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And Theophrastus, in his essay on Drunkenness, says— “The unmixed wine which is given at a banquet, which they call the pledge-cup in honour of the Good Deity, they offer in small quantities, as if reminding the guests of its strength, [p. 1108] and of the liberality of the god, by the mere taste. And they hand it round when men are already full, in order that there may be as little as possible drunk out of it. And having paid adoration three times, they take it from the table, as if they were entreating of the gods that nothing may be done unbecomingly, and that they may not indulge in immoderate desires for this kind of drink, and that they may derive only what is honourable and useful from it.” And Philochorus, in the second book of his Atthis, says—“And a law was made at that time, that after the solid food is removed, a taste of the unmixed wine should be served round as a sort of sample of the power of the Good Deity, but that all the rest of the wine should be previously mixed; on which account the Nymphs had the name given them of Nurses of Bacchus.” And that when the pledge-cup to the Good Deity was handed round, it was customary to remove the tables, is made plain by the wicked action of Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily. For there was a table of gold placed before the statue of Aesculapius at Syracuse; and so Dionysius, standing before it, and drinking a pledge-cup to the Good Deity, ordered the table to be removed. But among the Greeks, those who sacrifice to the Sun, as Phylarchus tells us in the twelfth book of his History, make their libations of honey, as they never bring wine to the altars of the gods; saying that it is proper that the god who keeps the whole universe in order, and regulates everything, and is always going round and superintending the whole, should in no respect be connected with drunkenness.
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