Saliva, Purpurae And Wine In Three Passages Of Plinius: Sofistication Practices And Negative Effects On Human Health


  • Livia Radici Docente di Didattica dell’Italiano presso la S.U.P.S.I. Università del Canton Ticino (Svizzera). Dottore di ricerca e borsista post-doc in Filologia Classica-DICAM Università di Messina, I


Saliva , Wine , Sofistication Practises, Human Heath


The study examines the meaning of the word saliva in three passages of Plinius (IX 128, XIV 61, XXIII 40), relative to purpurae and to vinum. Starting from the approximation with which the word saliva is translated into modern languages, the author implies new referrals, never used so far, coming from the medico-scientific (Celsus, Plinius, Fronto) and poetic texts ( Lucretius, Plautus). The pathway cross the link between wine and medicine, through the sofistication practises and the negative effects on human heath (marble, chalk, charcoal, dangerous even for heathy individuals; use of sea-water, upsetting stomach, bladder and nerves; resins add-ons causing headaches and dizziness). The innovative conclusion is that in the passages examined the word saliva means sucus (natural substance): the same that allows purpurae to survive up to fifty days without any other external food and to the must to reach his vires ( to become wine) thanks only to the fermentation process. An uncontaminated wine either from other wine types either from additives offers the guarantee of absence of nuisance to the human health. Key words: Saliva - Wine - Sofistication Practises - Human Heath