Wine: the Drink of Greek Civilization

Everybody knows the comfort of gathering around a warm hearth. It is not simply the physical warmth that is of note; it is the closeness felt towards those who surround you. Discussion thrives, connections form, and a community emerges. There is an intimacy that grows amongst those who gather.
This is a timeless picture, one that can be found throughout human history. For Greek and Roman societies, the equivalent was the shared bowl. The production of wine expanded to Greece around 2500 BCE and its consumption became widespread quickly; Greek civilization thrived on this new beverage. Wine soon became synonymous with sophistication, refinement, and intellect. The sharing of wine amongst philosophers, writers, and politicians enlivened Mediterranean civilization. These gatherings – called symposion – fed the pursuit and growth of intellectual thought of the time. Great thinkers such as Plato and Socrates credited wine in their pursuits of great ideas. To share in the drinking of wine brought thinkers together and opened their minds, thus expanding their horizons. Through these experiences, discussion of politics, literature, and philosophy thrived on the wine-soaked environment of the symposion.
Wine drinking certainly fed the expansion of Mediterranean civilizations. It allowed ideas to emerge and take hold, ideas that came to define these civilizations. With our modern outlook, we can view the gathering of many equals around a shared bowl of wine as a democratic assembly. Though Greek democracy does not quite line up with what we view as democracy today, the Greek civilization is possibly most famous for its political ideas. Despite its flaws, there is certainly a debt that modern democracy owes to its Greek ancestor. The continuing thread of these political ideals run through the practice of the shared bowl in Greek civilization.
Not only did the symposion foster the political and intellectual expansion of Greek civilization, but also the elaboration of...