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Our ancestors set the highest value upon the wines of Surrentum;1 but at a later period the preference was given to the Alban, or the Falernian wines. More recently, again, other varieties of wine have come into fashion, quite in accordance with that most unreasonable mode of proceeding, according to which, each person, as he finds a wine most to his taste, extols it as superior to all others. Suppose, now, that all persons were quite agreed as to the superiority of some particular kind of wine, how small a proportion of mankind would be enabled to make use of it! As it is, even the rich never drink it in an unsophisticated state; the morals of the age being such, that it is the name only of a vintage that is sold, the wines being adulterated the very moment they enter the vat. Hence it is, by Hercules!—a thing truly astounding—that, in reality, a wine is more innoxious in its effects, in pro- portion as it enjoys a less extended renown. The three kinds, however, of which we have made mention, appear to have maintained, with the least diminution, their ancient repute.

The Falernian wine, it a person should be desirous to know the marked characteristics of wines according to age, is injurious to the health, either too new or too old; at fifteen years it begins to be of medium age. Falernian wine of this age, taken cold, is good for the stomach, but not when taken warm. For an inveterate cough and for quartan fevers, it is a good plan to drink it neat, fisting. There is no wine that quickens the action of the venous system so much as this; it acts astringently upon the bowels, and is feeding to the body. It has been thought, however, that this wine is productive of injury to the sight, and that it is far from beneficial to the nerves2 and the bladder.

The Alban wines are more salutary to the nervous system, but the sweet kinds are not so beneficial to the stomach. The rough wines of Alba are even better than those of Falernum, but they do not promote the digestion so well, and have a slight tendency to overload the stomach.

As to the Surrentine wines, they have no such effect upon the stomach, nor are they at all trying to the head; they have the property also of arresting defluxions of the stomach and intestines. The Cæcuban wines are no longer grown.

1 All these wines are described in B. xiv.

2 "Nervis." As to the meaning of this word, see B. xi. c. 88.

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