This text continues the previous Justinian passage about the inclusion of wine in wills:

Oenomeli plane id est dulcissimum vinum continebitur: et passum, nisi contraria sit mens, continebitur: defrutum non continebitur, quod potius conditurae loco fuit. Acinaticium plane vino continebitur. Cydoneum et si qua alia sunt, quae non ex vinea fiunt, vini appellatione non continebuntur. Item acetum vini appellatione non continebitur. Haec omnia ita demum vini nomine non continentur, si modo vini numero a testatore non sunt habita: alioquin Sabinus scribit omnia vini appellatione contineri, quae vini numero pater familias habuit: igitur et acetum, quod vini numero pater familias habuit, et zythum et camum et cetera, quae pro hominum affectione atque usu vini numero habebuntur. Quod si totum vinum, quod pater familias habuit, coacuit, non exstinguitur legatum.

Honey wine, which is the sweetest wine, is clearly included [under the title “wine”]; and raisin wine, unless one has a mind to the contrary, is included. Boiled grape must is not included, which will rather be included under the category of “wine ingredients.” Acinaticum [a type of wine] clearly is included with wine. Cydoneum [quince-wine] and any of the others, which are not made from vines, are not included in the appellation “wine.” However, wine vinegar is also not included in the appellation of wine. All these things are not included in the category of “wine,” unless they are considered as a type of wine by the testator: Sabinus, however, writes that all the things are included in the category of “wine” which a head of the household holds under that category. Therefore, vinegar, which the head of the household considers wine, and beer, [another type of] beer, and other such things, which because of their affection and use by men are held under the category of “wine.” But, if all the “wine,” that which the head of the household treats as wine, goes sour, the legacy [i.e. stipulations of the will] is not extinguished.

Justinian continues his legal vendetta against beer. Sabinus, however, is more welcoming of the delightful suds. He must have had quite an impressive beer cellar to ensure the inclusion of beer in wills – and a fan of lambics and geuzes to boot. I wonder what a 2000 year-old bottle of Drie Fonteinen (“Tres Fontes,” to the Romans) would fetch in a trade? For the archaeology-fans out there, no Roman beer cellars have been excavated to date (to my knowledge).

Authors Note
Justinian I (ca. 482-565 CE)
Byzantine emperor.

Masurius Sabinus (beginning of the 1st c. CE)
Lawyer and legal author under the reign of Tiberius (14-37 CE).

Image: wikimedia commons, by W. Sauber

2 Comments Add yours

  1. “et zythum et camum et cetera” – zythos, of course, was the Greek (and hence Roman, apparently) name for Egyptian beer, while camum seems to occur only in Central European contexts, with celia and cerevisia/cervesia in Celtic/western European ones. Celia and cervesia presumably come under “et cetera …”


    1. Thanks for the comment; it certainly complements the original text in this post. Previously, we explored the etymology and use of many of these words in previous posts (all saved in the “Dictionary” tab).


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