (whereas other sugar bases such as honey or f ru i t juice normally require added nitrogen— 119 raisins would do--for "satisfactory fermentation"). Lastly, i t may be worth reiterating that the grape skin, part icular ly when r ipe, represents a most desirable substrate for yeasts. Cells co l lect on the v i s ib le , waxy coating of the berry, perhaps as many as 50,000 2 120 yeasts/mm of surface (whereas the wild grape and many other 121 fru i ts may have a less r ich f lora ) . In summary, the potential of the domesticated vine as a source of alcohol was great. This potential was to be realised to the f u l l . The history of effective winemaking therefore commenced only with Neolithic man and the art of v i t i cu l ture. Where, then, and when were the beginnings of v i t i cu l ture made? The area of origin which appears to have gained universal 122 123 acceptance is the historical Armenia (mountainous and dissected plateau country in present-day eastern Turkey, the Armenian S.S.R., and penetrating the Georgian and Azerbaijani Republics) or perhaps a somewhat wider terr i tory centring upon that area. The varietal diversity of the wild vine is astonishingly r ich here, and there is 124 no doubt that this is a local rather than imported phenomenon. "Here we find a l l transitions from the real wild grape . . . to ancient, 26 cultivated local varieties of the wine type." As modern botanists point to this region, so does ancient tradit ion. On Ararat in the Armenian mountains Noah's ark came to rest and, in the words of the ninth chapter of Genesis, "Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine,.and was drunken." Obligingly enough, wild vines are s t i l l to be found on the very 127 slopes of Ararat. Another mode of reasoning to arrive at Armenia is possible. It is commonly held that, unlike fermentation, the independent discoveries of plant domestication were few, scarcely more than a handful scattered across the g l o b e . 1 2 8 This revolutionary innovation was then diffused outwards from these hearths. One such centre was in the Near East, where by about 7000 B.C. there had begun to crysta l l i se a nuclear area of plant domestication comprising the rugged country of the Lebanon and Judaea, the south-eastern flanks of the Anatol ian Plateau, and the Zagros footh i l l s curving into 129 modern Persia. S ign i f icant ly, the terr i tory of V i t i s s i lvestr i s . ranges nearest this domestication hearth in the Armenian region. Moreover, the coordinates of the wild vine's distribution on the one hand and the orig in and diffusion lines of Neolithic s k i l l s on the 130 other have allowed Hyams to pinpoint Armenia through elimination. From the distribution of V i t i s s i l ve s t r i s , he discards those lands where there is knowledge of the receipt from outside of v i t icu l ture as well as those whose inhabitants at an early date "were almost certainly not in a condition to devise and carry out a settled 27 form of husbandry." Only the broad tract of terr i tory between the Caucasus and Mesopotamia remains. Armenia's v i t i cu l tura l breakthrough must have occurred at a very early date. Agricultural s k i l l s had arrived from the south 131 by 4000 B.C. at latest , but i t would seem that.primitive v i t i -culture long preceded this date. The best indication we have is 132 botanical. The dioecious wild vine has unisexual flowers. This notwithstanding, rare hermaphrodite examples are found amongst wild populations: the male stamens, the pollen-bearing organs of the flower, then surround a fully-developed p i s t i l , the female part. In contrast, cultivated vines are invariably hermaphroditic, this being a prerequisite for a rel iable harvest in that the more e f f i c ient process of se l f -po l l inat ion replaces the vagaries of 133 insect or wind poll ination as the dominant means. Such a difference between the wild and cultivated populations can only have been due to a r t i f i c i a l selection, following the real isation that some vines bore no f r u i t at a l l (males), some bore unreliably (females), and a very occasional plant fruited consistently (hermaphrodites). But the consequent transformation would have been slow. Now, the ear l iest records and subsequent classical writings t e l l l i t t l e or nothing 134 of barren vines nor of the required interplanting of male and female stock (as even today is obligatory for one dioecious species of the Muscadiniae). This suggests that by the time we have knowledge of the vine as an exotic in Mesopotamia and Egypt—that i s , by the 4th millennium—a high proportion of hermaphrodites had arisen. 28 To achieve this pushes the actual origins of some sort of v i t i cu l ture into times very remote. Hence we should not be surprised by the opinion of the noted Soviet botanist Negrul, whose examination of wild vines in the southern margins of the U.S.S.R. has led him to propose that 10,000 years must have elapsed for V i t i s v in i fera sativa 13fi to have developed i ts present characterist ics. 8000 B.C.! Of course, a certain measure of doubt must clothe any such dating, but 137 the extreme antiquity pointed to by Negrul and by others is impressive. Somewhere in the mountainous country of the historical Armenia, at a date the antiquity of which i s worth stressing, the f i r s t steps in the domestication of the vine were taken. That is to say, the necessary preconditions for winemaking as we know i t became established. From such beginnings organised winemaking spread outwards in the shape of the cult ivar i t s e l f plus knowledge of v in i f icat ion and/or the idea of domesticating the wild vine for vinting purposes. This diffusion to other lands is the theme of the following chapter. 29 CHAPTER 2 THE SPREAD OF ORGANISED WINEMAKING For the land, whither thou goest in to possess i t , is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst i t with thy foot, as a garden of herbs: But the land; whither ye go to possess i t , is a land of h i l l s and val leys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven. Deuteronomy 11:10-11 The Exodus mirrors a le itmoti f in the world of the ancient Near East and class ical Mediterranean: the dist inct ion between h i l l and plain. A v i ta l d ist inct ion for wine, th is . • The true home of the vine is the slope of the h i l l , not the flatness of the pla in. Strike a path inland from Languedoc's etang-fringed coast across the vine-smothered plain of deep, heavy marls to meet the distant silhouette of the garrigue, with i t s pockets of skeletal so i l s , l i ght , stony and ar id. How the wines gain stature'. Vintages undistinguished in every respect save quantity suddenly y ie ld before subtle, attractive wines. The plain is l e f t behind for the slopes. 1 To a considerable extent, this v i t i cu l tura l dist inction between 2 h i l l and plain ref lects their contrasting edaphic environments. It 3 is feasible to cultivate vines on a markedly wide variety of so i l s . This said, one immediately encounters a paradox, a truism to vine-growers throughout the ages which modern science s t i l l struggles to explain adequately: the poorer the s o i l , the better the wine. 30 A soi l of high nutrient f e r t i l i t y is more l i ke ly to guarantee high 4 quantity of wine than superior quality. In contemporary France, the r ich, f e r t i l e earths of Languedoc-RoussilIon's coastal plain bring forth undistinguished vin ordinaire, whereas Burgundy's o o l i t i c debris has prompted the aphorism: "If our soi l weren't the richest 5 in the world i t would be the poorest." Give a vine stock a deep, r ich s o i l , the soi l of the p la in, and i t can achieve adequate nourishment without establishing a part icular ly deep root system; by contrast, a vine planted in meagre, stony ground wi l l send i t s roots many metres deep in search of water and nutrient sustenance. 6 A c r i t i c a l d i s t inct ion, th i s . For a deep, extensive root complex appears to favour strongly both the v i ab i l i t y of the plant and the quality of i t s f r u i t and resultant wine. Attempts to account for this consider as crucial the greater constancy of edaphic conditions attained with increasing depth— "the vine seeks regularity" (Theophrastus). 7 The case for v i ab i l i t y is readily discerned: the deep-rooted plant enjoys enhanced immunity to debi l i tat ing fluctuations in the soi l environment—the hazards of flooding or drought, variations in food supply resulting from man's increased or decreased manuring of the surface horizons, etc.—over i t s shallow-rooted companion. However, why such conditions should betoken a superior quality of harvest i s , to my knowledge, imperfectly g understood. 31 Who roots deeply his vine drinks the better wine? If indeed this be an accurate re la t ionsh ip , 1 0 then not nutrient richness (for, in this l i ght , an i n fe r t i l e soi l is preferable to a f e r t i l e one) but specif ic physical properties are of the essence. Above a l l , a "micro-climat a r i d e , " 1 1 conducive to root development, seems the pedological prerequisite for the production of a wine of even moderate 12 13 quality. Now, a well-drained s o i l , speedily warmed (characteristics which would f u l f i l this requirement), is strongly related to structural and, especial ly, textural qual i t ies . Fine-textured clays which retain moisture and are tradi t ional ly ' co ld ' provide a far from ideal environment for the v ine. 1 ^ Conversely, gravels and stony soi ls are ' 15 l i ke ly to be possessed of attractive thermal and moisture regimes. A commonplace in better vineyards is a surface l i t t e r of stone and rubb le , 1 6 not the least advantage of which is i t s capacity to conserve the sun's heat for some length of t ime , 1 7 encouraging thereby the "micro-climat aride" and helping to moderate thermal variation within the s o i l . During winter nights, this property may serve as a natural prophylaxis against frosts attacking surface r o o t s . 1 8 So, in summary, the sloping lands of h i l l and f o o t h i l l , their soi ls a r id , stony, often i n f e r t i l e , should be favoured for v i t i -culture before the horizontal world of the plain. Ancient husbandry 19 knew this well. Indicative of a systematic understanding, although expressed in pedological rather than topographical terms, is 32 Theophrastus1 formula for soi l-type u t i l i s a t ion . He writes: Use your rich so i l s for grains and thin soi ls for trees. Grains and a l l other annuals take the nutriment from the surface s o i l , which therefore ought not to be thin or of a quality to be quickly exhausted, as happens in a shallow layer of earth. But trees, equipped with long and strong roots, draw their nourishment from the depths. In rich so i l s , trees run to wood and fol iage, but y ie ld l i t t l e or no f r u i t . 2 0 Hence a thin soi l is superior from both standpoints; i t produces a balanced foliage and fruitage.-1 De causis, II, 4, 2-3 To make the dist inction was probably part of common rather than specialised knowledge. Palladius puts i t this way: "Campi largius 22 vinum, colles nobilius ferunt." "Apertos Bacchus amat co l les , " 23 remarks Vergil of his Italian countryside. And even in so ostensibly removed a pursuit as chorographical astrology can be 24 found an instance of vineyard di f ferent iat ion according to terra in. This dist inct ion between h i l l and plain comprised an integral part of the story of wine in each of the lands to which the vineyard spread. But addit ional ly, i t was a v i ta l factor, although not necessarily the only one, helping distinguish between such lands as potential receptors of v i t i cu l ture . (It i s , in fact , at this inter-regional or inter-national level that is framed the Deuteronomic d iv i s ion—a division within the ancient world which transcends the context of the Exodus—between the agricultural ecology of the nation on the plain and that of the nation in the promised "land of h i l l s and val leys.") Thus, on the one hand, Mesopotamia and Egypt, 33 quintessentially the plain, offered re lat ive ly hosti le environments to v i t icu l ture: the mark of vine and wine was muted upon the two great r iverine c i v i l i s a t ions . On the other hand, in the upland chains and arcs curving around Mesopotamia, in the rugged, mountain-spined lands of the Mediterranean, and later in Hercynian Europe could the vine find conditions much more to i t s l i k ing . Below, I have employed this fundamental divis ion in describing and explaining the spreading pattern of winemaking and wine drinking within the ancient world. The Early C iv i l i sat ions: Hazardous Environments A. Mesopotamia History begins at Sumer, the phrase runs. The Sumerians, a non-Semitic people, came to occupy the f l a t , marshy plains where the 25 Tigr is and Euphrates, disorganised and capricious, seek the sea. By the early 4th millennium, they were developing a culture (apogeal ?fi after 3000 B.C.) which marked the advent of the ear l iest writings. So began recorded history. For Mesopotamia this meant a few thousand years as a hearth of Western c i v i l i s a t i o n , b r i l l i a n t at f i r s t , afterwards surpassed, years in which the r ise and f a l l of 27 dynasty and empire is writ large. Sumerian hegemony over the deltaic lands remained unchallenged until the late 3rd millennium ascendancy of her Semitic neighbour, the Akkadians; and despite a Neo-Sumerian renaissance under the Third Dynasty of Ur at the turn 34 of the millennium, i t was this Semitic stock that gave birth to the two famous later c iv i l i sa t ions - - the Babylonians in the Akkadian homeland and the Assyrians far to the north. Wine was produced in Mesopotamia at a very early date. This much is certain. Exactly when is a matter for speculation. "Wine was almost certainly established in Tigris-Euphrates soi ls before 28 4000 B.C., and perhaps much before." Hyams argues this on the basis of a styl ised vine-leaf on some of the ear l iest tablets bearing pictographic writ ing, discovered at Sumerian Kish. Since the wild vine was not native to the Mesopotamian f lood-pla in, the sole plausible explanation is that this representation depicts the 29 cultivated variety. Confirmation from the written record is of more recent age. Tablets of the 3rd millennium from the c i ty of Lagash reveal the existence of temple vineyards—"the vine-plantation of Karsum," "the plantation of the vine of the bank (of Bau-hengala)"; at least by 2900 B.C., vines were cultivated there and wine "kept in ground 30 f loor ce l l a r s . " An interesting mention dates from the reign of 31 Gudea of Lagash: "The Ne-sag was l ike a mountain of vines." This ref lects the apparently invariable practice of establishing 32 grapevines on mounds raised a r t i f i c i a l l y above the pla in. And from farm accounts of the Third Dynasty of Ur we learn that vines 33 were interplanted with other trees, notably the date palm. Oenological reference appears also in the ear l iest extant work of l i terature, the powerful Gilgamesh Epic. This has been pieced 35 together from various fragmentary findings—Sumerian, Akkadian, H i t t i t e , Human—often of comparatively late date. It seems, however, that the context of the action typif ies the 3rd millennium, while the tradit ion may date back into prel i terate times. 3^ Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, in his quest for eternal l i f e , encounters 35 3fi S idur i , the divine tavern-keeper and overseer of a miraculous v ineyard: 3 7 Amethyst i t bore as i t s f r u i t , Grape-vine was t r e l l i s e d , good to behold; Lapiz- lazul i i t bore as grape clusters. Fruit i t bore magnificent to look upon. Moreover, l a ter , in the story of the f lood, Utnapishtim (the equivalent of Noah) encourages the builders of his ark with wine as refreshment: 3 8 ' 3 ^ Must, red wine, o i l and white wine I gave the workmen to drink, as though r iver water. A l l in a l l , there is evidence enough to point to a very early presence of the grapevine in Mesopotamia, with the poss ib i l i ty even that i ts introduction may have occurred before 4000 B.C. Now, trading contacts, the most l i ke l y means of such d i f fus ion, were in progress by early Sumerian times. The f l a t a l luv ia l plains of Sumer and Akkad (lacking the timber, stone,and metals with which to construct c i t ies ) 40 encouraged trade. The Persian Gulf lands and beyond, El am, Armenia, the Levant, even Egypt—these a l l were reached by caravan or boat.^ 1 In the Armenian case, there is abundant evidence of the export of 36 obsidian, ceramic ware, and other products to Mesopotamia from the 42 4th millennium. Given such contacts, i t is surely unlikely that early Mesopotamian traders or travel lers reaching Armenia would have fa i led to take back the strange and wondrous potion which came to be cal led 43 wine. Quickly they would have attempted to transplant the vine into their own country. While the truth of the matter may never be 44 known, th i s , I f e e l , is at least a plausible reconstruction. Yet there was never to be a triumphant v i t i cu l tura l conquest of Mesopotamia, never an establishing of wine as an essential element in the l ives of i t s successive c i v i l i s a t ions . The only exception to this negative was in Assyria where, part icular ly in the early 1st millennium, records suggest that vineyards were considerable and wine a drink of importance. To help explain both the phenomenon of this never-to-be-more-than-inchoate v i t icu l ture and the Assyrian anomaly, certain elements of the physical environment demand emphasis. F i r s t of a l l , Mesopotamia is two, not one. The incoming vine faced the separate challenges of two environments, not one. While southern Mesopotamia (under the Sumerians, Akkadians, then Babylonians) provided a d i s t inct ly discouraging environment for the vine, northern Mesopotamia (where held sway the comparatively late-flowering Assyrian Empire) offered much more favourable conditions. Hereinafter, these domains are distinguished as Babylonia and Assyria respectively. Alone, without the mitigating effect of the Tigr is and Euphrates as moisture sources, the climate of Babylonia would have presented 37 an impossible environment to the vine. A phrase of Semple's catches the vine's predicament: "It had to run the gauntlet of the dry 45 summer months." No sinecure this in Babylonia. An i n i t i a l hazard: the thermal regime. Excessive heat during the grape's ripening period may upset the balance of the berry constituents and so produce an unattractive wine. Or, worse, i t may encourage growth cessation and 46 f ru i t shr ive l l ing. In that temperatures exceed 35°C on most days 47 throughout summer in southern Mesopotamia today, spoilage would have 48 been a very possible danger. (There occur, furthermore, occasional 49 'hot s p e l l s ' — 2 7 ° C has been recorded—during winter months. Upsets to the dormancy pattern in the rhythm of the deciduous vine are 50 l i ke ly to reduce f ru i t ing ef f ic iency.) A d i f f i c u l t environment assessed in thermal terms becomes an insuperable environment where precipitation is the measure. To be sure, an ab i l i t y to balance the water supplied through i t s root system with that lost through evapotranspiration and s t i l l to maintain a low level of ac t iv i ty 51 does indeed characterise the drought-resistant grapevine. This yet presumes some minimum of so i l moisture. Soil storage of winter rains as a reservoir for spring growth is a most effect ive means of 52 moisture supply for the vine. But while such a Mediterranean 5 1 rhythm typi f ies almost the entire Near East and Mediterranean Basin, w precipitation amount and consequent eff icacy varies markedly from area to area. To descend from Armenia to Babylonia is to barter conditions of generally adequate moisture for a desert climate with 38 54 total annual ra in fa l l of below 125 mm. No reservoir of so i l 55 moisture characterises this climate. And so "to run the gauntlet" of ar id i ty became feasible in Babylonia only because of the i rr igat ion waters of i ts two r ivers. A l l the same, while i t is true that v i t icu l ture and i rr igat ion are 56 not incompatible, this is never a union to be consummated without thought for the consequences. The particular hydrological circumstances involved are crucial to the outcome of the venture. Any attempted statement of the Babylonian condition must needs emphasise that here is a l luv ia l plain par excellence. Unrelieved f latness; imperceptible slope. On entering the flood plain just north of modern Baghdad, the Euphrates over 890 km has an average f a l l of only 5cm/km, 57 the Tigr is covers 970 km at less than 3.5 cm/km. Sluggishly, the rivers move seaward in channels bu i l t up above the surrounding land. While their maximum flow arrives in spring, they "r i se C O unpredictably and f i t f u l l y . " Extensive, uncontrolled flooding of the plains, resulting in abundant marsh and chaotic drainage 59 pattern, is characterist ic. Standing i rr igat ion (the water remains on the land until i t sinks or evaporates) was practised, a ref lect ion of the considerable problem, posed by the above conditions, of draining off the water once released on to the land. There's the rub. Such an i r r igat ion system in this arid land contained the seeds of i t s own destruction— by sa l in isat ion. The Mesopotamian rivers carry considerable quantities of soluble salts—mostly calcium and magnesium, but 39 some sodium too--on to the cultivated p l a i n s . 6 0 Given that salts move and accumulate in the soi l largely as a consequence of water movement,61 the presence or absence of adequate soi l drainage becomes c r i t i c a l . But just as the irr igat ion procedure contained no provision for surface run-off, so the lateral movement of ground water was limited in these extensive plains. Not only then did the ground water become extremely sal ine, but the addition of new water (in flood or i rr igat ion) would have raised the water-table level permitting capi l lary movement and subsequent evaporation to precipitate salts in fi? fi3 the root zone of the s o i l . * Most f ru i t crops, the date palm excepted, are part icular ly sensitive to such accumulations of salts. The grapevine, moderately tolerant, can be affected severely by large amounts.6^ Babylonia's soi ls were thus destined to become increasingly inimical to i t . Moreover, as a perennial, the vine could not u t i l i s e the soiTamelioration technique of fallowing in alternate years in 65 order to allow the water-table to recede. Two other water regime problems opposed successful v i t i cu l ture . F i r s t l y , the perennial vine is a s ignif icant investment of time and labour to hazard to an environment at the mercy of capricious flooding. Secondly, the vine cannot tolerate soil saturation for prolonged periods except during dormancy: in the growing season this causes root death. 6 6 But the Tigris and Euphrates, we have seen, reach maximum flood in the spring, not in winter, so that the standing i rr igat ion practised was seasonally inopportune for the vine plant. This la t ter problem was obviated by establishing vineyards on 40 a r t i f i c i a l l y raised mounds--"like a mountain of vines," Standing water was replaced by hand i r r i ga t ion , allowing the water to drain downwards. To some extent at least, this method of cult ivation would have mitigated both the severity of soi l sa l in i ty and the hazard of destructive, uncontrolled flooding. Despite the above measure, v i t i cu l ture never took hold in Babylonia. In other words, here is a situation in which the vine arrived at an early date indeed but was never destined to f lour i sh. The various Sumerian wine gods were superseded; chief amongst them, Geshtin or Ama-geshtin, "the mother vinestock," was gradually 67 transformed into Nina, "the lady of the waters." The r ich perhaps CO indulged in wine and l ibation with wine appears to have been 69 esteemed, but in a l l l ikel ihood the general populace never drank i t . This is recounted in myth: Dionysus, the wine god, turned back from his attempt to enter Mesopotamia, angered at learning that i t s inhabitants enjoyed beer. 7 ^ That other beverages dominated wine is true. As the Babylonian plains provided a d i f f i c u l t environment for the incoming vine, so alternative beverage sources were much more attuned to the preva i l -ing condit ions. 7 1 The agricultural economy revealed in the tablets of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and there is no reason to suppose this 72 picture atypical , involved chief ly barley, wheat and emmer, sesame, 73 onions, pulses, as well as dates, pomegranates, and f igs. Most 74 versati le and most valued were barley and the date. Both supplied alcohol. Beer (from barley or, sometimes, emmer), known in numerous 41 75 var iet ies , long ranked f i r s t among Babylonia's beverages: i t became a dietary s t a p l e , 7 6 distributed daily to workers as part of their wages. If, as has been suggested, 40% of a l l cereal production was destined for brewing, 7 7 then that industry must have been important indeed. The popularity of date wine was also considerable, and from the time of the Kassite incursions against the F i r s t Babylonian Dynasty about the middle of the 2nd millennium i t gradually ousted 78 beer from its leading position. Sesame wine was apparently a 79 third preparation. Wine could make l i t t l e headway against these. While Babylonia was thus host i le terr i tory to the culture of the vine, such was not the case further north. With Assyria we are on different ground, both l i t e r a l l y and metaphorically. The physical environment of northern Mesopotamia, the Assyrian homeland, is radical ly dif ferent. North of a low shelf running from modern Ramadi to Baghdad begins the ro l l ing country of Al Jaz i ra. The a l luv ia l plain is l e f t behind. In Assyria, the geological strata of the Syrian Desert stretch across to meet the Kurdistan slopes; the Tigr is and Euphrates, cutting through this land, have incised 80 valleys with re lat ive ly limited potential for i r r i ga t ion. On the other hand, precipitation is generally adequate for v i t i cu l ture : i t is approximately three times that experienced on the southern plains. And a less hazardous thermal regime is in the vine's favour. 8 1 42 op How early the vine was grown here is not known. Al l that can be said with confidence is that in the zenithal period of the Assyrian Empire (during the f i r s t half of the 1st millennium down to the sack of Nineveh) the vine was cult ivated, probably to some considerable extent. Rab-shakeh, envoy from Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) to the Jews under seige in Jerusalem, describes his homeland as "a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards" (II Kings 18:32). Confirming th i s , an Assyrian 'Domesday Book1 of the 7th century inventories vineyards of 2,000 and 29,000 plants in north-west 83 Mesopotamia. Evidence is insuff ic ient to allow me to know whether wine was a popular alcoholic beverage among a l l classes. Certainly, the Sargonid rulers were oenophilic. Ashurnasirpal III (885-860 B.C.), rebuilder of Kalah, planted vineyards there; l ikewise, the bell icose Sennacherib established vines ("Palm groves and grape vines I planted in the meadow") when resuscitating a derel ict c i ty . 87 Extensive wine cel lars were kept by Sargon II (722-705 B.C.), and wine figures on administrative tablets, discovered in Kalah's 88 North-West Palace, dating from his reign. The following is a 89 communication addressed to an unidentified king: To the king, our lord, thy servants . . . , Bel- iqfSa, and BabTla! Greeting to our lord the king! May ASur . . . , Be l , and NabQ grant length of days for never-ending years to our lord the king! The king, our l o rd , shall decide. Since the receipt for the month Tebet is bott led, and there are no places of shelter (for i t ) , we would (wish to) put i t into 43 the royal store-houses for wine. Let our lord the king pass an order that the (proper store-) houses may be indicated to us, and we shall be relieved of embarrassment. The wine of our lord the king is of great quantity; where shall we put i t? Supporting such textual evidence is the testimony of Assyrian art. The vine is no strange motif on the bas-rel iefs of Sargonid times: a part icularly famous example from Nineveh, now in the Br i t i sh Museum, shows Ashurbanipal (669-626 B.C.), reposing on a couch shaded by overhanging vine, in the process of celebrating in wine 90 his defeat of Teuman, King of El am. Although certain of the above evidence could ref lect a v i t icu l ture of foreign provenance—and that wine was indeed imported we shall see l a te r - - , s t i l l the indications of Assyrian winegrowing are incontestable. Assessment of i ts significance is another matter, but I take Rab-91 shakeh's statement as having at least a measure of truth. In terms of Mesopotamia as a whole, Assyria was obviously quite 92 anomalous. Its v i t i cu l tura l equivalents lay not south but north in the lands I shall describe presently as the northern foldlands. B. Egypt A phrase of John Wilson's sticks in the mind: "The essential part of Egypt is a green gash of teeming l i f e cutting across brown 93 94 desert wastes." That gash is the Ni le. A l l agriculture depends on i t s waters, since only the delta in the north truly l i e s within 95 reach of the Mediterranean's winter rains. 44 Life-bringing waters wending through a desert l and—super f i c ia l l y , the situation paral lels that of Babylonia. But contrasting with the endless flatness of the Tigris-Euphrates plains, the Nile has cut a narrow valey, often no more than 10 km wide, into the surrounding 96 plateau surfaces. This valley has a s l ight ly concave cross-section, so a gradient was present in Egypt where in Babylonia there was none. A s ignif icant d i s t inct ion, th is . For a s tart , increased poss ib i l i t ie s of water management by man possessed of no very sophisticated tech-nology characterised the Nile Valley. Standing i r r igat ion (as previously defined) was not necessary since lateral water movement 97 could be ut i l i sed here. Thus was diminished the danger of sa l in isat ion. The lower dissolved salt content of the Nile waters 98 reduced this further. So, although certain areas of high water-99 100 table may have suffered sa l in i ty problems as is the case today, a major factor in Babylonian agriculture was not repeated in the Egyptian context . 1 0 1 A second repercussion: the propensity of a piece of land to be flooded could be assessed with greater confidence. In the Nile Valley proper, the gentle concavity encouraged the felaheen to distinguish between re i - f i e ld s (those invariably inundated by the annual floods) and sharaki-f ields (land, upgradient, generally undisturbed by the floods and requiring a r t i f i c i a l 102 i r r igat ion) . Now, Perrin writes that i t does not seem that ancient Egyptian vineyard i rr igat ion consisted in the direct c irculat ion of 103 floodwater among the vines. But, we have seen, he should not normally expect th is . It was, in fact , the sharaki-land, watered 45 by hand from local tanks or canals, that housed the vineyards and orchards .^ 4 And in the f l a t delta, flooding hazards were countered 105 by resorting to a r t i f i c i a l l y raised plots, in the manner of Babylonian v i t i cu l ture. In sum, the Egyptian r i ver , l ike i t s Mesopotamian counterparts, offered the necessary water supply for v i t icu l ture but, unlike the Tigr is and Euphrates, did not create at the same time growth conditions-part icular ly discouraging to the vine. As a result , vineyard distr ibution in Egypt's generally rainless lands was influenced markedly by the Ni le. The greatest concentration of vineyards and those producing some of the more hallowed Egyptian wines were to be found in the Nile d e l t a ^ 6 — a situation which appears to have prevailed throughout antiquity. Here is the terr i tory of the "wine of the North" of the Pyramid T e x t s . ^ 7 Especially notable grape-growing areas were the delta's north-eastern and north-western extremities, beside Lakes Menzaleh and Mareotis respectively: "The wine-press of the 109 Eastern nomes and the Western nomes," amongst the very ear l iest of written references to wine, may well have referred to these particular l ands . 1 1 ^ The north-western wines included that from Z o s e r ' s 1 1 1 "vineyard of the red house of the king's house in . . . Sen(?)pu," perhaps the variety cal led Hm or "wine of the fishermen-112 v i l lage, " and, renowned above a l l , Mareotic. Esteemed by Athenaeus, this la t ter was reputedly the f inest and undoubtedly the 113 most famous of ancient Egypt's wines. As for the north-east, 46 the products from Imet (near Tanis) and from Pelusium were ranked amongst the choicest brands in record from Dynasty X I XJ 1 4 The de l ta , in addition to the ancient Memphis area, represented 115 the early core of Egyptian v i t i cu l ture . Thence i t spread southwards, always within cal l of precious waters (oasal as well as of the Ni le, i t would appear). How far south is the problem. There can be no doubt that the delta possessed Egypt's optimum climatic •I 1 c conditions for the vine. Winter rains there would have provided valuable moisture, reducing somewhat the degree of a r t i f i c i a l i rr igat ion required; the tempering effects of the Mediterranean Sea, soothing the intense heats of summer, 1 1 7 would have been v i t i cu l tu ra l l y 118 advantageous. But i t is at the macroscale that a more te l l i ng environmental d i f ferent ia l may well have operated within Egypt. For the latitude of the Nile delta (approximately 30°N, which corresponds to that of southern Babylonia) has been declared the practical southern l imit of grape growing in the northern hemisphere, that is "one 119 of the geographical l imits to v i t i cu l tu re . " We may wish to be dubious at so precise a figure but must accept that the normal growth pattern of the vine is increasingly overthrown as tropical latitudes 120 are approached. Left behind are the photoperiodic and thermal regimes favoured by the plant. The grapevine does not appear 121 part icular ly sensitive to variations in the former aspect. A l l the same, since flower-bud formation is more contingent on day-length than is growth-bud, decrease in latitude may possibly encourage an increasingly unfruitful vine whose vegetative growth is but l i t t l e 47 122 impaired. Of greater proven consequence is the thermal change involved. Spec i f ica l ly , the rise in winter temperature levels may 123 deny the vine the "dormancy requirements" which i t customarily demands. One outcome may be that the plant does not 'break dormancy' properly, though experiment has not shown this to be a sal ient 124 characterist ic. An alternative resu l t , assuming suf f ic ient ly high temperatures, is that dormancy is abandoned in favour of an 125 126 evergreen regime. This is deleterious to f ru i t ing . (Note, parenthetically, that an increase in altitude could presumably 127 compensate thermally in some measure for decrease in lat itude.) In l ight of the above arguments, expansion far southward of the vine--or, at least, of a healthy and considerable v i t i cu l tu re - -1 pa would have been most unlikely in ancient Egypt. It is no surprise to learn from Theophrastus that vines of evergreen character were 129 customary in Upper Egypt (and were found even in northern Memphis). 130 A True, the wines of FaiyGm oasis were famed afar, but Faiyum is s t i l l of the north. Somewhat more surprising is the evidence of vineyards in the outlying southern oases of Kharga and Dakhla, where, according to the Papyrus Harris, Ramses III established 'wine-131 gardens'. It is unl ikely, however, that this constitutes "a healthy and considerable v i t i cu l tu re . " Sporadic vineyards also followed the Nile deep into the south--to Abydos and Thebes, and even 132 beyond. A d i s t r i c t near the First Cataract was known as Irp, a word meaning 'wine', but Montet, disbelieving that the vine grew so far south, suggests that Irp may merely imply a trading post for wine 48 133 transported upriver. He protests unwisely, perhaps. For there are persuasive indications of Nubian winemaking along the Nile between i t s F i rs t and Second Cataracts, a f i t f u l and f l acc id a f f a i r , to be sure, but nonetheless indicative of a signal interest in the 134 vine. On the other hand, a f ina l case for southern expansion, Li chine's ident i f icat ion of Mareotic wine with Meroe near the Fourth 135 Cataract, stretches c red ib i l i ty on more than one count. Undoubtedly, the vine and winemaking arrived in northern Egypt at a very early date. The answer to the questions 'when?' and 'from where?' can be formulated with much less assurance. A labyrinth of contradictory assertions and conf l ict ing chronologies faces he who surveys statements on the temporal beginnings of Egyptian v i t icu l ture. The most recent of datings which I have discovered points to 3rd millennium or ig ins; at the opposite end of the scale, 137 several authors specify or imply the 5th millennium. Any explanation for such disparity must inevitably turn to the paral le l lack of agreement among Egyptologists on the subject of the absolute 138 chronology for ancient Egypt —although not one of the writers who has concerned himself with the vine appears to have included this factor in his calculations. B r ie f l y , there have developed two chronological schools, one favouring a so-called high chronology, the other advocating a low chronology. Lack of accord focuses upon the date of commencement and the duration of the f i r s t two dynasties, since by the time of the Old Kingdom (beginning Dynasty III) the variation between the two schools is reduced to some twenty-odd years. 49 In the high chronology, the beginnings of Dynasty I have been dated to 3400 B.C. (Breasted, 1912), 3200 B.C. (Hayes, 1953), and 3100 B.C. (Hayes, 1962); corresponding low datings have argued 2830 B.C. (Stock, 1949) and 2900 B.C. (Helck, 1956). Upon such representative key statements are the differences founded. There is no doubt that some of the variation in dating wine's origins in Egypt can be ascribed to this more general chronological dispute. But only some. A radical alteration of even the high chronology would be required to accommodate any of the following positions. Neuburger, for example, writes of an established v i t i -culture by the time of the Old Kingdom, which he dates as beginning 139 around 3900 B.C. (that is,with Dynasty III commencing at least 500 years before the high chronology Dynasty I). Likewise, according to de Candolle, de Mort i l le t , and Lucia, wine's existence is documented from pictographs in the tomb of Ptah-Hotep of Dynasty IV who l ived about 4000 B.C. 1^ 0 The deviation has increased! Such pronouncements, although they lack complete internal consistency, can perhaps be accounted for in terms of some long defunct, extremely high chronology, 141 almost certainly of the 19th century. But to complicate matters, obsolete chronology and error are not uncommonly married. Thus Halasz notes the discovery of hieroglyphic terms for f ive variet ies 14 of wine in the tomb of Pharaoh Pepi of Dynasty II, dated at 3500 B.C. Yet Pepi I reigned in Dynasty IV. Pique mentions detailed v i t i cu l tura l 143 representations on a bas-rel ief of 4500 B.C. at Beni-Hasan, 50 but these belong to Dynasty XII which came long after the 5th millennium. Caveat emptor: one must be chary in accepting statements on this matter. S t i l l , the above writers are united in attributing wine production to the early Egyptian dynasties. And, in my opinion, there is evidence enough to indicate that this was indeed the case in the very ear l iest dynastic times. The Dynasty I tombs at Abydos contain references to "the wine-press of the Eastern nomes and the Western nomes," "wine of various kinds from the place of the Golden Bu l l , " "wine from the fortress Khent," and "the wine-store of the Hog.1 Vine leaves and grape remains are reported as having been found in 145 the most ancient tombs, and a date in the second half of the 4th millennium has been established for a sample of grape pips by 146 the distinguished Danish palaeobotanist Helbaek. Moreover, wine 147 jars with individual clay sealings are claimed for Dynasty I. In short, v i t i cu l ture is attested for the ear l ies t dynasty, which 148 quite possibly implies predynastic origins. Allowing for the high-low chronology d i s t inct ion, i t is possible to seek a date for i n i t i a l wine production in Egypt almost anyv/here in the 4th millennium or in 149 the ear l iest decades of the 3rd millennium. The former seems to me much more l i ke l y . For the Abydos inscriptions suggest more than an incipient stage of v i t i cu l tu re ; secondly, there has been a mild tendency for carbon-14 dating, with i t s new h a l f - l i f e , to favour 150 some sort of high chronology. 51 Whence came the vine to Egypt is less problematic. Serious contenders are two, Mesopotamia and the Levant. The argument for the f i r s t area would emphasise that the lands of the Tigr is and Euphrates practised v i t icu l ture at a very early date and appear to have been in 151 contact with Egypt. A stronger case can be made for the Levant. F i r s t l y , relative location ensured that Egyptian contact with other parts of the ancient Near East was faced for the most part with traversing some section of the Levant. At an early date, the Levantine coastal c i t ies began to exploit their advantageous cross-152 roads locat ion; contact between Byblus and the Nile may stretch I CO back into the 4th millennium. Given also that at least by the 154 following millennium wine was exported from Palestine to Egypt, a Levantine source for the art of winemaking is not out of the question. Secondly, the Canaanite word ka(r)mu (vineyard) was borrowed by Egypt 155 in the form of kzmw at a date before Dynasty II. But this etymo-logical l ink is somewhat equivocal since 'vineyard' was at times employed in the sense of ' f ru i t -orchard ' : in that case, the vine 156 plant i t s e l f need not have been involved. F ina l ly , according to Egyptian mythology, Osiris and his consort Is is-- in myth, the ear l iest monarchs, later deified—introduced the knowledge of 157 cult ivation into the land of the Ni le. Thus Tibul lus: It was Osir is in truth who was the plow's inventor, turning the virgin earth with an iron share; he was the f i r s t to drop seed in the furrow, and gather from nameless trees the f ru i t they began to bear. He learned, and taught men, how the vine is tied to the pole and how the hook must lop the leaves from the vine. 52 Out of the grape clusters that heavy feet had trampled, none before him had ever brought forth wine-and men, having drunk i t , were moved to what would some day be singing, once they had smoothed i t out, and to rustic dance. T ibu l lus , I, v i i Osiris brought his discovery of wine to Egypt from his native Nysa. Now as places go, Nysa was singularly peripatetic: i t has been 158 located in diverse corners of the ancient world. But when associated with Osir is (rather than Dionysus), we should probably 159 look for i t in the Levant. I have spent some time attempting to c l a r i f y i f not resolve these matters of origins. This e f fo r t , added to the previous distributional discussion, must not be allowed to give the erroneous impression of an abundance of wine, available to a l l , in ancient Egypt. Such was anything but the case. In saying th i s , I stand opposed to McKinlay. "The Egyptians," he writes, "did not need to fear a shortage in their wine supplies since their vines, irr igated by the N i le , yielded p l e n t i f u l l y . " 1 6 ^ Nonsense! More characterist ic of Egypt throughout the centuries was a wine d e f i c i t , a situation reflected in i ts consistent recourse to wine importations from neighbouring lands (a phenomenon to be examined presently) and in the social s t ra t i f i ca t ion which marked the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. The latter point bears elaboration. Or ig inal ly, v i t icu l ture may have been solely a royal prerogat ive. 1 6 1 Amphora seals, bearing inscriptions of ident i f i cat ion, witness the existence of frequent 53 162 163 royal domains, producing for palace tables or, commonly, for funerary and other religious purposes. 1 6 4 Lutz has proposed that the t i t l e s given to vineyards often emphasise this religious ro le - -"Praise of Horus, the F i r s t of Heaven" (King Zoser's famous vineyard, possibly located in the Kharga oasis) and "Praised be the soul of 165 Horus," amongst others. In part icular, the New Kingdom rulers 166 la id out vineyards, both for the temples and for their own tables. Private vineyards, by contrast, appeared in any numbers only in Hel lenist ic times when the influence of Greece permeated the Ni le ' s c i v i l i s a t i on . Wine consumption for most of Egypt's history was therefore an e l i t i s t luxury, available to the ruling and religious body; otherwise, none but the rich could aspire to drink this g i f t 1 fifi of Os i r i s . As in Babylonia, beer remained the supreme alcoholic 169 beverage, produced from the rei- land cereal crop. Those of standing might drink wine; hoi pol loi made do with beer. Again paral lel ing Babylonia, alternative sugar bases for 'wines' were sought among plants better adapted than the vine to the N i lo t ic environment. Drinks fermented from d a t e s , 1 7 0 palm-sap, 1 7 1 f i g s , 1 7 2 173 and pomegranates were not unimportant. In other words, wine was far from being the universal beverage of ancient Egypt. There remains to suggest one possible exception to this subdued role played by wine: the senescent Egypt of Hel lenist ic and Roman times. Those eras saw the r ise of the private vineyard. The impetus to change was the colonising Greek plus the Ptolemaic policy of tying such settlement to the l a n d . 1 7 4 Vine plantations were established on 54 reclaimed land in the delta and, according to Ptolemaic practice, 175 became the property of the planter. V i t iculture flourished. Documents from the estate of Apollonius in the Arsinoite nome t e l l of the importation of vine cuttings from Thrace, C i l i c i a , Phoenicia, and elsewhere; in one le t ter , Apollonius speaks of 10,000 plants and 1,700 shoot s . 1 7 6 Nor did this momentum die once Augustus had established Roman dominion over the Ni le. Thus by the 3rd century A.D., there had arisen a powerful landlord faction whose economy was balanced primarily on wine--although, thereafter, the decay which was endemic throughout the Empire took i ts t o l l on the Egyptian v ineyards . 1 7 7 So, in those late centuries, we can usefully presume that wine production rose and that wine drinking was somewhat popularised, though to what extent is d i f f i c u l t to say. In this context, a statement by Rostovtzeff has interesting implications: he relates that the Ptolemies imposed "heavy customs duties of a compensatory or protective character on imported wine," including the equalising 170 of the prices of imported and local vintages. From this I conclude that the late f lourish of v i t i cu l tura l act iv i ty yet belied the basic N i lot ic weakness—that Egypt remained substantially an adverse environment. C. Trade: The Civ i l i sat ions Import Environmental hos t i l i ty tempered the southern advance of wine production. Vineyards were oddities in Mesopotamia (saving Assyria), more common in Egypt but not yet a way of l i f e . (It can also be 55 mentioned at this point that there is some evidence suggestive of winemaking in one or two part icular ly favoured locales in the 179 Arabian Peninsula.) In wine's stead reigned alternative beverages. One can perhaps concede that this made plain economic sense. Now, the ancient distribution of wine production was probably never coextensive with that of wine consumption. Writing in an age which genuflects before trade balances, this statement appears merely a truism; i t assumes greater moment in the context of ear l iest h istor ic times, when trade was but poorly developed and a high degree of se l f - suf f ic iency was the norm for any given area. Relatively few types of products could sustain the expenses of transportation without the demand being channeled towards some surrogate material or being eroded altogether. In Ullman's phraseology, this would be the l fin attribute of transferabi l i ty. Before a l l others, highly valued commodities of low bulk enjoyed transferab i l i ty : examples in the ancient world were such luxury goods as precious metals and gems, cosmetic materials and s i l k s , items with apotropaic or other religious signif icance, and among foodstuffs, spices, sa l t , and honey. Not 182 at f i r s t , but at least by the time of Athens, the movement of essential staples in bulk also became feasible. Depending on time and place, wine could rank in either category. Wine, then, was one of the ear l iest objects of international trade; and i t became, in time, a principal such item in the ancient world. Both Mesopotamia and Egypt augmented their own meagre production with wine imports. 56 There was one land, in part icular, to which both powers turned, the Levant—for there abounded those materials scarce in an ar id , 1 go a l luv ia l environment. Thus Egypt took covetous interest in the terr i tory beyond Sinai: Byblus, for example, was throughout a long •j OA period l i t t l e less than an Egyptian colony. In similar manner, successive Mesopotamian c iv i l i sa t ions fixed mercenary gaze westwards. Several of their rulers, Sargon the Great of Akkad, 1 8 5 Gudea of Lagash, 1 8 6 187 and Assyria's Ashurnasirpal III among their number, marched to and claimed sovereignty over the Levant. One Levantine pr ize—the spoils of war or the commerce of peace—was wine. I have argued ear l ie r that the v i t i cu l tura l t ies between Egypt and Os i r i s ' native land were of the most ancient sort. This interaction grew. Exported from both Palestine and Syria, wine reached the Nile by sea from such ports 188 as Byblus or by caravan route via Gaza through the desert. When Strabo was writ ing, Egypt was acting as a transshipment point for the 189 Syrian product. In addition, a m i l i t a r i l y strong Egypt ' i nv i ted ' wine as tr ibute: thus Thutmose III received wines when Megiddo in 190 Palestine f e l l to his armies. Equally, the beverage was carried 191 eastwards. Here, advantage could be taken of the r iver as a 192 cheap means of transport. Old Babylonian documents disclose 193 that wine was shipped down the Euphrates, often from Carchemish in north-western Syria, to the transit centre of Mari and thence 194 downstream to Babylonia. "With this messenger," wrote Aplahanda, king of Carchemish, to his counterpart in Mari, "I am dispatching to 57 195 you excellent wine; drink!" Drink the Babylonians did too, for 196 Carchemish wine jars have been recovered there. We must envisage 197 a considerable importing of Levantine wines, the antiquity of which eastward trade may even have matched i ts Egyptian equivalent i f , as has been presumed, S idur i ' s 1 l a p i z - l a z u l i 1 vineyard in Syria 198 reflected the contact of rudimentary commerce. Other winegrowing lands competed with the Levant as the source area for imports. In Egypt's case, Greece was the r ival supplier, 199 exchanging wine for the Ni le ' s grain. Outside modern Alexandria, ancient rubbish mounds provide sizeable hordes of amphora stamps, among which Greek examples, Thasian, Cnidian, Rhodian, and others, are decidedly dominant. 2^ 0 Wine imports from Greece became prominent 201 much later than those from the Levant. Hence before 300 B.C., Greek amphora sherds were restr icted to the Greek settlements (e.g., Naucratis) in the delta; thereafter, stamps and sherds travel led as far up the Nile as Thebes, the abundance of finds indicating a 202 considerable trade. Mesopotamia (Assyria as well as i t s wineless south) looked north and east for additional sources of wine. Armenia was one. Herodotus te l l s of the transport of i t s produce downriver 203 to Babylon. Sargon II, during the Assyrian zenith of the 1st millennium B.C., l iked best the imported wines from Lake Van in 204 southern Armenia. And from the peoples settled along their northern and eastern marches, the mil itant Assyrian ru le r s— in part icular, Ashurnasirpal III, waging his campaign of "calculated 58 205 fr ightfulness" --extorted wine as tr ibute, part of the price of ?Ofi vassalage. Elam may have been another source. According to Younger, the Sumerians imported wine from "the mountains of the East," from Hulbunu and Izallu in Elam, and, much la ter , the people 207 of Babylon had such trading t ies with "the land of Asal lu. " 208 Something is amiss. Izallu cannot be located where Younger wishes. 209 Famous for i ts wines (prized by Nebuchadnezzar and worthy of mention s t i l l by the Byzantine historian Theophylactus in his "Izalae montis 210 descr ipt io" ) , i t was without doubt in the Anatolian f oo th i l l s , 211 212 north of Assyria. ' A l l the same, I have found reference 213-elsewhere to wine from the eastern mountains, and from Elam 214 seems to have been imported the wine called Bit-Kubati. In summary, during early times indeed, when organised inter-national trading was s t i l l in i ts infancy, this valued commodity wine was on the move. "But that which surprises me most in the land, after the c i ty i t s e l f . . ."--so began Herodotus in describing for his readers Babylon and i t s empire. And what he proceeded to recount was the freight t r a f f i c in wine down the Euphrates from Armenia. This surprisingly early and vigorous momentum is an image which we must keep in mind. 59 The Later C iv i l i sat ions: Propitious Environments A. The Northern Foldlands Northeast and northwest from Mesopotamia, the Alpine folds of the former Tethys geosyncline present a complicated series of mountain 215 chains and intermontane basins. These are the lands of Anatolia, Armenia, and Persia. According to the reasoning of Chapter 1, in the heart of this arcuate expanse of highland began the i n i t i a l v i t icu l tura l steps from which the great wine tradition of the Western world is inherited. Favourable lands, these. Or, more s t r i c t l y , the h i l l y country of the mountain arcs would often have yielded conditions propitious for v i t i cu l tu re , whereas the inter ior basins of Anatolia and, more 21 fi markedly so, of Persia commonly represented an inimical steppe or 217 desert environment. Important was the Mediterranean climatic 218 rhythm which predominated, with winter rains providing the moisture reservoir in the soi l for the vine to survive summer's unrelenting ar id i ty . The generally cold winter temperatures of these 219 elevated lands doubtless f ac i l i t a ted the needed period of dormancy. Yet a lengthy lacuna yawns after the i n i t i a l breakthrough in v i t icu l ture. Wine's subsequent development and histor ical importance is written in the c iv i l i sa t ions to the south and west. These northern foldlands remain in oenological darkness unti l re lat ively late; and, thereafter, they appear to cult ivate their own garden, as i t were, 220 overshadowed by the Mediterranean dynamic in the history of wine. 60 Whether this characterisation is fa lsely conditioned by a relat ive dearth of available information is a moot point. (i) Anatolia-Armenia Discussions on wine in prehistoric and early h is tor ic Anatolia and Armenia are conspicuous only by their brevity; I know of no sustained examination. This surely is a ref lect ion of the re lat ive ly recent nature of archaeological concern for this large area. We should then not be surprised that tangible evidence of winemaking begins only after 2000 B.C., but, equally, we may anticipate that this date wi l l be pushed back. Archaeological findings to date are not entirely inauspicious. To be sure, Mellaart 's recent excavations at the important Neol ithic-Early Chalcol ithic (7000-5000 B.C.) v i l lage s ite of Hacilar revealed 221 no signs of any grape gathering or cu l t ivat ion. At Qatal Huyiik, a sophisticated plant husbandry reigned by the 7th millennium--but no wine. On nearby h i l l s ides hackberries (Celtis austral is) were 222 gathered, apparently with a view to fermenting them. However, in eastern Anatolia, at Korucutepe, some wild grape pips appear in 223 vegetal remains dating from 4500-2300 B.C. (but not thereafter). More promising s t i l l is the Beycesultan s i te . Among the contents of the votive vessels offered at i ts Early Bronze Age (ca. 2400 B.C.) shrines have been discovered grape pips; moreover, stains preserved 224 in pottery vessels may possibly indicate wine. But i f this be evidence, i t is tenuous and f rag i le . Further excavations are 61 essential to allow any definite statement on wine production here in prehistoric times. The beginnings of the 2nd millennium mark the early irruptions of the Indo-European tr ibes--a Volkerwanderung from a disputed source 225 - - into many parts of Europe, the Near East, and beyond. In Anatolia, the Hitt i tes rose to international eminence, wielding an empire from their cap i ta l , Hattusas (Boghazkoy). Their extant texts, now translated, identify these people as grape growers and wine drinkers. An inscr ipt ion, found south of Lake Tuz in central Anatolia, refers to the god "Tarhui of the vine," and part of i t reads as follows: "And (the God) Tarhui wi l l favor(?) this vineyard, 227 and the vine (will grow?)." A section of the Hi t t i te Law Code, which is permeated by an unusual humanity, indicates a respect for 228 v i t i cu l ture: If anyone sets [brushwood (?)] on f i r e and [leaves] i t there and the f i re seizes a vineyard, i f vines, apple-trees, pomegranates and pear-trees (?) burn up, for one tree he shall give [six] shekels of s i l ver and replant the plant-ation. If i t be a slave, he shall give three shekels of s i l ver . 229 A further section runs thus: [From the obligation] of castle-guarding [during] a royal campaign and of plucking [grapes in] the vineyard none of the metalworkers is free. It may be possible to infer a considerable importance for wine in 230 H i t t i te l i f e from the famous rock carving of their f e r t i l i t y god at Ivr iz, in the mountains north of Tarsus. This stele dates from 62 the end of the 1st millennium. It portrays the god, a figure of commanding stature, a vine shoot twisting round his body, holding 231 out grapes and corn ears to a dwarfed, adoring king. The H i t t i te Empire was overthrown about 1200 B.C. In i t s wake, various kingdoms rose to power. By this period wine appears to have become well-established. In the east, v i t icu l ture was renowned in Urartu, Armenia's f i r s t nation state (9th-7th century B.C.). Centred upon the Lake Van area, i t s terr i tory reached Lake Urmia and extended northwards towards the 232 Caucasus footh i l l s and westwards into Anatolia. Records from the Assyrian expedition, led northwards in 714 B.C. by Sargon II, extol the vineyards planted near Lake Van. These excited the envy of even 233 the king. Archaeological investigation has confirmed this picture. A practice of the Urartian state was to stockpile foodstuffs in every fortress in the event of besiegement by hosti le army or protracted winter. Wine supplies were amassed in such depositories, In two large cel lars excavated at Alt intepe, large p i tho i , each inscribed with the quantity of i ts contents, were arranged in regular rows; total 234 capacity must have been considerable. S imi lar ly, Soviet excavators have discovered two great wine storerooms (plus several smaller) at the s ite of Karmir-Blur, beside Yerevan, in the Armenian S.S.R. Their combined capacity is estimated to have been 150,000 l i t r e s of wine, the 235 equivalent of 600 akarki (the Urartian unit of l iquid measure). But this storage volume cannot have been exceptional for King MenuaS 236 speaks of building cel lars capable of holding 900 akarki. 63 First Phrygia, then the Lydians, dominated the western lands from 1200 until 546 B.C. when the area f e l l to Persian conquest. Helbaek's examination of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 13th century) plant remains at Beycesultan on the upper Meanderes recognised only 237 one grape pip --which permits no useful conclusions to be drawn. Nevertheless, i t is l i ke ly that the Phrygians had wine from the f i r s t . Shortly after this period, there can be no doubt that wine was a commonplace in Anatolia. Because western Anatolia came increasingly within the Aegean orb i t , i t s wines soon entered the pages of Greek, then Roman, writers. In the I l iad we hear of "Phrygia, the land of vines." Younger has gathered several other references: to good Naspercenian wine from Pontus; to Monarite wine from Melitene in Cappadocia, a vintage which "r ivals the Greek wines," Strabo concedes; to the vineyards of Pamphylia in the south, 238 notably Selgean wine. Likewise from the south, the produce of 239 C i l i c i a enjoyed favourable esteem. Thus, where suitable conditions reigned, vineyards became a characteristic of the western Anatolian landscape. Some peaceful rural images have been bequeathed us by the Emperor Julian in a letter to his friend Evagrius: he offers Evagrius his Bithynian estate, especially "a humble monument of my husbandry, a small vineyard that produces a fragrant, sweet wine, which does not have 240 to wait for time to improve its f lavour." There must have been many such patches of vines across the breadth of Asia Minor. 64 (i i ) Persia It is l i ke ly that v i t icu l ture in Persia is of considerable antiquity. In i t s north-western marches at least Persia adjoined the Armenian homeland of the cultivated vine. But, as was the case in the foldlands farther west, evidence of winemaking here appears only belatedly. Two factors make i t seem l i ke ly that the origins of Persian v i t icu l ture wi l l eventually be pushed back: f i r s t l y , increased archaeological attention is being directed towards Persia's prehistory and, secondly, there are indications from more than one area that an early agricultural sophistication reigned in parts of the Zagros 241 chain and i ts footh i l l s . In the 3rd millennium there emerged Persia's f i r s t c i v i l i s ed state—Elam. To begin with, this was centred upon the plain of 242 Susiana, a "natural extension" of Mesopotamia, which accordingly enjoyed similar advantages and disadvantages. Elam later expanded 243 to encompass parts of the Zagros Mountains, an environment more suitable for cult ivat ion of the vine. The question of Elamite wine has already been broached in the context of wine imports to Babylonia 244 from Sumerian times onward. If indeed, as is plausible, "the mountains of the east" referred to the terr i tory of Elam, then wine production characterised this area at least by the 3rd millennium. Northwestwards, in the Lake Urmia region of the Zagros, Hasanlu and neighbouring s ites formed the core of the Mannaean kingdom of 245 the early centuries of the 1st millennium. The Mannaeans were 65 noted for their w i n e . 2 4 6 Material recovered from the so-called Grey Ware Phase (very early 1st millennium) seems to confirm th i s : storage jars from excavations at Hasanlu give dist inct sign of having contained wine or b e e r . 2 4 7 However, at this re lat ive ly late date and with wine-producing Assyria close at hand, i t might be more surprising i f vines were absent rather than present. To the more intriguing question of how early v i t icu l ture was practised here no answer can be given. A rich and advanced culture, probably with knowledge of agriculture, existed in this area as early as the 6th and 5th millennia —but that is a l l that can safely be said. As we advance in time, v i t icu l ture is more frequently encountered in Persia and for more than just the re lat ive ly benign environment of the Zagros periphery. A series of Indo-European invasions began in the 2nd millennium when mounted nomads conquered the inter ior plateau l a n d s . 2 4 9 By the 6th century B.C., under the Achaemenid Dynasty, the Persian nation had taken shape. Many of the terr i tor ies which then came under i ts sway grew the vine and their wines were a source of wealth and delight to the Achaemenid rulers. But the arid Persian homeland likewise hosted the vintner's art. To i l l u s t r a te , one tablet from the Persepolis treasury, dating from the ninth month of the nineteenth year of Xerxes, records a payment of money, supplementing previous payment in wine, to workers described as "winemakers at the winepress for whom Otanes the wine-bearer is pep responsible." c ' Another document, almost contemporaneous, salaries pro the same employees who are now t i t l e d "vintners." We learn 66 further from this tablet that Otanes dwells in Shiraz, a c i ty subsequently world-acclaimed for its wine and whose very name may 254 mean "having good vineyards." There is assuredly a case to be argued that "wine from this area was just as famous in the days of 255 the Achaemenian kings." Then as today, i rr igat ion (especially the qanat) held the key 256 to a viable agriculture in much of the terr i tory we now cal l Persia. It is unlikely that vineyards could have flourished to any extent 257 without i r r igat ion ' s a id , and their distribution would have been influenced accordingly. Thus i t is no surprise that i rr igat ion rights are mentioned in two vineyard transactions, recorded on parchments recovered from a cave in Persian Kurdistan. (Such a role for i rr igat ion receives some further warranty from Strabo's account of the vines of Bactriana, where Persia encroached on central Asia: their trunks could scarcely be encircled by two men with outstretched arms and their fruitfulness was prodigious. Addit ional ly, Chinese texts t e l l of grapes the size of fowl's eggs from the same 259 area. In other words, the vines of Bactriana were the rampant, swollen trees of oasis land.) Whether Persia ever real ly ranked as a major winemaking land is debatable. That the Persians were, or rather became, enthusiastic wine drinkers would seem less so. Royalty and the upper classes at ied c 262 261 least consumed the beverage with a passion. To be carried out unconscious from a banquet was no rar i ty- -so says Xenophon. An inscription from Persepolis, the cap i ta l , itemises 50 congius 67 (a measure equivalent to about Zh l i t res ) of sweet wine and 5,000 of ordinary wine as the daily delivery to the royal household. A figure exceeding 18,000 l i t r e s per diem suggests a certain penchant for the beverage! Al l the same, i f the Greek writers, notable compilers of Persia's bibulous t r a i t s , are to be credited, this important status of wine must have reflected a comparatively late date. Herodotus characterises the early Persians as abstemious: OCA "They make no use of wine but drink water." S imi lar ly, Xenophon relates that at one time the Persians interrupted their day's work but once to eat and drink (though from the time of Cyrus, he adds, they s t i l l dined once only, but this a continuous feast the day l o n g ) . 2 6 5 Two factors must temper any statement about the place of wine in ancient Persian society. The f i r s t concerns the restr icted nature of our evidence. In ancient times, the ways of the royal or noble oesophagus were rarely those of the common man's. So wine may have been ubiquitous or may merely have been the hallmark of the rich and t i t l e d . Evidence is Insufficient on this point. Secondly, there is the complicating presence of haoma (homa) in ancient Persia. pec Haoma—linguistically equivalent to and, in a l l probabi l i ty, OCJ constituency identical to the Vedic soma--has been ident i f ied 268 as, simply, wine. This i t was not. A fermented beverage violates 269 the Rig-Veda text and we must look instead to some plant with ' inebriat ing ' properties. A plethora of identif icat ions have been 270 made over the years; suffice to say that following Gordon Wasson's 68 researches, culminating in his Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, a l l recent discussions ra l l y round or attempt to refute Wasson's identi f icat ion of haoma/soma as the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria, 271 the so-called Sacred Mushroom. Be a l l this as i t may, haoma in Persia was a cu l t i c device, the centrepiece of r i t e , within the Magi-dominated worship of the forces of nature; later, i t became subsumed within the Zoroastrian purif icat ion of the Magi an rel ig ion 272 (ca. 6th century B.C.). If only in a religious ro le, haoma must have been a strong competitor to wine. But "the householder O 7 *5 himself produced the intoxicant [haoma]." So, although its impact cannot be quantif ied, here may have been a serious alternative to 274 wine. In l i ght , then, of these two 'unknown quant i t ies ' , i t would be unwise to overstress the significance of wine in ancient Persia. The above picture is the best which I can piece together; both fragmentary and wanting, i t is yet the most complete discussion of wine in the northern foldlands that I know of. Nonetheless, to look therein for satisfying generalisations is to search in vain. Wine may well have attained a considerable importance in these lands. It was surely fermented here at an early date but is attested only at a comparatively late period. The intervening lacuna invites questions, but responses are not yet possible. 69 B. The Mediterranean Trai l The turning point in the story of wine came with the r ise of v i t icu l ture in the Mediterranean Basin. Among the ancient Mediterranean peoples, wine attained an importance i t had not achieved before and which, arguably perhaps, i t was never to equal again. S igni f icant ly, v i t icu l ture in the Mediterranean found a physical environment much to i t s l i k ing . As has already been argued at some length, the vine is not a plant of the pla in. But neither is the Mediterranean Basin, Fleure's "region of d i f f i c u l t y , " a land of plains: i t is a rugged and mountainous environment where lowland is generally at a premium. Cereals coveted the lat ter . The vine ( l ike the ol ive) 'made do' with the slope, but this proved a fe l i c i tous marriage. As conditions of r e l i e f proved favourable to winegrowing, so were those of climate. Few rains (unlike the case further north) f a l l in summer to spoil the maturing f r u i t ; suff ic ient rain (unlike the case further south) arrives during winter's months to ensure for the vine's deep-delving roots adequate soil moisture throughout the remainder of the year. In terms of the l a t ter , i t has been calculated that a mere 300 mm precipitation from the end of harvest to f r u c t i -f icat ion the following year ( i . e . , during winter-spring) enables the vine to withstand summertime's drought . 2 7 5 F ina l ly , dormancy require-ments were sat is f ied by the Mediterranean winters while frosts were rarely of a dangerous severity. In short, throughout a large area 70 (and, for the most part, I do not intend to reiterate these environ-mental influences for individual regions examined) conditions were such as to promote a successful v i t i cu l ture. ( i ) The Levant Between sea and desert l i e s the Levant. Move 200 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean l i t t o r a l and the wilderness dominates completely. Intervening are the ranges and plateaus and sparse valley land of Syria and Palestine. The Children of Israel realised that the land to which they were journeying was not l ike that which they had l e f t behind. The Levant enjoyed the Mediterranean characterist ic which Egypt possessed not: "Of the rain of heaven i t drinketh water." The point I suggested in general terms in the section above, that in most of the Mediterranean winter's rains can carry the vine through summer's drought, I can verify here by example. In Palestine, late autumn witnesses the 'former rains ' of the Scriptures (25-125 mm); the bulk of moisture arrives between december and february (250-500 mm); the ' l a t ter ra ins ' , heavy showers in march and apri l (25-125 mm), make the f i n a l , decisive contribution. Taking the lowest figure in each case, 277 the 300 mm necessary for the vine wi l l s t i l l be attained (though not necessarily in exceptional years). And so, while certain areas in the Levant were in fact i r r igated, much could be cultivated 278 279 as 'Baal's l and ' , that watered by the act iv i t ies of the rain god. ' The Levant was a land rich in vines, flowing with wine. Other 280 beverages were certainly produced—particularly date wine, but 71 281 palm sap, pomegranates, f igs , and honey were also fermented, 282 and an 'apple' wine was prepared --but the primacy of wine, wine from the grape, was never challenged. Its significance we can conclude from textual evidence reinforced by some material remains uncovered by archaeology. To the north stood Syria, once proposed as the wine country par 283 excellence of the ancient Near East. It has been shown already that by an early date Syria was engaged in wine export to the c iv i l i sa t ions of the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates; in part icular, wine from Helbon, somewhere on the leeward side of the Lebanon-Amanus 284 285 coastal ranges, enjoyed reputation abroad. Texts, foreign and loca l , record the oenological richness of Syria. The tale of the early Egyptian travel ler Sinuhe, which appears f ict ional but based upon actual Egyptian contacts with the Levant, gives this description of the Syria-Palestine borderlands for a date broadly around 2000 B.C.:286 It was a good land, named Yaa. Figs were in i t , and grapes. It had more wine than water. . . . Bread was made . . . as daily fare, wine as dai ly provision. "The wine in the presses of Daha is as copious as running water," announces an inscription of Egypt's Thutmose III for some section 287 of coastal Syria (probably Phoenicia). Local sources confirm these commentaries. The Canaanite texts from Ugarit are replete with 288 references to wine. Among their number appears a vintage song or vineyard f e r t i l i t y chant te l l ing of the season's ministrations 72 289 to the vine. And lately there has been discovered a Canaanite deity, Trt ( l i t e r a l l y 'grape-juice ' ) , apparently a wine goddess from 290 whose name the Hebrews derived their poetic word t iros for 'wine'. In similar manner, tablets from Alalakh, lying in the plain of Antioch to the north, indicate a substantial v i t i cu l ture : one 15th century B.C. tablet informs us that there existed 81 vineyard-holders 291 in a single v i l lage. This richness in wine persisted throughout the centuries. The above examples date to the 2nd millennium, but as late as Roman 292 times a comparable fruitfulness is recorded. The 4th century A.D. Expositio totius mundi portrays Syria as a land "overflowing 293 with grain, wine, and o i l ; " various Syrian vintages reached Italy and wine from Laodicea was exported to Egypt, thence to Ethiopia, 294 East A f r i ca , Southern Arabia and India. Also worthy of mention is the fact that Roman administration and hydraulic engineering encouraged a considerable agriculture in the inter ior—thus "regio Chalcidena fer t i l i s s ima Syr iae"—to complement that of the coast. 295 Much wine was produced. It can be added at this point that Aphrodite's island of Cyprus, within sight of Syr ia, likewise manufactured wines in 296 297 antiquity. They did not lack reputation. Some at least were exported: i t has been said that, in Ptolemaic times, expatriate Jews in Cypriote c i t ie s may have been charged with the task of sending 298 wines from the island to Jerusalem's temple. Jars of wine were 299 a commonplace in burial procedure, and there is evidence to 73 suggest that wine was employed in l i b a t i o n s . 3 0 0 S t i l l , to propose Cyprus as a notably important wine producer in ancient times would require greater documentation than this. A Syria rich in wine had i ts counterpart to the south in Palestine. Numerous place-names on the ancient map suggest a land of vines: Abel Kramim ('Plain of the Vineyards'), Nahal Eshcol ('Brook of the C luster ' ) , Nahal Sorek ('Brook of the Vine Tendr i l ' ) , Enav ('the Grape'), Mount Carmel ( 'H i l l of the Vineyard of the Lord ' ) , and 301 others besides. It has been estimated--how, I do not know-that the population of this land used as much as 3-4 l i t r e s of wine 302 per capita each day. No surprise then is the fact that ancient winepresses abound in the countryside here and figure prominently in 303 archaeological excavations. The winery at Gibeon, now unearthed, 304 possessed a storage capacity of 150,000 l i t r e s . B ib l ica l references to winepresses, l i t e r a l (Isaiah 5:2; Matthew 21:33) or metaphorical (Revelation 14:19-20; Revelation 19:15), are many. In the Bible, of course, we have an incomparable record. The entire range of Scripture is punctuated with allusions to the vine, the vineyard, and i t s wine; their numbers total many hundreds. This fact alone is s ignif icant. The information such references y ie ld is equally revealing. A seemingly endless l i s t of these could 305 now be provided, but a few examples must suff ice to establish that the Bible portrays a s ignif icant wine-producing land. For a s tar t , the very nation of Israel is symbolised as a vine in Psalms 80:8-15; s imi lar ly, the land of Judah is personified thus in "perhaps the most 306 voluptuous picture in the Old Testament": 74 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. Genesis 49:11-12 There are suggestions, too, of sizeable v i t i cu l tura l enterprises, notably in the use of it inerant labour (Jeremiah 49:9; Obadiah 5) and in the occurrence of absentee landlordism (Mark 12:1). F ina l ly , the numerous rulings, s tr ictures, and fulminations on the matter of wine which appear in Levit ical ordinance (Leviticus 19:10 and 23:13) and later didactic writing (Proverbs 20:1 and 13:4-7) combine to imply that wine was plentiful in ancient Palestine. As in Syria, this condition was no ephemeral characterist ic (despite the experience of temporary v i t i cu l tura l setbacks such as 307 the mil itary despoiling of vineyards or Domitian's imperial 308 legis lat ion designed to stay the overproduction of wine). In later times, the historian Josephus (A.D. 37-95) reveals a Palestine 309 rich in f r u i t , part icular ly the vine. Comments and advice on v i t icu l ture abound in the various Hebraic works, notably the 310 Mishnah. And while the New Testament may by i t s very purpose contain fewer oenological references than i t s predecessor, i t s t i l l witnesses the importance of the beverage. Mark 12:1 largely echoes Isaiah 5:2. Indeed, for a l l that the Old Testament is heady with wine, i t is Jesus who g lor i f ies i t . 75 It can be said, then, that wine was produced throughout the Levant within the relat ively narrow belt of productive country hemmed between the Mediterranean and the desert. While the plains such as Ph i l i s t i a (where Samson f i red the vineyards of the Ph i l i s t ines - -311 Judges 15:5) and Sharon grew grapes, i t was the footh i l l and mountain terr i tory that dominated v i t i cu l ture . In the imagery of Amos 9:13, "the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and a l l the h i l l s 312 shall flow with i t " ; the prosperous days of King Uzziah of Judah saw that monarch encourage farming enterprise, part icular ly "vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel" (II Chronicles 26:10). Many of the important wine-producing areas overlooked the Mediterranean 313 --the Syrian lands which slope down to the coast (according to Strabo, the mountain above Laodicea was carpeted with vines almost to i t s summit), 3 1 4 the Lebanon range , 3 1 5 Mount Ca rme l , 3 1 5 and the 317 h i l l country of Judaea. But grapes were pressed also in the lands 318 to the lee of these ranges, in inter ior north-western Syr ia, in 319 320 321 Coele-Syria, and in Ammon and Moab farther south. It is thought that vineyards exte ded even into the arid wastes of the 322 Negeb in southern Palestine, although not a l i t t l e controversy has warred over whether the Negeb's t e l e i l a t el-'anab ( a r t i f i c i a l 323 stone heaps) do or do not represent evidence of former v i t i cu l ture . Irrigation invited such advance desertward. Where water was at hand, there crops, orchards, and vineyards could thrive. In the Wilderness of Judaea beside the Dead Sea, Engedi's spring, cascading forth 324 from i t s limestone escarpment, sustained a haven of l i f e . "My 76 beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of 325 Engedi," runs a verse from the Song of Solomon. Nearby, we may believe, l i e s part of the treasure of Qumran's Copper Scro l l : "In the reservior which is in the Place of the Vineyard, (Beth Kerem), ten cubits on i t s l e f t as you enter: sixty-two talents of s i l ve r . " Another famous oasis, Petra in ancient Nabataea, s imi lar ly produced 327 some wine. And in the north the Roman transfiguration of parts of Syria 's inter ior has already been alluded to. One problem remains—origins. Approximatley when did this Levantine wine production ar ise, and from where was the innovation borrowed? (Borrowed i t almost certainly was, for there is no dependable indication that V i t i s s i l ves t r i s ever flourished in the L e v a n t . ) 3 2 8 Its beginnings may be dated back at least to the Early Bronze Age (commencing at the close of the Chalcol i th ic, towards the end of the 4th millennium). According to Reifenberg, a sizeable complex of crops, including wheat, barley, mi l le t , various vegetables, o l ives , dates, f i g s , and the vine, was in cult ivation throughout the Near 329 East of the 4th millennium. This statement is somewhat too sweeping. But the fact that Egyptian wine production had commenced almost certainly by the 4th millemmium is important, for I have argued ear l ier that the Nile peoples probably received this innovation from the Levant. Signif icant also is the exporting of Levantine 330 wines at least by some time in the 3rd millennium (part of a larger and probably older trade). 77 Two points of etymology lend some support to grape-growing amongst the Canaanite peoples by 3000 B.C. The f i r s t has already been considered: the Canaanite loan-word ka(r)mu (vineyard) appears in Egyptian texts of early dynastic times. Secondly, towns predating 3000 B.C. have been shown to bear Canaanite names. Amongst these, the famous Ugarit is closely connected with the name of the mythological 331 figure Gapnu-wa-Ugaru (vineyard and f i e l d ) . Palaeobotanical findings have not given the unequivocal confirm-ation that might have been wished. True, carbonised grape remains have been recovered at several s i tes. Helbaek has examined such 332 333 material from Hama in Syria, Lachish in Palestine, and, on the 334 island of Cyprus, from Apliki and Kalopsidha. At Sal amis on 335 Cyprus further finds have been made. The Cypriote evidence, respectively from the middle 2nd millennium, the late 2nd millennium, and the Iron Age, is too recent to be helpful. The imprint of a grape pip in a potsherd from Hama is another matter, for this dates from the 33fi second half of the 4th millennium B.C.; and the Lachish pips belong to the early 3rd millennium. However, Helbaek concludes that the evidence points to the use of grapes as rais ins rather than as 337 wine. This, of course, does not preclude wine having been made. Hopf's study of Jericho's plant residues casts no further l ight on the matter. Both pips and carbonised berries occur there from the time of the Early Bronze Age (late 4th millennium) but Hopf is not concerned with their use. 78 While the above evidence is sparse, i t does seem to exhibit suff ic ient correspondence to encourage bel ief in the beginnings of 339 Levantine winemaking shortly before 3000 B.C., at latest. I must suppose that this innovation came from the north 3 4 0 (Syria 341 traded with Armenia at a very early date). Or such at least is the standard explanation. I know of no substantial corroborating evidence and given the period involved we may never receive any. Attention has been drawn to the fact that Noah, primordial vigneron, is associated both with Ararat in ancient Armenia and with the very 342 ancient settlement of Hebron in Palestine --but the connection is not a l i t t l e tenuous. Al l in a l l , the ear l iest days of what was destined to become a major agricultural industry in the Levant remain largely obscured from view. ( i i ) The Aegean World To seek the beginnings of winemaking in the Aegean world one must f i r s t exorcise a ghost—that of S i r Arthur Evans, excavator of Knossos in Crete. For his diagnosis, now several decades o ld, that wine was unknown to the Minoan c i v i l i s a t i on of Crete before Late Minoan times (beginning around 1600 B.C.), has long enjoyed the 343 relat ively unchallenged reign of dogma. Recent scholarship belatedly questions his assertion. There seems good reason to do so. The evidence of grape remains alone is suggestive. It is certain that the wild vine was 79 native at least to northern Greece: its vestiges are attested for the sites of Sitagroi and Diki l i tash from about 4500 B.C. onwards. In the only recently excavated former s i t e , the remains, i n i t i a l l y wi ld, exhibit increasing features of domestication in the successive levels; before the onset of the Early Bronze Age, domestication had 344 been achieved. For the most part, however, grape findings have been domesticated examples from Bronze Age times (approximately 2600-1100 B.C.). They are dated according to this crude c la s s i f i ca t ion: Crete Mainland Greece (south) Early Minoan 2600-2000 B.C. Early Helladic 2600-1900 B.C. Middle Minoan 2000-1600 B.C. Middle Helladic 1900-1600 B.C. Late Minoan 1600-1100 B.C. Late Helladic 1600-1100 B.C. On mainland Greece, grape remnants at Orchomenos in Boeotia date 345 from Middle Helladic times, while considerable quantities of Late 346 Helladic pips have been recovered at Tiryns in the Peloponnese. On Crete, grape pips have been found in storage jars of Middle 347 Minoan date at both Phaistos and Monastiraki. No certainty of wine in such finds. These residues could conceivably represent mere use of fresh grapes or raisins as a food source. Nevertheless, the compressed nature of the Orchomenos pip masses and the similar character of remains at Hissarl ik (Troy) 348 suggest the detritus of winemaking. S ignif icant, too, would appear to be the discovery of grape pips in a pithos at Aghios Kosmas in Att ica since the vessel was c lear ly intended to hold l i q u i d — 349 grape juice or wine, hazards Renfrew. In other words, and not 80 the words of Evans, winemaking at least by the f i r s t half of the 2nd millennium is indicated. So the Minoan c i v i l i s a t ion drank wine? Modern Minoan scholars are wi l l ing to sanction such a view. Presuming that the mainland peoples were unlikely to have learned their winemaking from the north, Hutchinson argues that the Cretans must have fermented wine during 350 Middle Minoan times and probably also in the 3rd millennium. Hood is wi l l ing to accept that the beverage was made as early as the beginnings of the Bronze Age (ca. 2600 B .C . ) . 3 5 1 S t i l l , the weight of corroborating evidence is not as great as might be wished. For a s tart , representational evidence is minimal. In Minoan art the vine motif is rare indeed. Whether much should be made of this is another matter: in later Mycenaean art the vine is again uncommon, although the presence of wine in Mycenaean l i f e can easi ly be shown. As for epigraphic testimony, i t must await substantial and approved transl i terat ion of Linear A. (Ignoring early hieroglyphs, Crete has yielded two scr ipts , Linear A and Linear B, the former in a general sense the progenitor of the la t ter . Linear A, occurring throughout the is land, dates from Middle rather than Late Minoan times; as such, i t was the scr ipt of the Minoan c i v i l i s a t i on sensu s t r i c to , essential ly Middle Minoan and Crete-bound save for a very few colonies. Unfortunately, this scr ipt has resisted attempts at 353 decipherment. Linear B, by contrast, has revealed wine's use in everyday l i f e . But with i t s Late Minoan currency i t was not truly Minoan, since after 1600 B.C. c i v i l i s a t i o n ' s impetus stood with 81 Mycenae on the mainland; that is to say, Linear B wi l l ref lect the Mycenaean world, Peloponnese based, which encroached upon Crete only at the palace domain of Knossos. For the present discussion, i t is . not r e l e v a n t . ) 3 5 4 The ar t i fact as a source of evidence is more promising. Renfrew 355 argues at some length—in fact , he is not the f i r s t to so do that the dramatic increase in frequency of cups and jugs, vessels for pouring and receiving l iqu ids , during the Early Bronze Age represents 356 "corroboration for the use of a beverage such as wine." He considers that the cups are too small to be useful for much besides drinking, a bel ief encouraged by the fact that certain types cannot stand upright; he suggests further that since not even a modest draught of beer can be accommodated by such cups and since d i s t i l l a t i on 357 is a recent phenomenon, the case for wine is strengthened. Somewhat more direct indication of wine amongst the Minoans is provided by the Early and Middle Minoan winepresses which have been claimed for certain Cretan s i tes. Hood asserts that such a O C Q press exists to the south of Knossos. The Early Minoan vi l lage of Myrtos may house another, though i ts use as an ol ive separator 359 has been proposed. Recent excavations at Zakros, at the eastern extremity of Crete, have revealed a Minoan port with several winepresses 3fin of Middle Minoan dating; these, supplemented by further examples inland, are claimed as proof that "f ine wines were produced in great q u a n t i t i e s . " 3 6 1 82 This conclusion is perhaps precipitate—though, equally, i t may be vindicated as more knowledge about the Minoans comes to l ight. Renfrew's vessels t e l l nothing about Greek wine production; the existence of a few winepresses, their authenticity sometimes disputed, is not evidence enough to demonstrate "great quantit ies." A l l that can reasonably be said at the moment is that the Minoans, or possibly some privileged sections of their society, produced and consumed some wine by an early date in their history. To elaborate would be unwise. Both v i t icu l ture and winemaking were present in Greece at a re lat ive ly early date, certainly in Crete, quite possibly in parts of the mainland. Where these techniques could have been learned is a vexed question. Broadly speaking, two routes of vinous advance into Greece can be postulated. •SCO One is from the south. A case can be made for a maritime route from the south-eastern l i t t o r a l of the Mediterranean to Crete, thence perhaps to the mainland, where Minoan contacts were many i f colonies few. This argument would require indication of 3rd millennium (Early Minoan) or perhaps 2nd millennium (Middle Minoan) l ia ison between Crete and areas which were already making wine. Now, by the late 3rd millennium, Crete traded a variety of goods part icular ly with Egypt but also with the Levantine coast. From either could have come the knowledge of winemaking and, since i t is improbable that 3fid the vine was native to Crete, the plant i t s e l f . This is conjecture. And not much 'concrete evidence' can ra l l y to i ts support. Two 83 points merit mention, however, both having reference to the Levant. F i r s t l y , Cyrus Gordon has used the transl iterated Linear B symbols to transl iterate backwards to Linear A (an attempt which has been I C C dubbed plausible but speculative). This has allowed him to claim strong connections between Syria's Ugarit and Crete, as revealed in the economic-administrative tablets from Hagia Triada. He identi f ies the Cretan deity Gu-pa-nu with the vine god known from Ugarit. Furthermore, the word for wine, ya-ne, incised on a wine jar fragment from Knossos, appears borrowed ("the Northwest Semitic nature of <3CC " 3 6 7 Minoan is established") from the Northwest Semitic yain. The second point I can introduce by some lines from Hesiod: at that season, one might have the shadow under the rock, and the wine of B ib l i s . . . Hesiod: Works and Days, 588-89 The i d y l l i c l i f e for the Boetian bard was a spot shaded from the June sun and a flask of Bibline wine. Strange, for the peasant context of Hesiod would make one expect some local vintage. An import of Phoenician wine from Byblos would seem unlikely. But 'B ib l ine ' wine was later produced in Magna Graecia (southern Italy, including S i c i l y ) , and the repetition gives a clue. 'B ib l ine ' appears to have been the name of a type of vine, or perhaps a style of wine, originating in a specif ic locale (possibly corresponding to the modern prol i ferat ion 369 of Riesl ing). Here then is the poss ib i l i ty of the movement of 84 Levantine vine-stock or v in i f icat ion s k i l l s into the Greek world, but, unfortunately, no date can be given this. If a movement from the south as outlined represents the f i r s t l i ke l y route of vinous advance, a path from the north is the other poss ib i l i ty . Given the unique sequence of grape vestiges at S i tagroi , i t has become possible to state that certainly the domestication of the vine and perhaps the rise of organised v i t icu l ture and winemaking 371 occurred as a local (northern Aegean) a f fa i r . This is the most 372 persuasive case in favour of a movement from the north. It is as well to point out f i na l l y that I see no reason to consider these two possible routes mutually exclusive. Both may have been involved. Al l the same, while I am wi l l ing to acknowledge the feas ib i l i t y of the north Aegean winemaking hearth, the major thrust of v i t i cu l tura l colonisation would seem more appropriate to the re lat ive ly sophisticated Minoans rather than to the northern tr ibes. The Minoans enjoyed the f i r s t European c i v i l i s a t i on—cer ta in l y in Europe and beginning to be of Europe. They drank wine, but i t is impossible to judge the importance of the beverage in their culture. It is much less d i f f i c u l t to show that wine held a not inconsiderable significance in Mycenaean l i f e (mainland: Late Helladic times; Knossos: Late Minoan). It may be premature to 373 claim an "enormous popularity" for wine in the Late Bronze Age, but there are pointers enough to take us past Chadwick's unduly cautious diagnosis: "Wine was drunk, although in what quantities 85 we cannot t e l l . " 3 7 4 For now, indisputable archaeological indicators are supplemented by the written record. 375 Echoing Minoan days, the lump of compressed grape pips and the winepress--as the fine example at Palaikastro, discovered as long ago as the turn of the century --witness Mycenaean vinting. But the f ru i t s of Mycenaean digging have been greater. Excavations led by Blegen at Nestor's Palace in Pylos have resulted in the discovery of a wine magazine containing, in various states of survival , three or possibly four rows of wine p i thoi . "We can say," writes Blegen, "that at least 35 s t i l l stood in place on the day the palace was reduced to ruins in the great f i r e , and there may have been a 377 378 good many more." A minimum capacity of 6,000 l i t re s is indicated. That these pithoi held wine is evidenced by the adjacent presence of stemmed drinking cups and clay sealings, four of which bear the 379 ideogram designating 'wine'. On the subject of sealings, two interesting examples, from the Mycenaean c i ty near Sparta s t i l l bear the impression of vine leaves on their lower surfaces. These leaves were la id over a wine ja r ' s mouth to prevent the i n i t i a l l y soft 380 clay seal from fa l l i ng into the l i qu id . From Linear B tablets, recovered in numerous places, can be pieced together glimpses of the economic conditions of Mycenaean Greece. The ideogram for 'wine' is well-established—probably i t 381 or ig inal ly represented a vine grown on a t r e l l i s --and the beverage is known to us from a number of tablets, in the form of ration or offering. One tablet from Mycenae, possibly a ration l i s t , records 86 the equivalent of 24 l i t r e s of wine. An example from Pylos mentions wine four times, tota l l ing over 200 l i t r e s , as an offering to the Mycenaean Poseidon, while yet another offers double this figure to the 382 same god. No society has ever given a l l i t s wine to i ts gods, so the fact that Poseidon receives the l iquor in such amounts can be 383 taken probably to suggest a healthy v i t i cu l ture . F ina l ly , the towering works of Homer add a dimension to our understanding of Mycenaean l i f e . At once, however, a d i f f i cu l t y arises. Ostensibly descriptive of the Mycenaean world, the works of Homer may rather ref lect conditions ranging from the actual Mycenaean • 384 period down to the 8th century B.C., when 'Homer' l i ved, or perhaps even the 6th century, at which time a standard Athenian version was edited. A useful review of this problem, examined in terms of the dietary regimen portrayed in the epics, has been undertaken by Younger: he concludes that the Homeric treatment of wine essential ly ref lects the old Mycenaean order. Homer's picture is one of relat ive abundance of wine. He knows of slopes clothed in vines—"Epidaurus fu l l of vines" in the eastern Peloponnese; from north-western Euboea "Hist ia ia rich in vines"; and somewhere in Boeotia "Arne rich in vineyards," which were almost certainly of Mycenaean date since they had already 3ftfi vanished by the 8th century. Most famous of Homeric vintages was 387 Maronean, grown on an isolated mountain chain overlooking the Thracian coast. This wine i t was which lu l led the unsuspecting 388 Cyclops into unconsciousness, a dark red wine, fragrant and strong. 87 These examples suggest widespread v i t i cu l ture. And i f the following event in the IIiad can bear a Mycenaean dating, a considerable production of wine is indicated. We hear of "many ships from Lemnos" carrying wine to the Greeks camped before Troy, s imi lar ly , Nestor says to Agamemnon: "Thy huts are fu l l of wine that the ships of 389 the Acha'ians bring thee by day from Thrace across the wide sea." 390 In other words, a sizeable trading venture is underway. It can be noted las t ly that wine is portrayed as a common accompaniment to 391 meals and as an essential for special occasions. Excessive drinking—panegyrics to Homeric temperance to the contrary—was a 392 not infrequent aspect. By the time Homer was writing at the beginnings of c lass ical Greece, wine was becoming an everyday item for the ordinary c i t i zen . Even in Mycenaean times v i t i cu l ture had probably been insuf f ic ient ly developed to permit such adjectives as 'da i ly ' and 'ordinary' to be used. But now "with vineyards spreading widely through the Islands 393 and over the mainland of Greece," plus the existence of an increas-394 ingly rational agricultural practice from the 6th century onwards (for Hesiod's l i terary farming treatise had already been composed by this date and the methodical mind of Theophrastus was not so very far ahead), wine was drunk universally and frequently. And so in classical Greece i t achieved the status of a dietary staple, taking i t s place alongside grain—as bread, cake, and porridge—and ol ive o i l to comprise the famous 'Mediterranean t r i a d ' . (To these were 88 added some pulses and vegetables, cheese, f i gs , honey, and preserved 395 f ish.) For the rich there were wines enough to permit the quest for connoisseurship, a t r a i l that was to culminate in the encyclopaedic 396 vintage catalogue of Athenaeus. Wine lubricated leisure time: Att ic inte l lects were sharpened by i ts indispensable presence at the symposium; more fl ippant gatherings were often marked by a game of kottabos, which consisted in ejecting wine lees into a distant 397 container, both accuracy and style being evaluated. And the 'good l i f e 1 ? A Middle Comedy poet replies for us: "Cheesecakes, sweet wine, eggs, cakes of sesame, perfumes, and crowns, and female f l u t e - p l a y e r s . " 3 9 8 Wine production in the Aegean world attained i t s acme in this c lass ical period. Vineyards became important and widespread throughout both the mainland and the islands; no less so, they clothed the l i t t o ra l s of Thrace and Asia Minor. A measure of their importance may be the fact that the vintage, more than any other single product of trade, was advertised on the one form of ancient 'pr inted' matter 399 capable of wide and speedy dissemination—coinage (in those days money talked even more than i t does now). Thus, looking only at the islands which garnish the shores of Asia Minor, some wine m o t i f -grapes, amphora, winecup, and suchlike—decorated coins from Lemnos, Tenedos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Icaria, and Rhodes. 4 0 0 Another • measure of significance is surely the relat ive frequency with which 401 the oinos root appears in Aegean toponymy. But i f wine production was widespread, quality (or, at least, reputations) varied considerably. 89 The grands crus came not from mainland Greece: Att ica ' s strength was quantity not excellence, the Peloponnese was l i t t l e better. Northwards, however, on the Thracian coast, Mende and Maronea possessed famous vineyards. And among the islands—Athenaeus lauds the island wines above a l l - - the vintages from Chios and Thasos, mere mountains bursting up from the Aegean, were renowned. Esteemed also were the 402 wines of Lesbos and Peparethos. A catalyst to this expanded Aegean v i t icu l ture was the establ ish-ment of numerous Greek colonies from the 8th to 6th centuries in diverse parts of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. A rational isation of arable production between the motherland and the new colonies crysta l l i sed in terms of the former special is ing in wringing wine from her emaciated lands. Gradually Greece saw a sh i f t from the traditional subsistence v i t icu l ture to widespread commercial exploit-403 ation, a transformation encouraged by state-given 'farm subsidies ' , low-interest loans designed to enable the farmer to weather the 404 i n i t i a l absence of tree crop y i e l d . One impetus to these changes was environmental. The soi ls of Greece were commonly too skeletal and the plains too restr icted to favour more than mediocre grain harvests, but such conditions were, of course, no discouragement to the vine. In addition, the fortunes of trading may have jeopardised grain farming in parts of mainland Greece even before colonial 405 agriculture became a major factor. At any rate, during c lass ical times wine exports from the Aegean s ta tes—tes t i f ied by the substantial amphora remains in various c o l o n i e s 4 ^ - - ! argely suff iced 4 ^ 1 7 to cover 90 the expense of the necessary imports, the 'dai ly bread', the sundry trappings of opulence, and the raw materials required to maintain the whole panoply of mil itary might which seemed so indispensable to ensure these needs . 4 0 8 Thus a considerable interdependence of 409 economic production was achieved. After the apogee, the f a l l . Winemaking's decline was emeshed in the larger-scale fading of the once-buoyant Greek economy into prolonged c r i s i s , but i t s role was a s igni f icant one. Undoubtedly, a major wound to Greece was the r ise of local wine production in 410 many of her colonies and the resultant market loss. The equilibrium of interdependence was disturbed. Eventually, wine prices plummeted; those of grain, less avai lable, reached new 411 heights. The combination threatened Greece's capacity to survive. Added to th i s , the "ceaseless wars" of the 4th century B.C. (the po l i t i ca l struggles, the class wars, the foreign encounters) sapped and irrevocably debi l i tated Hellas, quite apart from their obvious 412 destructive consequences in the vineyard. Rostovtzeff, the most cautious of scholars, says of Greece that "as soon as she ceased to be the purveyor of o i l and wine and manufactured goods for the 413 rest of the world she was bound to decay." Later subservience to Rome brought with i t no reversal of this decline. The Greek wines never regained their former production leve l , and in terms of their once high esteem les neiges d'antan had melted forever. 91 ( i i i ) Italy In Italy, wine came before Rome. This much is certain. Yet i t is no simple matter to c l a r i f y the nature of winemaking's beginnings in a land destined to become famed for i ts vintages. One can posit four external sources, more or less l i ke l y , of organised v i t icu l ture and wine preparation in Italy. But before turning to these, an i n i t i a l question merits attention: did organised Italian winemaking begin in s i tu with the native V i t i s s i lvestr i s? The distr ibution of the wild vine extended into at least parts of Italy. Certainly, palaeobotanical remains from northern Italy, part icular ly from the Bronze Age swamp dwellings of Aemilia and Lakes 414 Garda and Varese, have proved r ich in grape pips. Whether wine was made is not known, Rudimentary fermentation is a poss ib i l i ty , although the pips more l i ke ly speak of grapes or raisins as a food source. Further south looks potential ly more f r u i t f u l . Hyams records that lumps of pressed grape pips, winemaking detritus beyond doubt, have been recovered from vi l lage sites of the early Iron Age peoples 415 who inhabited the lands where now stands Rome. Here is wine from V i t i s s i l ves t r i s agree a l l but one of the sources which he has drawn upon (though i t may be worth noting that the scholars cited by Hyams hail from an era preceding that of modern palaeobotanical research). S igni f icant ly, this Iron Age discovery allows the poss ib i l i ty of a major indigenous impetus in the rise of Italian v i t i cu l ture. 92 Such an occurrence would require that the Iron Age Indo-European tribes—among their number the Latins, Oscans, and Umbrians—who had invaded the peninsula shortly after 1000 B.C. did not bring winemaking with them as a cultural t r a i t but discovered the process once established in their new land. We must further assume that once settled in Italy these peoples did not receive the idea of fermentation from some external source (e.g., Greek sa i lors ) . Is this reconstruction l ikely? It is possible but, to my knowledge, there is insuf f ic ient evidence to support or refute i t beyond a l l cav i l . There is a complicating element to be considered. Hyams meets opposition in the work of Helbaek. The la t ter argues that, botanically, Italy was two, that whereas V i t i s s i l ves t r i s was common in the north, 416 the central peninsula and the south possessed no native vines. If so, Latium harboured no wild vines. Now Helbaek, too, has examined plant residues from pre-urban Rome, discovering amongst them numerous grape pips. Such finds he explains in terms of the introduction of the cult ivar. Noting that no pips antedate the period of Etruscan influence in the area, he understands the remains as "a novelty connected with this foreign cultural i n f l u e n c e " 4 1 7 (which would seem a more reasonable solution than to credit that the wandering 418 Indo-European herdsmen carried with them the cultivated grape vine.) I do not intend to arbitrate between these conf l ict ing positions, but there is one point worth making. Even i f the detritus from Latium represents an Indo-European discovery in s i tu , we cannot necessarily presume from this any substantial fermenting of wine. 93 Now, i t might be intuited that a pastoral ist people would more readily turn to honey than to the grape berry to prepare alcohol. This appears true of the Indo-Europeans: philologists stress that 419 these peoples had mead as their most characterist ic intoxicant; Plutarch believed that before wine was known to the Romans, mead alone 420 was available to them. Moreover, i t wi l l be shown presently that the youthful Rome was l i t t l e friend to wine. In other words, while the early Iron Age peoples at the s i te of Rome may have fermented wine from Vi t i s s i l ve s t r i s , i t is most unlikely that this breakthrough influenced appreciably the subsequent course of Italian winemaking. How, then, was organised wine production introduced into the peninsula? As was indicated ea r l i e r , four sources may have been involved—the Mycenaeans, Phoenicians, Etruscans and Greeks. Each of these groups made contact with Italy in some capacity or another. The f i r s t two can have made minor impact at most. Early Mycenaean trade contacts with southern Italy are attested, but we have no surety that wine figured in this trading. Even assuming i t d id, the agricultural s k i l l s of the peninsular peoples would scarcely have 421 been able to sustain an organised v i t i cu l ture . The Phoenicians present a stronger case. They appear to have introduced winemaking into parts of S i c i l y , but the restr icted area of their colonisation, perhaps added to the fact of the more numerous, contemporary Greek colonies al ike producing wine in Magna Graecia, v i t iated against any 422 major Phoenician momentum in the r ise of the Italian wine industry. 94 The Etruscan contribution is the most d i f f i c u l t to assess. It is customary to label the Etruscans as a people shrouded in mystery. Of relevance here is their original homeland—which, i f not a total mystery, is at least disputed, and has been so since the Romans f i r s t posed the question. One current school of thought has stressed autochthonous origins in Etrur ia ; the opposing faction ident i f ies migratory beginnings in Lydia, Asia Minor. Bloch, among the principal 423 modern Etruscologists, argues cogently in favour of the l a t ter , but i t may be more rea l i s t i c to abandon the r i g id i ty of dichotomy and reason that an e l i t e element arrived from the east to act as a 424 cultural catalyst. Whatever the exodus, i t must have occurred in 425 the f i r s t quarter of the 1st millennium B.C. It is surely unthink-able that this migrating people, doubtless acquainted with vine and wine in Asia Minor and accorded a reputation as bon vivants, would 426 have fa i led to capita l ise on their vinous lore once in Italy. Unfortunately, Etruria has yielded sparse evidence of winemaking (and, accordingly, almost every discussion of wine avoids inspection of the Etruscans). At f i r s t sight, the a r t i s t i c representation of things oenological would appear to give impressive testimony. De Mort i l let cites the examples of a mirror decorated with vines and vintage scene and of a cup in bronze and s i l ve r , ornamented with vine 427 leaves and grapes, recovered in a sacred thermal spring. Other designs engraved on the back of bronze hand-mirrors can be noted: one example from the Br i t i sh Museum possesses a f lora l border of what must be the vine (the leaves are inaccurate, but the f r u i t is very 95 character ist ic) , while on another example, now in Baltimore, a vine t r a i l s upwards to overhang a group of four f igures, one of 429 whom is ident i f ied as Fufluns, the Etruscan derivative of Dionysus. And then there are the famous tomb paintings, beloved of D. H. Lawrence. Numerous banqueting scenes show drinking vessels of a 430 design that is thought to have held wine. Thus the Tomba dei Vasi Dipinti records a charming family meal, husband and wife supping wine together from a large kylix (wine bowl), their children at their side. In fact , the value of such representational evidence is questionable. The ear l iest art of the Etruscans was s t r i c t l y 432 non-representational, consisting of abstract, geometric symbolism. But as early as the declining 8th century, Greek art i facts made 433 their way to Etrur ia, and the following century has been christened 434 the 'or ienta l i s ing ' period. In br ie f , Etruscan art was heavily influenced by the eastern Mediterranean. The engraved mirror, to give an example, was an Etruscan invention rather than a Greek borrowing, but the inspiration for the speci f ic designs was over-435 whelmingly Greek. So, i f we look for confirmation that the Etruscans brought wine-producing s k i l l s into Italy, the value of the above vinous motifs is as nought. If we are content, however, to suggest that v i t icu l ture and wine drinking figured in the Etruscan way of l i f e once settled in Italy, they may have some worth as evidence. But we cannot be sure. 96 The picture is not a l l bleak. One design, a household scene, 436 is more promising. From the Go!ini Tomb near V o l s i n i i , i t reveals a kitchen episode in which a harassed cook is attempting to discharge the simultaneous demands of two serving-gir ls. On a table beside 437 him rest various foodstuffs, including bunches of grapes. The str iking domesticity of the scene makes i t l i ke l y tha
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Prolegomena to the diffusion of winemaking in antiquity: a study in cultural geography Winton, Ivor 1975
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