I read an amazing article entitled “Vitis Vinifera and Rome: How Wine Helped Forge a Civilization.” Today, I will highlight some of the findings from this wonderful article.
The Start of Roman Civilization
The writers highlight the fact that while elite armies played a key role in establishing Roman civilization, wine also played a critical role. The Romans drank a lot of wine. So, “winemaking was an important cultural ritual and agricultural product for their expanding population.”
Some of the activities the Romans enjoyed included formal dinners, banquets, religious gatherings, gladiatorial games, medicinal uses and, believe it or not, wine-tasting competitions.
“The wine was also utilized as a gift to the gods in several Roman religious rites. Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and revelry, played a pivotal role in this context. Roman feasts and festivals often included wine since it was considered a status symbol and a sign of prosperity.”
How the Romans Learned
Etruscans, who inhabited the Tuscan region of Italy during the Bronze and Iron ages, are widely believed to have taught winemaking to the Romans and the people living in modern-day France, making their practices the foundation of both Italian and French wine.
According to SOMM DIGI, “Wine played a significant role in their religion and culture. Wine was thought to have mystical powers. For example, the Etruscans believed wine could bring the dead back to life, so it was often used in funerary rituals. Wine was also considered a source of strength and power, so warriors often consumed it before the battle.”
The Making of the Roman Civilization
The Romans’ wine exports grew into a booming business, and the city’s wine was soon enjoyed throughout the Empire. Their extensive road system allowed the Romans to sell and transport wine throughout their large Empire. This aided in the dissemination of wine knowledge and led to Rome being an important wine trading hub.
The Roman economy relied heavily on the wine trade, and the people who worked in the wine industry were among the most prosperous and powerful citizens.