Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jeroboams & Balthazars, Part 3: Wine Bottles of Colossal Proportions

This is the conclusion of a series on the stories behind the names of wine bottle sizes, and we're now left with the biggest of the big. These are the bottles that may require some assistance to physically pick up.

DAVID AND GOLIATH
IMAGE CREDIT: huffingtonpost.com
In Part 1: Wine Bottles of Typical Proportions, everything from the 187.5 milliliter piccolo to the 3 liter double-magum was covered. This included several hypotheses on how the 750 milliliter became the standard bottle today. I also, in the end, gave an explanation on why this was a 3-part series instead of being one, flowing, easily accessible source. Part 1 is a completely different animal and a much lighter read than the following two.

Part 2: Wine Bottles of Biblical Proportions started off with the Christian necessity of wine for worship, leading to better quality wine everywhere it spread. Because of this everything above 3 liters with the exception of one are named after legendary and powerful characters from Abrahamic mythology. Then it was the turn of anything from the 4.5 liter Jeroboam / Rehoboam to the 15 liter Nebuchadnezzar.

If you read Part 1 then you know the backstory on how the idea to do this was planted into my brain. And you know from both parts and some of my other writings that I'm on the Richard Dawkins level of religious belief. So why would I actually spend months with the Bible to write this series? The answer is because I love history and even (or especially) the mythologies that people still cling to today are an important part of our history both culturally and as a species as a whole.

But what good to anybody does it serve to get this in-depth? You could argue that most of the content of Part 2 and Part 3 are just ancient stories organized in a bottle size format and none of this really has to do with wine at all. And you can get plenty of simple lists of the bottle size names in books and on the internet, right?

My answer to that is this: I'm a true believer in understanding things. I just didn't learn how to make French toast, I learned that it was invented by the French living in poverty to rehydrate stale bread. I just didn't accept Christmas lights as a tradition, I learned why it's a tradition and that they're meant to mimic the moonlight reflecting off of icicles. Telling somebody that gravity exists does absolutely nothing. But tell somebody why gravity exists and now you're really providing something useful. By the same token, if you tell somebody that an 18 liter bottle is a Melchior then you've just given out information that only creates more questions. Is that piece of data enough for you? That an 18 liter bottle is a Melchior? Because that isn't enough for me. And speaking of Melchior, that's where we're starting right now...

MELCHIOR
IMAGE SOURCE: thehistoryblog.com
18 liter
Melchior

Eighteen liters is the equivalent of twenty-four standard bottles, and it's called a Melchior. I went over the Biblical story of the Magi, AKA the three wise men, and started their more in-depth later-written spinoff stories in Part 2 under the twelve liter bottle Balthazar. Melchior is one of those Magi, so let's talk about what he and his companions supposedly did after they left Bethlehem.

Nothing is said in the Bible about who the Magi were and how many of them there were, but going by a Greek manuscript from 500 CE and Saint Bede the Venerable's Collectanea or Excerpta et Collectanea from the 8th century CE, there were three: Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. Melchior was the king of Persia and the eldest of the wise men. Saint Bede described him as an old man with white hair and a long beard. His gift to the newborn was gold, a gift that is given to kings, thus symbolizing that this kid was now the king of the Jews.

Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar left Bethlehem after handing over their gifts. With their departure I'm pretty sure the parent conversation went like this... "Daaang, Mary! Look at all this gold, frankincense and myrrh!", "First thing tomorrow morning you're pawning that crap.", "But it was a gift!", "We're living in a goddamn manger, Joe! With a child! We need an apartment and food for our baby!", "That ain't my baby...", "What did you just say?", "I said yes ma'am!"

When the Magi returned to their homes they dumped their Zoroastrian religion, gave up their titles and their riches, and became followers of Christ and preachers of the Gospel. In 54 CE the threesome reunited in Armenia to celebrate "Christmas". Of course, Christmas at this time was a celebration of Saturn called Saturnalia and didn't exist as Christmas for another 282 years. Also, in order for the Magi to be lured to Israel from their locations by the North Star then Jesus would have to be born in June. But whatever.

Anyways, Melchior died seven days later on January 1st, 55 CE at the age of 116. All three of the Magi's bodies were laid to rest in the Shrine of the Three Kings, but since were moved all over the place. Today some of their remains are believed to be in Milan, within an urn above the altar of the Magi.

King Solomon
KING SOLOMON
IMAGE CREDIT: badassoftheweek.com
20 liter
Solomon

Twenty liters is the equivalent of twenty-seven standard bottles and it's called a Solomon.

At the end of Samuel in the Old Testament, the legendary King David burned a bunch of oxen because the Lord likes that sort of thing. Who doesn't like a good ol' BBQ? At the start of the book of 1 Kings, roughly 970 BCE, it jumps ahead to him laying on his deathbed. One of his sons, the young stud named Adonijah, seized the opportunity to claim the throne for himself. He burned so many sheep and oxen that everybody was like "Wow! This dude is kingly AF."

Dave was too sick to even notice. One of his baby mommas, Bathsheba, wasn't too happy about the situation so she woke Dave's ederly ass up, told him the news, and reminded him that he wanted his successor to be her son, Solomon, and not the son he had with Haggith, Adonijah. Dave knew he had to do something about this; earlier, he had sworn an oath to Yahweh (literally swearing to God) that he would make Solomon his heir. In front of Bathsheba! He hatched a plan to have Solomon ride the royal mule to Gihon with the royal servants, sit on the throne, and just be crowned king right there by a priest and Dave's buddy prophet Nate. And that was it. Solomon was the child king of the United Kingdom of Israel and, rather than punish his attempted usurper of an older brother, he told Adonijah to go home and be a good boy.

At the end of his life King David couldn't get warm so he had this girl named Abishag, who he never shagged, take care of him and keep him warm with her body. Shortly after Dave's death, Adonijah approached Bathsheba and asked if she could maybe convince Solomon to let him marry Abishag. This may seem weird, since Abishag had technically been his dad's... Royal Old Man Cuddler? Maybe she was hot enough that it made up for the weirdness. Bathsheba, being kind, agreed. But Solomon, even though he was still a kid, saw right through the bullshit. He knew it was a scam by Adonijah to dethrone him, and he flipped out.

He sent Benaiah, his own Luca Brasi, to kill Adonijah. And he didn't stop there. Before King David died he charged Solomon with carrying out revenge on the people that had done him wrong and wasn't able to finish off himself. After the death of his brother, Solomon focused on his father's revenge without haste. A priest was exiled and, before the end of the chapter, Benaiah added two more kills to his record.

Solomon carried on with kingly duties. He married the daughter of Egypt's Pharoah and burned animals for sacrifice just like dad. Then Yehweh visited him in a dream. The text readily admits it was a dream, so just like in Daniel's "night vision" we don't have to link a claimed conversation with Yehweh to hypnogogic hallucinations (the sleepy-time phenomenon that makes us believe we had an experience with fairies, demons, deities, or aliens) or even schizophrenic command hallucinations (when those mythical beings are giving you orders) because it pretty much does it on its own. In his dream, Solomon admitted to Yahweh that even though he may be good at having people murdered, he was young and has no idea what the hell he was doing. so he asked for an understanding heart to judge the people and discern between good and evil. Yahweh responded with "Alright, fine. Have some wisdom."

THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON
IMAGE CREDIT: pinterest.com
In the very next paragraph after Solomon woke up, two prostitutes came to him with a dead baby, a living baby, and a problem. We'll call them Trixie and Candi and they lived together in the same house. Trixie had a baby and three days later Candi had a baby. Trixie claimed that Candi's baby died and switched them when Trixie was sleeping, so she woke up to a dead baby that clearly wasn't hers. Candi denied it, said the living baby was hers, and they argued back and forth while Solomon was probably eating his Cheerios. Then he said the most scary words a peasant could hear in ancient times: "Bring me my sword!" When his sword arrived, he demanded that they use it to slice the living baby in half and share it. Candi was cool with that (which is weird because what exactly was she expecting to get out of this deal? Half a dead baby?) but Trixie begged that the baby be given to Candi so it could live. With that, Solomon concluded that Trixie was the mother and returned the child to her, and the whole kingdom heard of his god-given wisdom in judgment. Yes, that is your biblical version of wisdom, folks.

The United Kingdom of Israel was prosperous under Solomon. There was plenty of food and supplies. All the tribes of Hebrews got along just fine under one united kingdom. Things were going so good that he was able to complete one of the things his father was never able to do: a temple for the worship of Yaweh. David just didn't have the time because he was too busy waging wars and defending his kingdom. Solomon's reign was a time of peace and prosperity. During this time of peace, he made use of his alliances and resources to make an insanely impressive mega-structure dedicated to the worship of his god in Jerusalem. When it was finished he had the Ark of the covenant, containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments, delivered from Zion and placed in the temple. But the grand opening wasn't a party until he sacrificed twenty-two thousand bulls and one hundred twenty sheep.

SOLOMON'S TEMPLE
IMAGE CREDIT: cqmsjt.com
There's no direct archeological evidence of the temple's existence, just as there's no evidence of Solomon's existence. According to records written later, and other clues and mathematics are figured out, the temple should have been finished in 966 BCE (and later destroyed in 587 BCE by our friend from the 15 liter bottle size; Nebuchadnezzar.)

After the completion of the temple, Yehweh approached Solomon, pleased with all the building he was doing, and told him that his lineage would control the kingdom forever. But he'd be watching. If Solomon or the future generations of kings drifted away and started believing in abominations then he'd boot them right out of Israel and pretty much shit all over it and their legacy. What a nice guy.

Twenty years later we find a king that loves gold and women. The temple had gold everywhere, his own house had gold everywhere. All his drinking cups were made of gold, pretty much everything was made of gold, and he was the richest man on Earth. So he used his wealth and power to chase the women.

However, Solomon's wisdom became legendary throughout the world and the Queen of Sheba was the one who chased him. Legend says that she was the ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia, but it's more likely that "Sheba" was actually "Saba" (today's Yemen). The Queen was a rather inquisitive person that needed some answers, and she heard that Solomon was so wise that he could answer them. And he did. In return for his answers she gave him the largest gift of spices that was or ever will be, which included the first balsam to enter Israel.

The Queen of Sheba
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA
IMAGE CREDIT: wikipedia.org
According to Ethiopian lore, the two also made sweet, sweet love. While she was in Jerusalem she stayed the night at Solomon's place (in a different room) and they had a deal that she wouldn't take anything. Because apparently he was obsessed with property loss. When she woke up in the middle of the night and got some water, it woke Solomon up and he accused her of breaking her oath. At that moment sparks flew because nothing is hotter than being accused of stealing, they got naked, and got busy. The Queen went back home and had a son that she named Menelik.

Menelik traveled to Jerusalem at the age of 22 to meet his father, and he stayed there for three years to study Judaism. High priests begged Solomon to send Menelik back to Ethiopia because, get this, they looked too much alike and nobody could tell the difference. So Solomon told them that he'd send the kid packing if the high priests would let him take each of their oldest sons and a thousand other people. The high priests agreed, so Menelik pretty much brought a small army home with him. When he got back to Ethiopia he created the Solomonic Dynasty. He became the first Emperor of Ethiopia, and all the subsequent monarchs of Ethiopia claimed descent from him and his father Solomon. The last was Haile Selassie, who died in 1974!

The Ethiopian church also claims that Menelik got his hands on the Ark of the Covenant and brought it back to Ethiopia, where it's in a church now, but nobody is allowed to see it.

Solomon of Islam
SOLOMON OF ISLAM
IMAGE SOURCE: pinterest.com
As an old man Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, which must have been exhausting. The foreign ones convinced him to allow worship of their gods, and he even started building structures in their names. So of course Yahweh got really ticked off. Didn't he tell him not to do stuff like that? The Lord told him that he wasn't going to just pull the kingdom from under him and kick him out on the street. Instead, after his death, only half of the kingdom would go to his son (out of respect to David) and the other half would go to a servant of Solomon, yet to be decided. This is where the story of Jeroboam and Rehoboam begins, covered under the 4.5 liter bottle. And Solomon would die in what had become more of their story instead of his.

Solomon, if he did exist, ruled for 40 years from about 970 BCE to 930 BCE. Records and excavations have come up with nothing that proves that he was ever alive. But evidence has shown that during the time he would have ruled, Jerusalem was seeing a peaceful and economic boom just like in his story.

I've spent a lot of time on Solomon and there's a reason why: he became one of the most influential characters in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and thus one of the most influential characters in history. Within the Muslim mythology he takes on a rather ridiculous magical persona, like a demi-god that can do whatever he wants with supernatural powers such as flight, and the ability to control genies, demons and animals.

David as a boy
DAVID
IMAGE CREDIT: pinterest.com
27 liter
Primat / Goliath

A Goliath is a twenty-seven liter bottle, the equivalent of thirty-six standard size bottles. That's one big ass bottle, which is why it's named after the "giant" that David, before he was King, so bravely faced in The Book of 1st Samuel.

David is believed to have been born around 1040 BCE, died around 970 BCE (which you just read about in Solomon's story), and all we know about him is from Abrahamic religion. Samuel was written somewhere in the seventh century BCE, a few hundred years after Dave would be alive, and evolved until it was completed in 550 BCE. With no mention of Dave anywhere before Samuel's origin, there's not much chance that he ever existed at all. But there's no denying that he is right at the very tippity-top of the most important characters in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Dave's story starts off with a king of Israel doing the same thing they always do: disobeying Yahweh. This time that king's name was Saul, who brought together all twelve tribes of Judah and Israel to become the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel.  As someone who spent his teenage years in the 90's, my thoughts go right to Saul Rosenberg. Ah, the hours spent listening to prank phone call CD's...

Saul had shown an inability to follow instructions given to him by the prophet Samuel by not waiting for him to return before preparing to battle the Philistines. Because of this Saul had now fallen out of favor with their god, and Samuel was told by the almighty that the next great king would be the son of a man named Jesse in Bethlehem. So Sneaky Samuel told Saul he was going to Bethlehem to sacrifice a cow, while secretly in search of a future king. Samuel and Jesse partied together and the youngest son Dave was anointed as the future king of Israel! At least secretly, because for now he'd be a simple servant of Saul.

Yahweh liked to mess with Saul every so often so he'd send an evil spirit to rattle his cage, and the only thing that would make Saul feel better after this paranormal harassment was soothing music. After auditions of all of his servants, Dave proved to be the most skilled harpist on the staff. He would be called on to calm Saul down, and later earned his place as Saul's armor bearer.

Ramses III defeats the Sea Peoples
RAMSES III DEFEATS
THE SEA PEOPLES

IMAGE CREDIT: crystalinks.com
The beef with the Philistines was not over yet, though. They were still fighting each other and had been for quite some time.

This was at the end of the Late Bronze Age when all of the major civilizations in the region saw a cultural and societal collapse a century before. Anatolia, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt and the Hittites got hit with some very hard times. Some wouldn't survive it. Their struggles left trade routes unguarded, barbarian hordes unopposed, cities burned to the ground and left in ruins, and the benefits of education forgotten.

Nobody is completely sure why this all happened at once because records just seem to abruptly stop for awhile. Theories include climate change, drought, Sea Peoples... yes, Sea Peoples. In 1177 BCE the Egyptians defeated invaders that they called the Sea Peoples in the Battle of the Delta. From there everything went down hill. These invaders hadn't just hit Egypt, ya know. The Sea Peoples most likely were multi-ethnic groups from the Aegean and/or Southern Europe, and they spread all around the Mediterranean, settling on the coasts. Although the more inland civilizations that collapsed weren't directly affected by these Sea Peoples, it's been a popular blame theory since the late 1800's when the Egyptian records of the Sea Peoples were found. The real reason is probably a much more complicated one, combining many different situations and events at just the right (or wrong) time. The Perfect Storm, if you will.

Regardless of why, the world was a mess. The Sea Peoples who had settled on the coast of Israel became known as the Philistines. They had forcefully taken the most fertile lands from the Israelites and had pushed them into the hills. It's very likely that Palestine comes from Philistine. So there ya go. These two have never gotten along and they probably never will.

Goliath of Gath
GOLIATH OF GATH
IMAGE CREDIT: pinterest.com
Enter Goliath of Gath. A Philistine. A descendant of the Sea Peoples. Two nations are ready for battle, each gathering their armies on opposing mountains with a valley between them. On one side is Saul and the Israelites, and on the other side are the Philistines. Every day, twice a day, for forty days the Philistine champion walks to the middle of the valley and challenges the Israelites to pick their own champion and face him in single combat. The champion's name is Goliath and he wears a bronze helmet and a mail coat. He has a copper javelin, a spear with an iron spearhead, and a sheathed sword on his belt. He stands six feet nine inches tall.

The rules were simple. Face Goliath mano-a-mano. Win and the Philistine armies become servants to the Israelites, lose and the Israeli armies become servants to the Philistines. Now, I'm 5'5" and my best friend is 6'8". I'm tiny and he's enormous. Young Dave was probably about my height, if not a little shorter, and Goliath was one inch taller than my friend. I've taken down my friend plenty of times because my friend is a nice guy and I'm a reckless jerk. Goliath was not a nice guy. He was a very scary warrior dude and nobody wanted to face him.

So everybody in the army of Israel was pooping their pants. Their choices were as follows: 1) Go into battle against a superior army and lose 2) Send somebody to fight mother-mcfreaking Goliath and lose 3) RUN AWAY!!! Understandably they held off as long as they possibly could.

When this Mexican stand-off all started, Dave wasn't there because he was on one of his leaves of absence. It was his turn to feed his father's sheep in Bethlehem for whatever reason. You'd think the king would have hooked up some help for Jesse so his own official ghostbuster and armor bearer wouldn't have to occasionally go away for a month just to feed some stupid sheep. Or simply denied Jesse anything because Dave was his servant. When Dave finally made it to the current location of his king, the armies were in their gear and heading into the valley to meet each other in battle. David ran up and saw Goliath in the center of the valley, repeating the same words he had been saying every day...

David and Goliath
STANDING UP
IMAGE CREDIT: christianauthenticity.org
"Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us. I defy the armies of Israel to this day; give me a man, that we may fight together."

It's then that Dave got all upset and gave a rally speech to the nearby Israeli soldiers because Goliath was... uncircumcised. How dare a man without genital mutilation threaten the armies of the living God? Dave's brothers were there fighting for Saul, and his oldest brother asked him, "Why did you come here? Who's taking care of the sheep? Did you just come here to watch a fight for entertainment?" I'm imagining that Dave put on the resting bitch face, looked his brother up and down, raised his hand in the air, and volunteered as tribute.

Saul simply refused to let a child fight Goliath. So Dave told him straight-up that he had killed lions and bears to get sheep back from their jaws, and he saw no difference between them and a Philistine with foreskin. Saul saw this as some filthy hardcore gangsta shit, as anybody would, and suited him up to take on Goliath. But Dave just wasn't comfortable in all that armor so he took it off. He accepted Goliath's challenge in his civvies with nothing but a staff, a sling, and a bag containing a few stones he had picked up off of the ground nearby.

At first Goliath laughed, saying that Dave must think he's a dog for bringing a stick. Dave replied by pulling a Babe Ruth and pointing his bat to center field. "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel."

David and Goliath
DAVID AND GOLIATH
IMAGE CREDIT: imightneedanap.com
The death match was officially on. They charged at each other in full stride. Dave dropped his staff, reached in his bag for a stone, placed the stone into his sling, and slung away. It hit Goliath right on the forehead, just under his bronze helmet, and indented his skull. Goliath immediately dropped to the ground in agony.

Dave then stood on top of Goliath's body. The Philistine wasn't dead yet and was probably twitching and making horrifying gurgling noises that you might expect from somebody just brain damaged by a diety-powered rock. Dave then unsheathed Goliath's own sword and ran it through him to end his life. Then he used it to decapitate him, just like he promised. A boy named David, son of Jesse from Bethlehem, had just savagely saved the United Kingdom of Israel.

The Philistines, after watching their seemingly-unbeatable champion be slain by a scrawny little twit, fled back home as the Isrealites chased them and killed the stragglers. As for Dave, well, he would be alright. He'd become the greatest biblical king of them all, and eventually would father the previously covered Solomon.

The story of David and Goliath was intended to show a destined king of Israel defeating paganism even as a child, but it's risen above that to become the ultimate underdog story. You can be as mean and menacing and as muscular as you want, but ambition and precision by the most unlikely of competitors can take you right out of the game. It's an inspiration to the little guys like myself who've had to battle Goliaths their whole lives. As Mark Twain said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog."

King Midas
KING MIDAS
IMAGE CREDIT: pinterest.com
30 liter
Melchizedek / Midas

A thirty liter bottle of wine is equivalent to forty standard bottles (how the hell do you even pour from the friggin' thing?) and it's called a Melchizekek or a Midas.

Melchizekek is another character from the Bible and I've personally had just about enough with that book, haven't you? Quick summary: King Melchizekek of Salem is a character in Genesis. He's the first High Priest of El Elyon, a position that is passed down until the final High Priest; Jesus Christ. So that's that with that.

Let's move on the King Midas. There wasn't just one King Midas. There have been three of them in history and they all ruled Phrygia, which was in central Anatolia (modern day Turkey). But the King Midas that the bottle refers to is no doubt the very first. He's the one with "the golden touch".

The story of King Midas and The Golden Touch is from Greek mythology and takes place in the 8th century BCE. There's reason to believe that Midas is based on the Phrygian king Mita. As you probably already know, the character of King Midas was obsessed with gold. Even with all of his power and all of his luxury and all of his gold, he couldn't stop thinking about obtaining more wealth. He desperately wanted to be the richest man in the world.

While out on a stroll, Midas found a part-man, part-goat having a little hangover recouperation in one of the royal vineyards and recognized him as Silenus, a buddy of the god of wine himself; Dionysus. About time wine actually showed up in one of these stories, right? So Midas gave him some water and hangover food. Pancakes and bacon always does the trick. Silenus, while stuffing his face, told him that he and Dionysus were coming back from spreading viticulture in the East and he'd gotten so drunk that he passed out. Dionysus kept stumbling on and left him there.

Dionysis
DIONYSUS, GOD OF WINE
IMAGE CREDIT: gods-and-monsters.com
Silenus and Dionysus were so grateful for Midas' kindness and hospitality that Dionysus granted him any wish he wanted. Midas wasted no time and wished that everything he touched would to turn to gold. Dionysus, knowing full well that this wasn't going to turn out all that well, asked him if he was sure that was what he really wanted. Like a fool, Midas doubled down.

Midas returned home and started turning things into gold. He tested it out on a bowl. GOLD! He touched a stool. GOLD! A lamb. GOLD! Holy moly, it works! How could anybody else ever be richer than him when he can just turn whatever he wanted right into gold??? He started running around in excitement, touching random things and turning them to gold.

Quickly he realized that this may not actually be a good thing. He tried to mount his horse and it turned to gold. He tried to wash his hands and the water turned to gold. He tried to eat something and his food turned to gold. He tried to sleep in his bed and his pillows and sheets turned to cold, hard gold. In the Nathaniel Hawthorne version of the story (A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, 1852 AD) the only thing that Midas loved more than his money is his daughter. She's turned into gold when they embrace and it crushes him.

The story of King Midas has several different endings. Early versions of the story have him dying of starvation and thirst. Later versions end the story with Midas calling on Dionysus and pleading him to have his power retracted. Dionysus felt kinda bad but, being a god, had to do something jerk-esque to make it happen. So he told Midas that he had to travel all the way to Lydia, quite a journey away, and wash himself in the Pactolus river to be rid of the golden touch. Midas did just that and was cured. After that, the Pactolus was a damn fine river to find some gold. In the Nathaniel Hawthorn version, Midas takes water from the river back home and uses it to turn his inanimate golden daughter back to a living flesh daughter.

Midas has ass's ears
KING ASS EARS
IMAGE CREDIT: ancient.eu
That wouldn't be the last Midas saw of the Greek gods. He somehow found himself as a judge in a musical competition between Pan and Apollo. Pan was the god of shepherds, hunting and the wild, among other things. Apollo was the god of the sun, light and music, among other things.

Every judge chose Apollo as the winner except one. Midas, already a fan of Pan's, was alone in his opinion that Pan's panpipe performance was better than Apollo's lyre performance. Even though Apollo was given the victory by the competition's umpire, Tmolus the mountain god, he flipped out and told Midas that his ears were too small to hear properly. Then he gave him bigger ones: the ears of an ass.

Midas wore a turban after that, only revealing his ears to his barber who had promised not to tell anyone. After awhile the barber just had to tell somebody so he dug a hole in a meadow and whispered his secret into the hole. In that very spot a bed of reeds would grow out of the hole and they would whisper into the wind, over and over again...

"King Midas has ass' ears... King Midas has ass' ears... King Midas has ass' ears..."

The End

This project was much more of an undertaking than I thought it would be, and I can't say that I'm sad it's over. Although it was fun venturing off into something unrelated to wine while still having its foundation be wine inspired, I'm ready to get back into writing about the history, the science and my opinions of my most favorite adult beverage.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on these stories. I hope that putting a story behind the names helps somebody remember the names, and maybe even their exact measurements. As always, if there are any inaccuracies in these articles then please let me know. I would hate to be the source of any misinformation.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm trading in this Holy Bible for the Wine Bible. Merry Christmas! Or should I rather say Happy Saturnalia? And happy birthday, Sir Isaac Newton.

- Joey Casco, CSW/CSS
  TheWineStalker.net

Guest Editor and Researcher: Graham Richardson
I have to give a million thank you's to Graham, who proof read and fact checked this article series, even wrote pieces of it here and there, and was instrumental in the research. You've seen me thank him on other history articles before but there is absolutely no way I could have EVER done this one without him.

Part 1: Wine Bottles of Typical Proportions
http://www.thewinestalker.net/2016/12/sizes1.html
Part 2: Wine Bottles of Biblical Proportions
http://www.thewinestalker.net/2016/12/sizes2.html
Part 3: Wine Bottles of Colosal Proportions
http://www.thewinestalker.net/2016/12/sizes3.html


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