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Wine: “Made from the Beginning to Make Men Glad” 

6hoh Young Man Drinking a Glass of Wine
Young Man Drinking a Glass of Wine, Jan van Bijlert, c. 1635




Cogan describes wine second only to water due to its ubiquitous presence in both the Greco-Roman world and the Bible. Including theology in his analysis of wine, Cogan believes that God gave man wine to make him glad, but Satan corrupted “the fruite of the grape,” to make man drunk if he consumed too much.[1] Also, much like water, wine was heavily associated with Galenic humoral theory. Different styles, ages, and countries of origins produced wines with varying degrees of temperature. White wine of France being the least hot, with aged red wine being the hottest.[2]

Further keeping with broader European beliefs, Cogan prescribes wine mixed with water, or baptized wine, to “quencheth thirst the better.”[3] Most Renaissance European doctors, especially the French and Italians, believed wine to be a healthy beverage, and mixed water and wine to promote both health and temperance.[4] Cogan expounds upon the many virtues of wine, explaining its use for old age and ability to sharpen men’s wits.[5] However, he also spends four pages in Haven of Health advising his students to avoid wine and drunkenness altogether, citing drinking in excess as unhealthy and an ungodly sin. Cogan’s warning against drunkenness reflects the early modern acceptance of drinking, but disdain for drunkenness.[6]


[1] Cogan, Haven of Health, USU SCA, 207.
[2] Ibid.207-208.
[3] Ibid.206.
[4] Lynn Martin, “The Baptism of Wine,” 25-26
[5] Cogan, Haven of Health, USU SCA, 209-210.
[6] Richard W. Unger, Beer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 3.