Roman Wine Heater?
This past week I took a drive back to my hometown, Toronto, to visit some family. While I was there I decided to check out the Pompeii Exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.
The Exhibit features a fair amount of hands on displays, including the option to dress up as a Roman Civilian with a toga. It delves deep into the local culture in Pompeii around the years 50 thru to 79, when the eruption occurred. It shows you what life was like to be a resident of Pompeii. It was indeed a very cultural little city. Art and theater were big, and the food and economy there made for a very prosperous region. The exhibit even features a lot of evidence of the sexual life of local residents.
The above statue features a man pouring oil on his erect penis! An interesting thing to make a little bronze statue of. There were also wall paintings, showing various sexual positions. One of which being a woman on her knees, doggy style. Behind her was a man having intercourse with her, and behind him another man having intercourse with the first man.
And there were a few indications of females riding on top of the males. Gee, I kinda liked what I saw. I could relate to these people. It showed a very progressive society which was very focused on culture, the arts, and pleasure.
One of the interesting artifacts which I was quite curious about, was the water heating device. The sign said that it was possibly used to heat water or wine. But I was thinking, hmm, maybe tea? But supposedly Romans didn't have access to tea. I was texting my friend Jackie about this, and she suggested that it might be for heating up wine.
Hot wine? Hmmm. It is a foreign concept to me, but maybe in the winter time it would of been comforting like warm apple cider? I also read that apparently the Roman culture used to concentrate wine, and then sell it, often to lower class citizens. They would then add water to the concentrate and drink it in a very watered down manner. They would drink this all day long. So maybe the heating device helped concentrate the wine by boiling off the water content in it? The upper classes also used to apparently enjoy heated wine with meals. This device would of been a very complex design to forge. What with all those hollow metal voids, and the way that the different pieces were fused together to form one unit in a time before welding was available - that must of been a very difficult and expensive process (unless they just fused it together with lead?)
In any case the exhibit was very well done. They say that art should illicit an emotional response in people. The way this exhibit was laid out, was very artistic in a deeply psychological manner. The latter part of the exhibit was very somber, culminating in the plaster casts made from the voids left behind from the buried bodies, and the possible stories of who those people were, and why they were found where they were.
I highly encourage that anyone who goes, to take the time to read everything. Don't rush through it... It will mean more if you do take the time.