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Posca

The most popular non-alcoholic drink in ancient Rome, appreciated by both the citizens and the legionaries. It was a vinegar water made from diluted vinegar (wine vinegar). The finely acidic taste had a refreshing effect and also masked the taste or smell of water of inferior quality. In addition to Posca (which, as mentioned, was alcohol-free) made from wine vinegar, sour wine or Iora (pomace wine) was also used for production. Wine vinegar was added to this process. Posca became known through the Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible, although it is not explicitly mentioned there. When Jesus hung on the cross, a soldier (different in the Bible translations) mixed wine with bile, gave him vinegar or vinegar water with a sponge impaled on a lance. Most likely the legionnaire in question took what he had in his canteen, namely Posca. This was thus an attempt to refresh the suffering and not a torture usually interpreted in this way.

In the famous "Historia Augusta" (late antique collection of about 30 emperor biographies) it is told how an emperor (handed down for Trajan and Hadrian, for example) approaches the "simple man or soldier". After he has personally ground grain with a hand mill in front of the legionaries in the camp and baked a simple wholemeal bread in the fire, he does not let himself be served the more expensive wine to wash down the dry food, but the simple drink of the legionaries, the Posca. With the sour drink he toasts the men and wins their hearts. The legionaries should think: "The emperor is one of us, he eats and drinks the same as we do!" See also under Ancient Wines, Satyricon, Symposium and Drinking Culture.

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