Spartacus and Wine

I love historical movies, and Sparticus is based on the true tale of a slave revolt in ancient Rome in 73BC. The USA network redid the story as a miniseries starring Goran Visnjic and Henry Simmons. Here are some details about the wine showing up in the story.

One of the very first scenes we have in the movie involves wine. The first glimpse we have of life in the great city of Rome involves a wine merchant offering a sample to a passing Roman citizen. It's a Spanish wine, and the citizen is more fond of the pretty slave girl assisting the wine merchant than he is of the wine itself.

Spanish wines were often considered cheap get-drunk-on-it wines by the Romans of this time. Romans were very well versed in wine types and grew a huge number of grapes in Italy. They also shipped in wines from their holdings in France, Germany, Spain and elsewhere. Italian wines could be aged for 10 to 25 years before drinking.

The next scene of the Roman senators discussing issues also involves wine. Water was not considered safe for drinking, and only children drank milk. That left wine as the standard drink for any situation.

When Spartacus and his fellow gladiators are brought to the training school, they're given piquette to drink. Slaves were fed this watered down low quality wine instead of the better wine drunk by free men and women. Piquette was made by taking the leftover grape skins and pulp left behind after winemaking was done, and mixing it with water.

Soon Crassus' entourage shows up at the Gladiator school looking for a private demonstration. Lentulus Batiatus, the owner of the estate, hurridly runs down to greet them and offers them wine.

The private demonstration sparks a rebellion, and soon the slaves have taken over the school and are gathering force. As they celebrate around a campfire, they drink wine from wine skins. The Romans had invented glassblowing and used glassware for in-home wine consumption, but wine skins were still the common way of carrying wine with you.

Wine in Movies and Books

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.