sexta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2011

For the ancient Greeks, the discovery of wine by men was the gift of Dionysos, the god of wine, the avatar who burst out of Thrace — or perhaps Phrygia — and brought the knowledge of wine to Attica. He disclosed the secret to a peasant called Icarios and his daughter Erigone, with whom he had lodged as a guest: the gift was his return for their hospitality. However, he commanded Icarios that, once he had successfully made wine, he was to teach the skill to others; the outcome was disastrous. Icarios shared his wine with a group of shepherds, who drank a very great deal and, unaccustomed to the effect it had on them, feared that Icarios had poisoned them. They grabbed their clubs and beat him to death. When his daughter returned, she looked for him in vain, and it was only when his faithful dog Moera led her to where her father had been buried that she realized what had happened. In despair, she hanged herself. But Dionysos rewarded them: Icarios became the star Boötes, his daughter was transformed into the constellation Virgo, and Moera became Canis or Sirius, the Dog Star. (Boötes has another title, “the grape gatherer,” because it rises in the autumn at the time of the vintage.) In truth, the vine was widely cultivated by the early Bronze Age — both Homer and Hesiod make it clear that wine was an essential part of life — and clay tablets dating from the late Bronze Age (about 1200 BC) connect Dionysos with wine, providing early evidence for his cult.

Is This Bottle Corked?
Kathleen Burk & Michael Bywater, Harmony Books, 2008