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Cerevisia

p263 Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p263 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

CEREVI′SIA, CERVI′SIA (ζύθος), ale or beer, was almost or altogether unknown to the ancient, as it is to the modern inhabitants of Greece and Italy. But it was used very generally by the surrounding nations, whose soil and climate were less favourable to the growth of vines (in Gallia, aliisque provinciis, Plin. H. N. XXII.82; Theophrast. De Causis Plant. VI.11; Diod. Sic. IV.2, V.26; Strab. XVII.2.5; Tacit. Germ. 23). According to Herodotus (II.77), the Egyptians commonly drank "barley-wine," to which custom Aeschylus alludes (ἐκ κριυῶν μέθυ, Suppl. 954; Pelusiaci pocula zythi, Colum. X.116). Diodorus Siculus (I.2034) says, that the Egyptian beer was nearly equal to wine in strength and flavour. The Iberians, the Thracians, and the people in the north of Asia Minor, instead of drinking their ale or beer out of cups, placed it before them in a large bowl or vase (κρατῆρ), which was sometimes of gold or silver. This being full to the brim with the grains, as well as the fermented liquor, the guests, when they pledged one another, drank together out of the same bowl by stooping down to it, although, when this token of friendship was not intended, they adopted the more refined method of sucking up the fluid through tubes of cane (Archil. Frag. p67, ed. Liebel; Xen. Anab. IV § 5, 26; Athen. I.28; Virg. Georg. III.380; Serv. ad loc.) The Suevi, and other northern nations, offered to their gods libations of beer, and expected that to drink it in the presence of Odin would be among the delights of Valhalla (Keysler, Antiq. Septent. p150‑156). Βρῦτον, one of the names for beer (Archil. l.c.; Hellanicus, p91, ed. Sturtz; Athen. X.67), seems to be an ancient passive participle, from the verb to brew.


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