WINE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
The visitor who is just about to enter room I, is immediately enthralled by the wall-size graphic representation of the section of a load of amphorae, with wine ones at the base; this suddenly transports the viewer in the “Mediterranean of trade” that was dear to Braudel. The start of the visiting path focuses one’s attention on the Cyclades, a natural bridge between the micro-Asian area – where wine was a drink reserved for priests and kings – and the continental one. The two large jugs in orange clay, worked and polished by hand, (Amorgos group, III millennium B.C.) evoke the agile Cycladic vessels, among the first disseminating viticulture. Then come Hittite and Syro-Hittite pouring jugs of evolved shape, polished and marked by symbols, dating from between 3200-2200 B.C., and then vases and wine cups used in Greece, Etruria and in the Roman area, from the 6th century B.C. to the 4th A.D. At the centre of the room, relating to the symposium, is the kylix (mid 6th century B.C.) by one of the best known Little Masters, with the inscription “Phrinos made me so merry”.
Particular attention must be paid to the Etruscan bronze wine set and to the exhibits on its sides; the coralline ceramic and the Roman glasses, the bronze askòs attesting the quality of life of the Neapolitan villas on the eve of the tremendous Vesuvius eruption. The pars urbana had taken over, becoming the Villa d’otium, a representative environment suitable for social as well as political play, detached from the conception of the slave age Villa, which was a compact socio-economic unit.
The map illustrating the production areas, the maritime routes as well as the notes on trade confirm the multiple realities involved.