Fruits rich in seeds, such as pomegranates and figs, have been the symbols of fertility since ancient times. The vine and grape juice has a long history of religious significance.Deified, like the Zoroastrian haoma and the Vedic soma, their ability to amuse and intoxicate was considered a manifestation of divine obsession. In that series of sacraments, or “secrets,” which we will study, the vine symbolizes especially female fertility and its juice, mostly non-fermented, was drunk ceremonially to ensure the fertility of the womb.
Wine played a central role in later Greek culture, so important that in the classical period the disturbing figure of the ecstatic Dionysus was turned to Bacchus (Bacchus), the lascivious god of wine with overgrown wool legs, the lord of orgies, and then drunk feasts passed in the traditional style of dominion . The fermentation of grains and fruits was, it is supposed, well known, and it is impossible to declare neither its discoverer, nor its place of origin.
Greek wines were somewhat of a mystery to scientists. The alcohol content in them could not exceed 14%, because when the fermentation process reaches this concentration, the further formation of alcohol is suppressed. However, according to some descriptions, Greek wines required multiple dilutions before they could be drunk with pleasure. This suggests that they were more akin to extracts and tinctures of other plant essences than the guilt we know today. This made them more complex chemically and, therefore, more intoxicating. Adding resin to wine (resin) in Greece in the manufacture of “retsina” may well go back to times when other plants, perhaps belladonna or dope, were also included in wine.
Alcohol is the first example of an alarming phenomenon with which we will meet again and again in our discussion of the differences between ancient and modern approaches to the consumption of psychoactive drugs and their production technology. The consumption of alcohol by people in the form of fermented cereals, juices and honey drink is an extremely ancient phenomenon. Distilled alcohol was not an ancient sign (although Pliny mentions one Roman wine, so strong that it burned when it was poured onto the fire). And today it is distilled, purified alcohol is the main culprit among the means, called “legal” and “encouraging.”