In yesterday’s blog post we told you about the recent discovery of one of the oldest and largest wine cellars in the world belonging to Canaanites living in north Israel around 1700 BCE. So today we’ve decided to share an ancient wine recipe that you can make to keep in your own wine cellar.
Spiced wine dates back to ancient Egypt, circa 3150 BCE, when it was made mainly for medicinal purposes and as a necessary menu item in the afterlife. The recipe often included pine resin, figs, and herbs like balm, coriander, mint and sage. Several jars of up to five different types of wine were placed in the tombs of pharaohs and other royals.
Wine in Rome was stored in amphorae like the ones in this image.
The Romans learned wine-making from the Greeks who saw the drink as a staple of daily life. Romans took what they had learned from the Greeks and set about producing their own wine. They researched wine production to improve upon every stage of the process and some say they eventually perfected it. The Roman people were not content to produce only one type of wine and so they used various techniques to create multiple kinds. Spicing the wine, just as the Egyptians and Greeks had done, provided unique varieties. Eventually, nine different types of Roman wine emerged:
- FALERNUM: The most famous Roman wine. It was a white wine that was better aged than previous versions.
- CALENUM: Similar to Falernum, this was a light tasting wine.
- ALBANUM: There were two types: dry and sweet. Both needed 15 years to mature.
- MASSILITANUM: A smoky, cheap wine that was reputedly healthy but not very tasty.
- MOMENTANUM: This variety needed at least five years to be drinkable.
- MULSUM: Honey was the key ingredient, added either during or after fermentation.
- PASSUM: Raisons flavored this wine.
- CONDITUM: Following an ancient Greek custom, this wine was infused with pepper, honey and seawater.
- LORA: Lora was made from the leftovers of grape production, and was designated for slaves.
The following recipe is technically a Mulsum Roman wine, but includes the pepper used in Conditum. Serve this at your next holiday gathering and you can party like the ancient Romans!
Imperial Roman Honey-Spiced Wine
*Adapted from this recipe: http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/roman-empire-honey-spiced-wine-del1110
- 1 bottle (750-milliliter) white wine
- 1 cup honey or agave
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed mastic*
- 1 pinch saffron
- 2 dates, with pits if possible
- Place all but ½ cup wine in a saucepan and add the honey. Stir and heat just enough to dissolve the honey. Add the pepper, mastic, bay leaf, and saffron. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the pits from the dates if un-pitted. Place the date pits in a small sauté pan and gently toast them over a low flame until lightly colored. Add to the wine mixture. (This step can be omitted if the dates are pitted.)
- Soften the date flesh in the remaining ½ cup of white wine. Puree in a blender or by pounding in a mortar. Add to the wine mixture. Stir to combine and let infuse for several hours or, ideally, overnight. Strain and serve at room temperature or chilled.
*Mastic is resin obtained from incising the bark of the “mastic tree”, a plant growing only on certain Greek Islands and in Turkey. You can purchase mastic online from Greek Shops or Mastiha Shop.
Posted in Blog, Bon Appetit Wednesday, Culinary, Culture
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, conditum, culinary, Egypt, Greek, honey, mulsum, Roman wine, Spiced wine
It’s the holiday season, which means the wine is flowing as people around the world gather to celebrate. Whether it’s a small family dinner or the observance of an age-old religious tradition, wine has long been a staple of the holidays. Today, some people spend thousands of dollars to build elaborate wine cellars so their libations will always be at hand, but did you know that rooms dedicated to the storage of this fermented drink go back thousands of years? In fact, archaeologists digging at the ruins of a 1700 BCE Canaanite palace in northern Israel have found what may be one of civilization’s oldest and largest wine cellars. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culinary, Culture
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Canaan, Egypt, Israel, Retsina, Tel Kabri, wine, wine cellar
This modern dish is a delightful savory and sweet combination that uses two popular ingredients: leeks and apples. It can be served as a side dish to any entrée.
The leek and apple have nourished people for thousands of years. Both have been cultivated across the world and enriched our mythology and literature with symbolism.
The leek is considered native to Asia Minor or the Mediterranean. It has been used in cooking for more than 3,000 years. Here are some interesting facts:
- In the Bible, the verse “Remember how in Egypt we had fish tor the asking, cucumbers, and watermelons, leeks and onions and garlic” is the cry uttered by the Israelites searching for the Promised Land. Later leeks were served on Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrew word for leek similar to “cut off,” expressing the desire to “cut off” enemies.
- Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) reportedly ate leeks to improve his singing voice.
- Agatha Christie supposedly named one of her most famous characters, the French detective, Poirot, after the leek (Fr., poireau).
The apple tree was providing fruit thousands of years ago in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan. Remnants of apples have been found in Stone Age dwellings in what is now Switzerland and were cultivated by the Greeks as far back as 300 BCE. Apples have been heralded throughout history, including in the story of Adam and Eve, as symbols of love and beauty to the Greeks and Romans, and in the story of William Tell, the Swiss hero who with an arrow split an apple perched on his son’s head, thus saving both their lives after their Austrian overseer punished them for disobedience. Some other facts about apples:
- 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world.
- The world’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy.
- The Lady or Api apple is one of the oldest varieties in existence.
So savor the interplay of flavors in this Roasted Leeks and Apples dish and consider the history at your table this season.
Roasted Leeks and Apple
Adapted from http://www.helleniccomserve.com/recipe.html
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 3 large leeks, white & tender green parts
- 1 crisp apple (such as Granny Smith or Fiji) cored & sliced
- Salt and freshly milled pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Whisk together the oil, wine, marjoram, and anise seeds in a medium baking pan until combined. Quarter the leeks and slice into 2-inch pieces.
Add the leeks and apple to the dressing, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring gently about every 10 minutes, until the leeks are golden and the apple is soft.
1. Numbers 11:5
2. Ref to: http://www.british-leeks.co.uk/history.html – British Leeks: History
3. http://jed.cecc.com.au/programs/resource_manager/ accounts//chrlc/MurderofRogerAckroyd.doc
Posted in Blog, Bon Appetit Wednesday, Culinary, Culture, Holidays, Public Life, Religion
Tagged Agatha Christie, ancient history, AntiquityNOW, apples, Bon Appetit Wednesday, leeks, Nero, recipe, Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving
Tonight’s sundown marks the start of one of the most confusing holidays to spell – Hanukkah! Or Chanukah. Or Chanukkah. But that’s not all. For the first time since 1888, and not to be repeated for 79,043 years, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday each November in the United States, occur on the same day. Some verbal wits on social media have dubbed this very rare occurrence as …drum roll…”Hanu-giving.” Others are calling it “Thanksgivukkah.” Whatever the favorite, at least it has 79,043 years to catch on. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culinary, Culture, Holidays, Public Life, Religion
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Hanukkah, holidays, Judaism, latkes, Maccabees, Seleucids, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah
The “Minoa” plate in black on white.
AntiquityNOW is pleased to announce the launch of our new store, The Bazaar, featuring original designs by our Artist-in-Residence Dan Fenelon.
Fenelon draws his inspiration from ancient art, iconography and symbols, infusing his pieces with an inventive recasting of familiar and unfamiliar images. Tribal and primitive imagery strike a contrapuntal note to his modern interpretations. Whether an aficionado of ancient designs or a confirmed modernist, individuals will find that Fenelon’s perspective has a beguiling appeal. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Culture
Tagged AntiquitNOW, cartoon, Dan Fenelon, dinnerware, original art, The Bazaar, tribal, Urban Antiquity, wavedog, Zazzle
The holiday season is upon us and sweets are everywhere. Whether it’s cookies, cupcakes or candy, everyone enjoys indulging his or her sweet tooth. This season, celebrate the past and stand out from the crowd with a delicious ancient recipe.
Baklava is a popular dish originally made in the former Ottoman Empire that can also be found in Central and Southwest Asia. While you may have enjoyed a slice of this sweet, rich pastry in a local Greek or Turkish restaurant, you probably haven’t tasted baklava made the ancient Greek way. This recipe is a version of baklava called gastrin, or γάστριν in Greek. It contains the mix of ingredients that distinguishes its layered flavor. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Bon Appetit Wednesday, Culinary, Culture, Holidays, Public Life, Religion
Tagged ancient history, ancient recipes, AntiquityNOW, baklava, Bon Appetit Wednesday, Gastrin, Greek, Ottoman Empire, petimezi
In the modern age, terrorism dominates the news headlines more frequently than we would like, and yet the term and its use are often relatively employed and dependent upon the parties involved. This is, in part, due to the fact that the term terrorism is politically and emotionally charged, “a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one’s enemies and opponents.” For this article, terrorism will be defined as the “political violence in an asymmetrical conflict that is designed to induce terror and psychic fear (sometimes indiscriminate) through the violent victimisation and destruction of non-combatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols).” Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culture, Human Rights, Politics, Public Life, Religion, War and Violence
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Great Fire of Rome, Hashashin, Iceni, Jewish-Roman Wars, Nero, Queen Boudica, Sicarii, terrorism
*This post was originally published on October 1, 2013. Don’t miss a new article about ancient warfare coming next Tuesday, November 19th. The new post will focus on terrorism throughout antiquity.
Soldiers drill in their gas masks during WWI.
Chemical warfare has been a hot topic recently due to the ongoing crisis in Syria. This is just the latest of numerous modern-day examples when nations have implemented chemical weapons to further their own agendas. The most memorable examples are World War I, World War II and the Iran-Iraq War. Unfortunately, the use of chemical weapons dates back a lot earlier than the beginning of the 20th century–namely 10,000 BCE. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culture, Human Rights, Science and Technology, War and Violence
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, chemical warfare, gas, Greeks, poison, San, Syria, toxikon