The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

VINUM

of poetry. " Vinum omne dulce minus odoratuni" says Pliny (H. A7", xiv. 11), and the ancients ap­pear to have been fully sensible that sweet wines could not be swallowed either with pleasure or safety, except in small quantities. The mistake has arisen from not perceiving that the expressions oli/os y\vi<vs and otvos TjSus are by no means ne­cessarily synonymous. The former signifies wine positively sweet, the latter wine agreeable to the taste from the absence of acidity, in most cases in­dicating nothing more than sound wine.

It is well known that all the most noble Italian \vines, with a very few exceptions, were derived from Latium and Campania, and for the most part grew within a short distance of the sea. " The whole of these places," says Strabo (v. p. 234), when describing this coast, " yield excellent wine ; among the most celebrated are the Caecuban, the Fundanian, the Setinian, and so also are the Fa-lernian, the Alban, and the Statinian." But the classification adopted by Pliny (xiv. 6) will prove our best guide, and this we shall follow to a. certain extent.

In the first rank, then, we must place the Se­tt num which fairly deserves the title of Imperial, since it was the chosen beverage of Augustus and most of his courtiers. It grew upon the hills of Setia, above Forum Appii, looking down upon the Pomptine marshes. (Pendula Pomptinos quae spec-tut Setia campos, Mart. xiii. 112 ; see also vi. 86, ix. 3, x. 74, xiii. 112; Juv. v. 34 ; Silius, viii. 378 ; Piin. H. N. I. c.) Before the age of Augustus the Caecubuin was the most prized of all. It grew in the poplar swamps bordering on the gulf of Amyclae, close to Fundi. (Mart. xiii. 115.) In the time of Pliny its reputation was entirely gone, partly in consequence of the carelessness of the cultivators, and partly from its proper soil, origin­ally a very limited space, having been cut up by the canal of Nero extending from Baiae to Ostia. Galen (Athen. i. p. 27, a.) represents it as gene­rous, full bodied and heady, not arriving at maturity until it had been kept for many years. (Plin. I. c.; Strabo, v. p. 231 ; Mart. xiii. 115 ; Hor. Carm. i. 20. 9, iii. 23. 2, &c.)

The second rank was occupied by the Falernum, of which the Faustianum was the most choice va­riety, having gained its character from the care and skill exercised in the cultivation of the vines; but when Pliny wrote, it was beginning to fall in public estimation, in consequence of the growers being more solicitous about quantity than quality, just as was the case with Madeira a few years ago. The Falernus ayer, concerning the precise limits of which there have been many controver­sies, commenced at the Pons Campanus, on the left hand of those journeying towards the Urbana Colonia of Sulla, the Faustianus ager at a village about six miles from Sinuessa, so that the whole district in question may be regarded as stretching from the Massic hills to the river Vulturnus. Fa-lernian became fit for drinking in ten years, and might be used when twenty years old, but when kept longer gave headachs, and proved injurious to the nervous system. Pliny distinguishes three kind, the rough (austerum}, the sweet (dulc&\ and the thin (tenue}. Galen (ap. Athen. i. p. 26, c.) two only, the rough (avcrrypos) and the sweetish (yXvicafav'). When the south wind prevailed during the season of the vintage the wine was sweetish and darker in colour (^eAai/re/joy), but if

1207

VINUM.

the grapes were gathered during weather of a dif­ferent description, it was rough and tawny or amber-coloured (itippos). The ordinary appear­ance of Falernian, which has been made a theme of considerable discussion, seems to be determined by a passage in Pliny (H. N. xxxvii. 12), in which we are informed that the finest amber was named Falerna. Others arranged the varieties differ­ently ; that which grew upon the hill tops they called Caucimim, that on the middle slopes Fans tianum, that on the plain Falernum. (Plin. /. o, and xxiii. 21 ; Athen. i. p. 26, c. ; Hor. Carm. i. 20. 10 ; Prop. iv. 6 ; Martial, ix. 95 ; Silius, vii. 15.9.)

In the third rank was the Albamim, from the Mons Albanus (Mons Juleus, Mart. xiii. 109), of various kinds, very sweet (praedulce)^ sweetish rough (Plin. xxiii. 21), and sharp ; it was invigorating (nervis utile), and in perfection after being kept for fifteen years. (Plin. IL cc.; Mart. xiii. 109 ; Hor. Sat. ii. 8. 14 ; Juv. v. 33 ; Athen. i. p. 26, d.) Here too we place the Surrentinum, from the promontory forming the southern horn of the bay of Naples, which was not drinkable until it had been kept for five-and-twenty years, for being destitute of richness (d\i-TTTfs) and very dry (»J/a$apos), it required a long time to ripen, but was strongly recommended to. convalescents, on account of its thinness and whole-someness. Galen, however, was of opinion that it agreed with those only who were accustomed to use it constantly; Tiberius was wont to say that the physicians had conspired to dignify what was only generous vinegar ; while his successor, Caligula, styled it nobilis vappa. (Plin. II. cc.; Athen. I. c.) Of equal reputation were the Massicum, from the hills which formed the boundary between Latium and Campania, although somewhat harsh, as would seem, from the precautions recommended by the epicure in Horace (Sat. ii. 4. 51 : compare Carm. i. l'. 19, i. 7. 21, iii. 21 ; Mart. xiii. Ill ; Silius, vii. 207), and the Gauranum, from the ridge above Baiae and Puteoli, produced in small quantity, but of very high quality, full bodied (euro^os) and thick (Traxus). (Athen. /. c. ; Plin. H. N. iii. 5 ; Flor. iii. 5.) In the same class are to be included the Calenum from Cales, and the Fimdanum from Fundi. Both had formerly held a higher place, " but vineyards," moralizes Pliny, " as well as states, have their periods of rise, of glory, and of fall." The Calenum was light (icovtyos), and bet-, ter for the stomach than Falernian ; the Ftmda-num was full bodied (gvtovos) and nourishing, but apt to attack both stomach and head ; therefore little sought after at banquets. (Strabo, v. p. 234 ; Athen. i. p. 27, a.; Hor. Carm. i. 31. 9 ; Juv. i. 69 ; Mart. x. 35, xiii. 113.) This list is closed by the Veliternmum, Privernatinum, and Signinum, from Velitrae, Privernum, and Signia, towns oh the Volscian hills ; the first was a sound wine, but had this peculiarity, that it always tasted as if mixed with some foreign substance ; the second was thin and pleasant ; the last was looked upon only in the light of a medicine, valuable for its astringent qualities. (Athen. i. p.27, b.; Plin. /. c.; Mart. xiii. 116.) We may safely bring in one more, the Formianum, from the gulf of Caieta (Laestnigonia Bacchus in amphora, Hor. Carm. iii. 16. 34), associated by Horace with the Caecuban, Falernian, and Calenian (Hor. Carm. i. 20, iii.

16), and compared by Galen (ap. Athen, i. p. 26

-

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

1206

1207

1208
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.