Thirsty Thursday: Drinking from Infancy

Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, On the Education of Boys (19):

I once heard that there was a Bohemian nobleman who made his children accustomed to drinking from the time they were in the crib by giving them big and frequent swigs of Malmsey or Rhenish wine. He used to say, ‘Once they have become men and have drunk so much, they will never lose their heads because of the influence of wine.’ Thus perhaps had Cyrus the younger been raised. Once, when he was urging the Lacedaemonians to join him, he said that his heart was far more stout than that of his brother, because he had drunk more wine than him and could hold it better to boot. But it seems like a foolish and empty precaution to be always drunk as a way of avoiding drunkenness. Those who are thus raised do not ruin their minds, but rather, ensure the continuation of a stupid mind and a perpetually clinging drunkenness. There is no memory there, no lively intellect, no desire of the good arts, no eagerness for glory or distinction.

Come over to the dark side! Learn about the grim history of food

Relatum est mihi ex Bohemis proceribus quondam fuisse, qui liberos ab infantia suos atque ab ipsis incunabulis solius Malvatici aut Rivoli magnis et crebris haustibus assuefaceret. Sic enim aiebat: ‘postquam viri fuerint multumque biberint, nullius vini potentia mentem amittent.’ Sic fortasse nutritus fuerat Cyrus iunior, qui cum Lacedaemonios, ut secum societatem inirent, hortaretur, cor sibi, dicebat, longe gravius esse quam fratri, nam et plus meri quam ille biberet et melius ferret. Stulta et inanis cautio, ne sis aliquando ebrius, semper erbium esse. Non perdunt, cum maxime bibunt, qui sic nutriti sunt, mentem, sed stultam mentem adhaerentemque semper ebrietatem continuant. Non ibi memoria est, non vivax ingenium, non bonarum cupido artium, non gloriae, non honestatis studium.

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