Rome, classical ' Vita vinum est ' ('Wine is life'), exclaimed Trimalchio to his dinner guests (Petronius, Satyricon 34). Wine was deeply embedded in Roman culture at all levels; it was as much a staple for the poor as for the wealthy. So the evidence is particularly rich, detailed, and varied-as rich, indeed, as for any aspect of ancient society. There are the casual, but often illuminating, references in the poets, in letters, and even in the graffiti scatched on inn walls. All the agricultural treatises , one of the largest bodies of technical literature to survive from antiquity, devote great space to detailed...
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