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  • Writer's pictureCláudio Giordano

Legend of the vine and wine

There are many versions and legends about the origin of the vine and wine. Among them, one can read with pleasure that of Maurice des Ombiaux, which can be found in the beautiful Ivresse album (1985) illustrated by Hans Erni and of which we give a translation below. I mentioned “beautiful album”; In fact, BVReppucci also has an effectively monumental 54 x 38 cm copy, printed on high quality paper (velin d’arches), with 60 color lithographs, loose notebooks placed in a folder and a super fabric case reinforced .

The legend

Dionysus, whom the Latins called Bacchus, went as a child to the land of the Hellenes, in search of the island of Naxos. The journey being long, the young god, tired, sat down on a rock to rest, when he saw at his feet a small handful of grass sprouting from the ground. He found it so elegant that he soon thought of harvesting it to replant at home. He picked it up off the ground and cradled it in his hands. However, it was very hot and he was afraid that the sun would dry it out before he came home. Looking around, his eyes saw a bird bone, and then he placed the little plant in its hole. He continued on his way. But the vine grew so fast in the child’s hand that it soon overflowed from the bird’s bone. When the young god perceived a lion’s bone, much larger than the bone of a bird, he introduced it together with the plant. The plant, however, continued to grow and expand also outside the lion’s bone. Later, finding a donkey bone even larger than the lion’s, Dionysius inserted into it the lion’s bone with the bird’s bone and the wonderful plant.

Finally, the god reached the island of Naxos. When he wanted to transplant the vine in his garden, he discovered that the roots were so entangled in the bones of the bird, the lion and the donkey that it was impossible to free them. Knowing what he was doing, for being a god, he planted the bush as it was.

The vine grew rapidly and, to Dionísio’s amazement, it was loaded with amber and purple grape bunches - the color of the sun and blood - which he squeezed, producing the first wine, which he gave to humans to drink.

Here, then, Dionysus saw a prodigy: when the men began to drink, they began to sing like little birds; drinking a little more, they became violent as lions and, by continuing to drink, they became idiots as donkeys.

It is of the utmost importance to keep in mind this teaching of ancient wisdom.

Translated by Roberto Vallasciani

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