The Gift of Dionysus to the Ancient Greeks
The ancient Greeks believed that wine was the gift of the god Dionysus to humans.
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Son of Zeus and Semelis, Dionysus is presented in Greek mythology as an eternal teenager who suffers, dies, and is resurrected. He was the god who symbolized the life of the vineyard and the adventure of nature. His orgiastic worship influenced Greek culture and was associated with one of the most perfect forms of Greek speech, drama. In honor of Dionysus, the ancients organized majestic festivals to honor everything it represented, but also the importance of wine as a commercial good.
In ancient times there were many types of wine: white, yellow, red, and black. The ancient Greeks drank wine every day, but in most cases, they diluted it with water, as the “unrestrained wine” (undiluted wine) was not suitable for daily use. After all, mixing wine with water was a sign of civilization, since most people believed that only barbarians drank wine “unrestrained”, that is, unquenchable.
The ancients also often added various aromas to their wines, such as thyme, mint, anise, rosemary, myrtle, and even honey, but never resin. The wine was a panacea. It was used as an antiseptic, antipyretic, painkiller, diuretic, tonic, and digestive. And although the ancient Greeks highly valued wine and drank it daily, they understood the negative effects of excessive drinking. In the ancient literature, there are many references to the headache after drunkenness, while even cases of death are reported.
No society is perfect, and one mistake the ancient Greeks made was that they did not allow women to drink wine except for therapeutic or medical reasons. Our ancient ancestors believed that wine made women more fertile, but it could also cause miscarriage.