POLYBIUS, THE HISTORIES 34.9

 

τοιοῦτον δέ τινα ὐφίσταται τῆ κατασκευῆ καί λαμπρὀτητι οἴανπερ Πολύβιος Ἱβηρός τινος Βασιλέως οἰκίαν. ὂν καί εζηλωκέναι λέγειτην τῶν Φαιάκων τρυφην πλην τοῦ τους κρατῆρασεν μέσω τῆς οἰκίαζεσταναι πλήρεις οἴνου κριθίνου, ἀργυροῦς ὄντας καί χρυσοῦς.

A certain Iberian king constructed such a house in a well-built and brilliant manner. Which he says imitated the luxury of the Phaeacians, except that the gold and silver kraters stand in the middle of their houses [large drinking bowls] are full of barleywine.

Background
The Histories describes the growing power of Rome and contemporary events in Europe from 264-146 B.C. In this part, Polybius writes about Celt-Iberia (mostly Spain) and its geography. According to Polybius, their king really loved his gold and silver bling (do the kids still use this word?). If any of you beer lovers also happen to be historical-metallurgy-aficionados, the earlier sections of this chapter detailing silver-smelting methods are a must read.

Commentary
Wine of barley, not our barleywine. No  description of this beverage or the weird flora that inevitably appeared in such concoctions.

Author’s Note
Polybius (ca. 200-118 BCE)
A Greek man held hostage by the Romans after the war in Greece. Like many political prisoners, he turned to writing.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Jordan Rex says:

    Is this stemming from the same quote that says how an Iberian King kept wheat-beer stored in his palace all year round? (Which, tbh I have no idea whether that is accurate or not ^^” )

    Like

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