Οἶνος Κρίθινος

1. Wine of barley
Formed from ὀινος + κριθή = wine and barley


This barleywine does not refer to the high ABV ale from the UK. Instead, it is the Greeks’ attempt to describe a type of beverage that was not made by them. The earliest references to wine and barley separately are found in the first Greek texts, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. “Oἶνος κρίθινος” however, first appears in Xenophon. There is an earlier variant in Herodotus’s History [ca. 484-425 BCE] with “ὀινος ἐκ κριθέων” (“wine from barley”) used to describe the brew of the Egyptians. Still, no dedicated Greek word for “beer” existed in the fourth century or earlier.


See also: Nelson 2001, 26-29.

3 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s