This Mycenaean Krater is a ceramic vase used for watering down wine dated to the 13th-century BCE. It is an example of Late Helladic ceremonial ware used as a mixing bowl for the dilution of wine with water, a custom which the ancient Greeks believed to be a sign of civilised behaviour. This Mycenaean Krater is decorated with representational floral motifs.
Drinking undiluted wine was considered inappropriate in ancient Greece, and drinkers of undiluted wine characterise the drinker as a drunkard and someone who lacked restraint and character. Ancient writers prescribed that a mixing ratio of 1:3 wine to water was ideal for a long conversation. A ratio of 1:2 was used for more for entertaining celebrations. A ratio of 1:1 was only suited for occasions of uninhibited behaviour and to be indulged in rarely. This practice of the ancient Greeks indicates that ancient wines were produced to a high alcoholic degree by using dehydrated grapes. Such wines would have been able to better withstand ageing and the vagaries of transportation than modern wines which have a lower alcoholic percentage.
Mycenaean Greece was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Greece, spanning the period from about 1600–1100 BC. It represented the first advanced civilisation in mainland Greece, with its palatial states. Mycenaean Greece perished with the collapse of Bronze Age culture in the eastern Mediterranean, to be followed by the Greek Dark Ages, a transitional period leading to Archaic Greece. The Mycenaean period became the historical setting of much ancient Greek literature and mythology, including the Trojan Epic Cycle.
- How accurate were Mycenaean Greeks in their Wine Dilution?
- Was Wine Dilution a matter of taste or focused on the alcoholic moderation?
- Title: Mycenaean Krater
- Date: 13th century BC
- Culture: Mycenaean
- Period: Late Helladic II B period
- Geography: Greece
- Museum: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens
“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”
– Greek Proverb
Photo Credit: 1) JOM