Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 70

Today’s words come to us from Ancient Greek philosopher and all-around big-thinker, Aristotle. Aristotle was a student of Plato, and later, a teacher of Alexander (before he was the Great, King of Macedonia, and undefeated conqueror of the then-known world).  Together with Plato (and his teacher, Socrates), Aristotle is widely considered one of the pillars of Western Philosophy.

I remember slogging through Aristotle’s The Politics (a book outstanding in its capacity to induce sleep) in college.  And one takeaway from that book is still seared into my brain:  Man is by nature a political animal.  I don’t have to look any further than my Facebook feed to prove the validity of that statement.  (Still waiting for that Hide all Political Posts button, Facebook.
Still waiting.)

I took this photo last week at Casanel Vineyards in Leesburg, VA.  I thought the words were pretty fantastic, and (bonus!) I love it when an inspiration for W3 falls into my lap.

DSC_5777-1Fantastic words, right?  But (shocker) . . . they aren’t the real words.

The real words are from Aristotle’s tome, The Problems, specifically, Book XXX:  Problems Connected with Prudence, Intelligence and Wisdom:

Heat in the region in which we think and form hopes makes us cheerful; and for this reason all mean are eager to drink until they become intoxicated, for an abundance of wine makes all men hopeful, just as their youth makes children sanguine; for old age is despairing but youth is full of hope.1

In ancient Greece, women weren’t allowed to drink wine (I would have made a terrible ancient Greek), so only men had the chance to be hopeful.  This passage is actually much, much longer and goes on to discuss super-cheerful things like black bile and suicide.  Yes, really.

I like the re-interpretation of Aristotle’s words much better.


1 Aristotle, and Jonathan Barnes. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1984.


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