But Phalæcus, in his Epigrams, makes mention of a woman, whose name was Cleo, as having been a very hard drinker— [p. 696]
Cleo bestow'd this splendid gift on Bacchus,And it is a well-known fact that all the race of women is fond of drinking. And it was not without some wit that Xenarchus introduces, in his Pentathlum, a woman swearing this most horrible oath:—
The tunic, fringed with gold and saffron hues,
Which long she wore herself; so great she was
At feasts and revelry: there was no man
Who could at all contend with her in drinking.
May it be granted me to pass from lifeBut among the Romans, as Polybius says, in his sixth book, it was forbidden to women to drink wine at all. However, they drink what is called Passum; and that is made of raisins, and when drank is very like the sweet Aegosthenite and Cretan wine, on which account men use it when oppressed by excessive thirst. And it is impossible for a woman to drink wine without being detected: for, first of all, she has not the key of the cellar; and, in the next place, she is bound to kiss her relations, and those of her husband, down to cousins, and to do this every day when she first sees them; and besides this, she is forced to be on her best behaviour, as it is quite uncertain whom she may chance to meet; for if she has merely tasted wine, it needs no informer, but is sure to betray itself." And Alcimus the Sicilian, in that book of his which is entitled the Italian History, says that all the women in Italy avoid drinking wine on this account: “When Hercules was in the district of the Crotoniatæ, he one day was very thirsty, and came to a certain house by the wayside and asked for something to drink; and it happened that the wife of the master of the house had privily opened a cask of wine, and therefore she said to her husband that it would be a shameful thing for him to open this cask for a stranger; and so she bade him give Hercules some water. But Hercules, who was standing at the door, and heard all this, praised her husband very much, but advised him to go indoors himself and look at the cask. And when he had gone in, he found that the cask had become petrified. And this fact is proved by the conduct of the women of the country, among whom it is reckoned disgraceful, to this day, to drink wine, on account of the above-mentioned reason.” [p. 697]
Drinking abundant draughts of wine, while you,
My darling daughter, live and prosper here.