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What did ancient Romans drink?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Woman with a jug on the Roman mosaic
A woman with a jug on the Roman mosaic

Ancient Romans were famous for drinking wine in large quantities. The wine was available to everyone: a slave, a plebeian, a soldier, a woman. The wine also saw children (there was no age limit). The wine to the younger Romans was, however, served with water in the right proportion so that they would not get drunk. Was there anything else besides the red liquid?

Apart from wine, the Romans drank so-called posca, vinegar mixed with water to the extent that you can drink it. It was a drink drunk mainly by soldiers and slaves (long-lived and simple to receive). Apparently it gave a lot of energy.

The now popular sheep’s or goat’s milk was considered uncivilized. It was mainly used for kneading cheese and for medical purposes. Water was rather not drunk in the cities due to the fact that it was heavily polluted. Therefore, the wine was preferred, which had an antibacterial effect and, moreover, it had great taste qualities – of course in combination with various additives. Popular was, for example, calda, i.e. heated wine with water in the company of small additions. It was drunk also mulsum – honey wine.

In Roman times there was also beer, drunk by barbarians. In the Romans’ opinion, however, it was distasteful and dull, and above all uncivilized. This does not mean, however, that it was not consumed at all. Soldiers stationed in Gaul or Germania (i.e. Caesar’s legionaries) drank this liquor.

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