Wine Quotes From Ancient Greece With References
Wine Quotes are many, but few are correct
Searching online about old wine quotes can bring many results.
However the majority of these quotes are wrong attributions (great examples are the various quotes attributed to poor Einstein about any subject for example).
We decided to search and find the correct wine quotes, coming from ancient Greek wise men and show what they thought about wine in ancient Greece.
Certainly it was a great deal of work looking up the enormous ancient Greek bibliography.
Of course studying the ancient books can not end in a blog article - if done correctly it is a lifetime task.
Here are the ones we liked most, so far:
Drunkenness is always improper, except at the festivals - Plato
According to this wine quote, Plato thinks that there are circumstances where you can drink as much as you like!
The quote can be found in Book 6 of Plato’s Laws.
It is a dialogue (the last and longest by Plato) between an Atheninan “stranger” (some think he resembles Socrates), the ordinary Spartan Megillos and the Cretan politician and lawgiver Clinias from Knossos
Wine gives a man fresh strength when he is wearied. - Homer
Homer (c. 750BC), the legendary poet that wrote the Odyssey and Iliad does not need an introduction. You can see that writing about wine in ancient Greece dates back to 8th BC.
Find his old wine quote in rhapsody 6 of Iliad.
Wine: Beneficial beverage, Tasty medicine and Pleasant food. - Plutarch (our favourite wine quote)
Plutarch (Πλούταρχος, Ploútarchos, AD 46 - ~ AD 119) was a Greek philosopher, historian and priest in the temple of Apollo in Delphi.
This quotes comes from "De tuenda sanitate" (Advice about keeping well) the 11th of 78 essays and speeches of the Moralia collection.
"For wine is the most beneficial of beverages, the pleasantest of medicines, and the least cloying of appetizing things, provided that there is a happy combination of it with the occasion as well as with water."
We liked this quote so much, that we made a T-shirt.
Wine, window into a man - Alcaeus of Mytilene
Alcaeus of Mytilene (c. 625/620 – c. 580 BC) was a Greek lyric poet from Lesbos Island.
In short, Alcaeus was a contemporary of the famous Sappho and some scholars believe they exchanged poems and ideas.
As an aristocrat involved in Politics, he had much experience in fine wine tasting events of the time (orgies).
His work exists only in fragmentary form today.
The wine quote “In vino veritas” can be traced back to Alcaeus as a paraphrasing of “Wine, window into a man”.
This quote is bibliographically bookmarked as fragment 333 (fr. 333).
Wine makes most drinkers think. - Plato
From Plato's "Cratylus".
Here Plato makes a wordplay with the Greek words Dionysus, Oinos (wine), Nous (brain) about wine in ancient Greece and a wine quote is born.
"…for the gods also have a sense of humor. Dionysus, the giver (διδούς) of wine (οἶνος), might be called in jest Didoinysus, and wine, because it makes most drinkers think (οἴεσθαι) they have wit (νοῦς) when they have not, might very justly be called Oeonus (οἰόνους)...."
Wine “moistens the soul”. - Socrates
This quote comes from Xenophon's "Symposium". (section 25).
Xenophon describes a dialogue with Socrates involved:
"...Here Socrates again interposed. “Well, gentlemen,” said he, “so far as drinking is concerned, you have my hearty approval; for wine does of a truth ‘moisten the soul’ and lull our griefs to sleep just as the mandragora does with men, at the same time awakening kindly feelings as oil quickens a flame..."
Drinking strong wine cures hunger. - Hippocrates
You can find this wine quote in Part 21 from Hippocrates "Aphorisms", (Section II).
A same, more conservative approach towards wine drinking by Hippocrates can be found in Part 33 of Hippocrates "De alimento":
“For some wine is nutriment, for others not.”
There are many more Greek wine quotes
To sum up, Greek literature and philosophy provide much insights about wine drinking in ancient Greece.
To clarify, it is important to remember that the above wine quotes are excerpts from major works of great philosophers and thinkers, one must study the ancient texts as a whole to get the right conclusions.
We think that the references about the origins of the above mentioned wine quotes are the best start for further studying.
Assyrtiko wine from Santorini is used in this soap.