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Romulus made libations, not with wine but with milk; a fact which is fully established by the religious rites which owe their foundation to him, and are observed even to the present day. The Posthumian Law, promulgated by King Numa, has an injunction to the following effect:—" Sprinkle not the funeral pyre with wine;" a law to which he gave his sanction, no doubt, in consequence of the remarkable scarcity of that commodity in those days. By the same law, he also pronounced it illegal to make a libation to the gods of wine that was the produce of an unpruned vine, his object being to compel the husbandmen to prune their vines; a duty which they showed themselves reluctant to perform, in consequence of the danger which attended climbing the trees.1 M. Varro informs us, that Mezentius, the king of Etruria, succoured the Rutuli against the Latini, upon condition that he should receive all the wine that was then in the territory of Latium.

(13.) At Rome it was not lawful for women to drink wine. Among the various anecdotes connected with this subject, we find that the wife of Egnatius Mecenius2 was slain by her husband with a stick, because she had drunk some wine from the vat, and that he was absolved from the murder by Romulus. Fabius Pictor, in his Book of Annals, has stated that a certain lady, for having opened a purse in which the keys of the wine-cellar were kept, was starved to death by her family: and Cato tells us, that it was the usage for the male relatives to give the females a kiss, in order to ascertain whether they smelt of "temetum;" for it was by that name that wine was then known, whence our word "temulentia," signifying drunkenness. Cn. Domitius, the judge, once gave it as his opinion, that a certain woman appeared to him to have drunk more wine than was requisite for her health, and without the knowledge of her husband, for which reason he condemned her to lose her dower. For a very long time there was the greatest economy manifested at Rome in the use of this article. L. Papirius,3 the general, who, on one occasion, commanded against the Samnites, when about to engage, vowed an offering to Jupiter of a small cupfull of wine, if he should gain the victory. In fact, among the gifts presented to the gods, we find mention made of offerings of sextarii of milk, but never of wine.

The same Cato, while on his voyage to Spain, from which he afterwards returned triumphant,4 would drink of no other wine but that which was served out to the rowers—very different, indeed, to the conduct of those who are in the habit of giving to their guests even inferior wine5 to that which they drink themselves, or else contrive to substitute inferior in the course of the repast.6

1 "Circa pericula arbusti." This is probably the meaning of this very elliptical passage. See p. 218.

2 Called Metellus, by Valerius Maximus, B. vi. c. 3.

3 See B. xvii. c. 11.

4 Over the Celtiberi.

5 The younger Pliny, B. ii. Ep. 2, censures this stingy practice. See also Martial, B. iii. Epig. 60.

6 That this, however, was not uncommonly done, we may judge from the remark made by the governor of the feast, John ii. 10, to the bridegroom.

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