Now of wines some are white, some yellow, and some red. The white is the thinnest in its nature, diuretic, and warm; and being a promoter of digestion it causes a heat in the head; for it is a wine which has a tendency to move upwards. But of red wine that which is not sweet is very nutritious, and is astringent; but that which is sweet (as is the case with even white and yellow wine also) is the most nutrition of all: for it softens all the ducts and passages, and thickens the fluid parts of the body, and does not at all confuse the head. For in reality the nature of sweet wine lingers about the ribs, and engenders spittle, as Diodes and Praxagoras asset. But Mnesitheus the Athenian says, “Red wine is the mot nutritious; but white is the most diuretic and the thinnest; and the [p. 54] yellow is a dry wine, and that which most assists in the digestion of the food.” Now the wines which have been very carefully prepared with sea-water never cause headaches; and they open the bowels, and sometimes gripe the stomach, and produce flatulency, and assist in the digestion of food. Of this character is the Myndian wine, and that of Halicarnassus. And so Menippus the Cynic calls Myndus “brine-drinking.” The Coan wine too has a good deal of sea-water in it. The Rhodian has not so much sea-water; but a great deal of that wine is good for nothing. Wine made in the islands is very good to drink, and not at all ill-calculated for daily use. But Cnidian wine makes blood, is nutritious, and keeps the bowels in a healthy state; though if it is drunk in great quantities it relaxes the stomach. The Lesbian wine is less astringent, and more diuretic. But the Chian is a nicer wine; and of all the Chian wine, that called the Aryusian is the best. And of this there are three varieties: for there is a dry kind, and a sweet kind; and that the flavour of which is between the two is called autocratic, that is, self-mixed. Now the dry kind is pleasant to the taste, nutritious, and more diuretic than the others; but the sweet kind is nutritious, filling, and apt to soften the bowels. The autocratic wine in its effects also is something between the two. But, generally speaking, the Chian wine is digestible, nutritious, a producer of good blood, mild, and filling, inasmuch as it has a great deal of body. But the nicest of all wines are the Alban and Falernian wines of Italy; but these, if they have been kept a length of time and are old, acquire a medicinal effect, and rapidly produce a sensation of heaviness. But the wine called Adrian relieves any oppression of the breath, is very digestible, and wholly free from all unpleasant consequences; but these wines require to be made with rapidity, and then to be set in an open place, so as to allow the thicker portions of their body to evaporate. But the best wine to keep a length of time is the Corcyrean. The Zacynthian and Leucadian wines also are apt to be bad for the head, because they contain chalk. There is a wine from Cilicia, called Abates, which has no effect except that of relaxing the bowels. But hard water, such as that from springs, or from rain if it is filtered, and has stood some time, agrees very well with Coan and Myndian and Halicarnassian wine, [p. 55] and indeed with every wine which has plenty of salt-water in it. And accordingly these wines are of the greatest use at Athens and Sicyon, because the waters in these cities are harsh. But for those wines which have no sea-water, and which are of a more astringent nature, especially for the Chian and Lesbian wine, the purest water is the most suitable.
Oh thou my tongue, whom silence long hath bound,These are the words of Sophocles.
How wilt thou bear this tale of thine t' unfold?
Hard is their fate to whom compulsion stern
Leaves no alternative; which now compels thee
To open what thy lord would fain conceal.