Trade of Wine in Egypt, Rome, and Ancient Greece

The History of Wine Trade: Rome, Ancient Greece, and Egypt

Since Jesus Christ turned water into wine in a location that was closely linked to Egypt, Rome, and Ancient Greece, the history of wine trade can be traced back to 1348. Wine is the fermented liquor made from grapes that can be produced in a variety of ways, including snowy, still, sparkling, syrupy, and red, and used as a beverage, in religious ceremonies, or for catering. (Habets 9). Notably, the alcohol level of the drink is 14% or less. Traditionally, in the three societies in question, wine was commonly used in religious rites because the communities had strong religious beliefs among them being the Catholic Faith. This piece of work will give a critique on the trade of wine in Rome, Ancient Greece, and Egypt. Also, an assessment of the differences and similarities of the wine trade in above three nations will be done.

Wine Trade in Ancient Greece

For over four thousand years, wine has been an essential Greek culture as evident of several archeological discoveries. The Greeks were conversant with the nourishing worth of wine as it was an intimate measure of living. The wine performed a significant part as it boosted their local economy by selling the commodity to other communities. In the Ancient Greece, the wine culture was personified in the god Dionysus who was one of the worshiped gods who inspired philosophers, artists, and the dolly lives (Fox 65). There were festivals held to honor the god Dionysus which normally incorporated wines known as "the festivals of flowers" or anthestiria which were popular and got the names from the Ancient aromatic flower Greek wines. The celebrations took place in February as this was the time the wine skins were ready and fermented. There was another event known as Dyanyssia which took place in Athens during the month of March followed by the Babylonian tradition of welcoming the New Year. The Dyanyssia was celebrated at a remarkable place below the Parthenon as a covenant to the strong influence of this god. The Greeks organized logical gatherings known as symposia and prearranged philosophical issues as they drank wine (Standage and Runnette n.a). The proceedings were in moderation, and the Greeks utilized the important effects of wine to help in the achievement of greater logical, spiritual and transparency awareness.

The wine was diluted with water in a jug known as Kratiras where Krais in Greek means a mixture of water and wine. The initial wine in Greece was prepared in the Island of Crete, throughout the 3rd century BC. This was followed by many perceptions into the beliefs which were revealed in Minoan village Myrtos earthen wine dishes were exposed in these earliest eras. Tombs dated 3000-2000 BC were discovered in Crete which portrayed as remains of wine presence (Fox 65). There were more amazing discoveries which included several fresh-looking containers in the house of King Minos located in Knossos. The vanishing of traces of the Minoan progress circa 1600 BC is thought to be connected with the enormous volcanic blast in Aegean highland of Santorini. Greece traded their wine through the sea where they transported jars sealed with amphorae. The wine jars were tall with a sharp pointed base which allowed easy storage in the ship and also enhanced the stability of the ship by providing a suitable arrangement of many jars to be transported.

Each city had different wine jar which made Ancient Greece the largest wine trading center. The shipwrecks are evidence of sea transport of wine in Ancient Greece. The most famous ethanol wine which was traded by the Greek were arioussios oinos which were from Chios island, Moronian from Thesos, mendeous oinos from Mende, and Thesos from northern Greece (Fox 65). There were laws which governed the brands, and any violation was highly penalized to ensure originality of these wines. Greece marketed these wines with the neighboring communities and also in overseas where they collected a lot of wealth from the trade. The main medium of transported used to transport wine to the market was the ship. The wine was believed to have a spiritual effect in the way it fermented and the happiness it brought to people's lives.

Trade of Wine in Rome

The ancient Rome played a vital role in the history of wine. The Rome wine was produced from wild grapes known as Vitis vinifera which grew along the Mediterranean. The juice from these grapes readily fermented as the enzymes of wild yeast naturally collected on the wax skin would break down the sugar content of the grape into liquor and carbon dioxide gas (Townley 56). Earlier influence of the viticulture was traced in the ancient Greece and Etriascans. The coming into the rise of the Roman Empire had an impact of awareness of wine making in both Greece and Rome. There was a belief in Rome that wine was to be drunk on a daily basis which made the drink independent and universal. In Rome, wine was drunk by peasants, women, aristocrats, and slaves since it was a universal drink (Townley 56). The spread of viticulture was aimed at ensuring unwavering supply of wine to Roman soldiers and Colonists. The establishment of strong economic opportunities saw middlemen and merchants being attracted to do business with Gaul natives and Germanic natives bringing Roman influence to these regions earlier than the Roman military (Townley 59).

Grapevines were mainly cultivated in the southern by the Greek and northern by Etruscans. The Roman did not engage mostly in wine growing since they were fighting to dominate the Peninsula. By the second BC, the Etruscans were defeated giving way to Pyrrhus, and the Greeks, the Carthagonians, Philip of Macedonia, and Rome took control of the Mediterranean, where there emerged wealthy merchants and vineyard markets (Townley 57). In 146 BC, the Carthage was distracted, and the treaty was translated into Latin consequently became the Roman writing on viticulture. In 160 BC, Cato who ordered for the destruction of Carthage wrote De Agri Cultura which was the first survey of Romans viticulture (Townley 61). Cato discussed the cultivation in an Agrarian economy that was based on subsistent farming. By 154 BC, wine production in Italy was beaten, and in the same year, vine cultivation was banned beyond The Alps, and for the two centuries, BC wine exportation was to Gaul in exchange for slaves whose labor was in much demand for the cultivation of the extensive vineyard estates.

More land was taken by the villa plantations, and the enormous population was displaced which migrated to Rome, and by the first century BC, there was a population of one million people in the city. The wine was sweetened with honey and mixed then served at the beginning of the meal; this type of wine was known as mulsun. In Rome, wine was also used in public events to petition political support, and the demand for mulsun became great. Consequently, this made selling wine at home more profitable than to export it and by the first century, wine was imported from Gaul and Iberia (Townley 67). In the 77 AD, Pliny laments the increased production of cheap wine leading to the loss of quality vintages. By the 270 BC, the Roman had conquered Greeks, and their settlement was under Roman control. The Greek wine was more expensive compared to domestic Roman wine since the Greeks had a vast knowledge because they had been in the wine business earlier than their competitors Romans. In the second century, BC referred to as the golden age of Roman winemaking was the turning point of Romans since they developed some grand cry vineyards (Townley 79). It was of high quality and some of it was enjoyed over a century later. During this period wine consumption in Rome was high, which was about 180 million liters per year. The Pompeii city was one of the cities where wine was traded located south of Naples.

Trade of Wine in Egypt

Egypt is one of the nations which history of wine can be well traced because this country held Jewish people exile and Jewish were well known to produce and consume wine. Therefore, the Jewish people in some way strengthened the production and consumption of wine in Egypt. The earliest Egyptian people performed an essential role in the storing and conveyance of wine, making significant technological advances which aided in preventing the wines from going bad before the expiry date (Georg 89). Some historians and archaeologists believed that wine was introduced into Egypt through trade. Preservation of wine through exposure to oxygen was a major threat in ancient Egypt because the technology and skills of preservation were not available by then; therefore, the people only relied on traditional methods which were not effective enough. The country relied on other neighboring countries for the wine where they would import a large amount of it for local consumption.

The wine was stored and transported to and fro Egypt by use of a ceramic jar called amphora. Egyptians are known to have the skills of molding and modeling of clay vessels thus they were the chief producers of the amphora which were used in storage and transportation of wine in the Mediterranean trade zone (Maune 34). They sealed the amphorae with wet clay, reeds, and other bits of pottery so as to facilitate effective storage and transportation of wine. Other wine-producing nations made an improvement into these jars where they added more stable stoppers and largely based amphorae. This continued until the vanishing days of the Roman kingdom which made an advanced on these vessels by the production of more stable wooden barrels that assisted in the carriage and storage of wine.

The recent Kingdom time in the early Egypt history ran from 1550 BC to 1070 BC. On this time, the Egyptians were cultivating their wine around their fertile farms of the Nile River delta. They also used the water from river Nile to irrigate the wine farms which could not receive enough rainfall (Fernández and Whitlock 8). The belief that wine has a Devine origin motivated the Egyptians to cultivate more wine on their lands; further, this believes justified the consumption of more wine in Egypt since even the spiritual leaders could consume it. The belief was initiated by the Jewish people who were held hostage in Egypt. Many people wondered how the fermentation occurred and most of them concluded that the process had a spiritual influence.

When people visited the pharaohs, their compartments were full of wine among other valuable goods implying that wine was highly respected and consumed by the leaders. Wine cultivators and traders would get a lot of wealth from the sale of the wine to such respectable people in society. Such people could also be buried with wine in the tombs implying that this commodity was precious (Bajwa and Sandhu 13). The most common wine that was sold to Egypt leaders was called Tutankhamen's tomb which was very costly as compared to other types of wines. The god of wine from Greece who was called Greek god Dionysus had a colleague in the early Egypt whom they did wine trade together and made the Mediterranean trade more lively so as to welcome more customers from the region and overseas (Bajwa and Sandhu 11). The two nations Greece and early Egypt shared a conviction that wine had divine origins; however, the Egyptians did not form an adoring cult around an idol of wine.

The wine was primarily drunk by the early Egyptian labor force and craftsmen implying that wine was for the able individuals in society. The wine was believed to replace water loss via sweat and provided calories thus many people in society would struggle to get some wealth which they exchange with wine for consumption. The less able people in society were not an exception; they would look for some form of wealth which would be exchanged for wine. The wine was also believed to provide food energy which was an essential source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (Pilkington n.a). Wine and bread would be used for payment of staff who worked on government developments. In fact, most individuals would prefer to be paid in the form of wine rather than other valuables, meaning that wine was a valuable commodity in ancient Egypt (Georg 89). During celebrations, gifts and prizes brought to events included barrels of wine which were a highly valued gift. Parties would not be complete without sharing of wine implying that the guests carried wine with them when they were attending parties. In religious festivals, spiritual leaders had to purchase some wine which was consumed by the gathering as a way of welcoming religious state. Spiritual leaders would pray to God to provide them with more wine implying that people believed that wine was provided and made by God.


Rome, Egypt, and Ancient Greece traded wine in one market zone which was called the Mediterranean trade zone. These societies had a strong relationship such that if one society ran out of wine, others would provide wine or grapes which would be used to make wine to control the shortage (Bajwa and Sandhu 10). These societies used to link and make necessary arrangements on how to advance the trade of wine. They had a common mode of transporting wine to the market, the ships which were controlled by a representative from the three societies in unison. The vessels that were used to store and transport wine were common in the three societies. They were made of clay with a wide base, but later Romans introduced some advanced barrels which were made of wood and could hold wine more permanently. The clay barrels were commonly made in Egypt since this society had people with skills in molding strong barrels using clay.

Wine in the three societies was traded mainly for home consumption, consumption in parties and celebrations, and for use in religious gatherings. However, wine was a drink for the wealthy people and leaders in society. It is evident that in the three societies, parties and celebrations were not complete without wine. Wine would bring happiness to people during the celebrations, thus it was highly recommended for drinking during these events to make people happy and fit in the environment of celebrating (Bajwa and Sandhu 13). Wine was used by spiritual leaders in religious meetings and prayers. The societies had strong religious beliefs, and they believed that wine was an essential drink in religious proceedings.

Every society gave special names to different types of wines as a symbol that the wine was a special drink which needed special names for identification. The naming was based on the value of the wine and the costs since different wines had different worth. For trading purposes, wine was identified by the names they were branded. Wealthy people knew the names of the luxurious wines, and they would avoid buying the less worthy wines. The less wealthy people also knew the names of the wine, which they could afford to purchase.


Greek wine was more expensive than wine from Rome and Egypt because Greek people had a vast knowledge of the production of wine. The Greek had started the production of wine earlier than the other two societies. Initially, Egyptians would import wine from the other two countries, but later they introduced the cultivation of grapes and other fruits in the area around the river Nile (Bajwa and Sandhu 13). This implies that the knowledge of wine production was less in Egypt as compared to Rome.

In Rome, most of the wine produced was sold commonly to the local people, but in Greek, wine was sold to both local consumers and overseas. The resultant was that Greek made more income on wine trade than Rome since more wealth was extracted from foreign consumers than the local consumers (Habet 13). Egypt initially did not produce wine, but as time went by, the country became a big producer of wine for local consumption and export to other countries. People were allowed to trade wine freely, but the leaders would get some tax on the trade of wine.


Conclusively, Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome were major producers and consumers of wine. The trade of wine was allowed by the leaders, and consumption of wine was accepted by every individual in society. The three countries had a strong connection with the trade of wine, and they had a common market for the wine called the Mediterranean trade zone. A lot of wealth was generated from the trade of wine. People bought wine for domestic consumption, for use in religious proceedings, and for use in celebrations. However, the Greek wine was most expensive, and the use of wine in Egypt was highly influenced by slaves from Israel.

Works Cited

Bajwa, Usha and Kulwant Singh Sandhu. "Effect of handling and processing on pesticide residues in food- a review." Journal of Food Science and Technology (2012): 26.

Fernández, J. and M Whitlock. "lack of nonadditive genetic effects on early fecundity." (2013): 13.

Fox, Sherry. Wine in ancient greece and cyprus : production,... Berlin De Gruyter, 2017.

Georg. Trading conflicts : Venetian merchants and Mamluk officials in late Medieval Alexandria. Leiden: Boston : Brill, 2012.

Habets, Myk. "Third Article Theology : a pneumatological dogmatics." A pneumatological dogmatics (2016): 14.

Maune, Alexander. Indigenous Knowledge Intelligence and African... by Alexander Maune. New Yolk, 2014.34-78

Pilkington, Marc. Tourism for Development in the Republic of Moldova. New Yolk, 18 August 2015.

Standage, Tom and Runnette. A history of the world in 6 glasses. Old Saybrook, 14 March 2012.

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