Wine, Arts and Letters


Apart from the material culture it contributed to in its role as agricultural product, merchandise, beverage, food, medicament, and everyday pleasure, wine was destined to become the driving force behind Greece’s intellectual life as well. Wine in Greece was deified and worshipped: it was turned into myth, legend, lore, history, art, science and culture, giving substance to the ideal triptych of Wine, Arts and Letters. Ancient poets such as Homer and Hesiod; writers such as Herodotus and Xenophon; philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; playwrights of tragedy and comedy, thinkers and intellectuals, doctors and artists, the entire intellectual domain of Greece touted and hailed and cited wine, all the while advocating the concept of measure, known today as the concept of wine in moderation.

Wine, Arts and Letters were in the core of Greek classical culture, with wine being the decisive influence on the other two. Greek philosophy, world-famous today, took shape and form through the discussions of men of intellect at the ancient Greek symposia. The theater, comedy and tragedy alike, rose out of the Dionysian celebrations. Fields of the Arts and Letters such as literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, ceramics, pottery craftsmanship and metallurgy drew inspiration from wine, bequeathing on humankind unsurpassed masterpieces.