The Ancient Library

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On this page: Wine-God – Wisdom, Goddess of – Wonders of the World – Writing Materials



haurtre ; Cicero, Brutus 228]. The better kinds, which were meant for preservation, were poured into amphdra?. These were closed with stone stoppers, sealed with pitch, clay, or gypsum, marked with a brand, fur­nished with a label giving their year and measure (tessera or n6ta), and placed in the apdthgcd. This was a room in the upper story, built by preference over the bath-room in order to catch the smoke from the furnace, and thus to make the wine more mellow.

One method of improving the wine which was used in the East and in Greece was to keep the wine in goat-skins, because the leather tended to cause evaporation of the water. In Italy the wine-skins appear to have been only used in transport. To pro­duce flavour, strength, and bouquet, various means were employed, such as adding gyp­sum, clay, chalk, marble, resin, pitch, and even sea water, the last being especially in use in Greece and Asia Minor. Bad wines were improved by being mixed with fine brands and good lees; adulteration was extremely common. The number of arti­ficial wines was very large; e.g. honey wine, raisin wine, and boiled must (the beverage of the common people and slaves), a poor drink prepared by pouring water on the remains of the pressed grapes.

The place of our liqueurs was taken by flavoured wines, of which more than fifty kinds are mentioned. These were simply extracted from herbs, flowers, or sweet smell­ing woods (thyme, myrtle, sweet rush, rose, hearts-ease, pine-cones and pine-wood, cypress, etc.), or mixed with oils, such as nard or myrrh. There were also wines made from fruits such as apples, pomegranates, pears, dates, figs, or mulberries. In respect of colour three sorts of wine were dis­tinguished : the black or dark red (color sanguineus and nlger) which was con­sidered the strongest; the white (albus], which was thought thin and weak; and the brown or amber-coloured (fulvus), which was considered particularly serviceable for promoting digestion. As in its ordinary treatment the wine often retained much sediment, it had to be made clear before it was drunk. This was done either with yolk of eggs or by straining the wine through a cloth or sieve, which was filled with snow to make it cool. Greeks and Romans alike generally drank their wine mixed with water. (Cp. meals.)

Wine-god. See dionysus (Liber).

Wisdom, Goddess of. See athene and minerva.

Wonders of the World. Seven ancient buildings or works of art, distinguished either for size or splendour: viz. (1) the Egyptian pyramids; (2) the hanging gar­dens of Semlramis at Babylon; (3) the temple of Artemis, at Ephesus; (4) the statue of Zeus (q.v.) by Phidias, at Olympia;

(5) the Mausoleum (q.v.) at Halicarnassus:

(6) the Colossus of Rhodes (see chares, 2) j and (7) the lighthouse on the island of PharSs, off Alexandria in Egypt.

Writing Materials. From an early date the Greeks employed in the production of books a paper prepared from the Egyptian papyrus plant. This was probably manu­factured as follows: as many strips as possible of equal size were cut out of the cellular tissue of the stalk; these were laid side by side, and crossed by a second layer. The layers were firmly fastened together by being damped with size and pressed. The breadth of the scroll de-! pended on the height of the stalk, while its length could be extended at pleasure. After the time of Augustus, the preparation of the papyrus by a process of bleaching was brought to such perfection that the best Egyptian kind took only the third place. Under the Empire eight different kinds were distinguished, the two best of which were called the charta Augusta (only used for letters), and the charta Lima ; these were 10J inches broad. The worst kind was only used for packing. As a rule the papyrus-rolls of moderate length were written only on one side, and the writing was divided into columns. [Pliny, N. H. xiii 68-83], For the binding of the papyrus-rolls, see books.

The use of skins for the purposes of writ­ing was at least as old as that of papyrus. The finer method of preparing them was, however, first discovered during the first half of the 2nd century B.C. at Pergamum, whence the name charta Pergdmena, " parchment." But as late as the 1st century A.D. papyrus was more generally employed, probably on account of its greater cheapness; and it was not till the 4th century that parchment came into more general use, as being more durable, and admitting of being written upon on both sides.

The pen was a split reed (calamus], the best being supplied by Egypt and Cnldua in Caria.

The ink {Mramentum) employed was a preparation resembling Indian ink, made of soot and gum, or of the juice of the

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