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We will now, in a similar manner, give a description of the varieties found in the parts beyond sea. After the wines mentioned by Homer, and of which we have already spoken,1 those held in the highest esteem were the wines of Thasos and Chios,2 and of the latter more particularly the sort known as "Arvisium."3 By the side of these has been placed the wine of Lesbos,4 upon the authority of Erasistratus, a famous physician, who flourished about the year of the City of Rome 450. At the present day, the most esteemed of all is the wine of Clazomenæ,5 since they have learned to season it more sparingly with sea-water. The wine of Lesbos has naturally a taste of sea-water. That from Mount Tmolus6 is not so much esteemed by itself7 for its qualities as a wine, as for its peculiar sweetness. It is on account of this that it is mixed with other wines, for the purpose of modifying their harsh flavour, by imparting to them a portion of its own sweetness; while at the same time it gives them age, for immediately after the mixture they appear to be much older than they really are. Next in esteem after these are the wines of Sicyon,8 Cyprus,9 Telmessus,10 Tripolis,11 Berytus,12 Tyre,13 and Sebennys, this last is grown in Egypt, being the produce of three varieties of grape of the very highest quality, known as the Thasian,14 the æthalus,15 and the peuce.16 Next in rank are the hippodamantian17 wine, the Mystic,18 the cantharite,19 the protropum20 of Cnidos, the wine of the catacecaumene,21 the Petritan,22 and the Myconian;23 as to the Mesogitic,24 it has been found to give head-ache, while that of Ephesus is far from wholesome, being seasoned with sea-water and defrutum.25 It is said that the wine of Apamea26 is remarkably well adapted for making mulsum,27 like that of Præ- tutia in Italy: for this is a quality peculiar to only certain kinds of wine, the mixture of two sweet liquids being in general not attended with good results. The protagion28 is quite gone out of date, a wine which the school of Asclepiades has reckoned as next in merit to those of Italy. The physician Apollodorus, in the work which he wrote recommending King Ptolemy what wines in particular to drink—for in his time the wines of Italy were not generally known—has spoken in high terms of that of Naspercene in Pontus, next to which he places the Oretic,29 and then the Æneatian,30 the Leucadian,31 the Ambraciotic,32 and the Peparethian,33 to which last he gives the preference over all the rest, though he states that it enjoyed an inferior reputation, from the fact of its not being considered fit for drinking until it had been kept six years.

1 In c. 6 of this Book.

2 The Chian held the first rank, the Thasian the second.

3 From Arvisium, or Ariusium, a hilly district in the centre of the island. The wine of Chios still retains its ancient celebrity.

4 It was remarkable for its sweetness, and aromatics were sometimes mixed with it. Homer calls it harmless. Lesbos still produces choice wines.

5 Near Smyrna. Probably similar to the Pramnian wine, mentioned in c. 6.

6 See B. v. c. 30. This wine is mentioned again in the next page; it is generally thought, that he is wrong in making the Tmolites and the Mesogites distinct wines, for they are supposed to have been identical.

7 If drunk by itself, and not as a flavouring for other wines.

8 Bacchus had a temple there.

9 The wines of Cyprus are the most choice of all the Grecian wines at the present day.

10 In Lycia.

11 In Syria. Wine is no longer made there, but the grapes are excellent, and are dried for raisins.

12 Now Beyrout. It does not seem that wine is made there now. The Mahometan religion may have tended to the extinction of many of these wines.

13 At the village of Sour, on the site of ancient Tyre, the grape is only cultivated for raisins.

14 See also c. 22: probably introduced from Thasos.

15 The "smoky" grape.

16 The "pitchy" grape.

17 A strong wine, Hardouin thinks, from whence its name-"strong enough to subdue a horse."

18 From the small island of Mystus, near Cephallenia.

19 So called from the vine the name of which was "canthareus."

20 Made, as already stated, from the juice that flowed spontaneously from the grapes. See also p. 250.

21 Or the "burnt up" country, a volcanic district of Mysia, which still retains its ancient fame for its wine. Virgil alludes to this wine in Georg. iv. 1. 380:— —Cape Mæonii carchesia Bacchi.

22 Perhaps from Petra in Arabia: though Fée suggests Petra in the Balearic Islands.

23 See B. iv. c. 22. In the island of Myconos in the Archipelago an excellent wine is still grown.

24 From Mount Mesogis, which divides the tributaries of the Cayster from those of the Meander. It is generally considered the same as the Tmolites.

25 Must or grape-juice boiled down to one half.

26 See B. v. c. 29.

27 "Mulsum," or honied wine, was of two kinds; honey mixed with wine, and honey mixed with must or grape-juice.

28 From its Greek name, it would seem to mean" of first quality."

29 So called from a place in Eubœa, the modern Negropont. See. B. iv. c. 20. Negropont produces good wines at the present day.

30 The locality is unknown.

31 From Leucadia, or Leucate; see B. iv. c. 2; the vine was very abundant there.

32 From Ambracia. See B. iv. c 2.

33 From the island of Peparethus. See. B. iv. c. 23, where be says that from its abundance of vines it was called ἐυοινὸς, or" Evenus."

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), COLUMNA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CRETA or CRETE
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