Friday, July 21, 2017

Biblical kings and gigantic wine bottles

PHILOLOGOS: Why Are Extremely Large Wine Bottles Named after Biblical Kings? The convoluted story of jeroboams, rehoboams, methuselahs, and more (Mosaic Magazine).
Ours is not a Bible-reading age. Ask the average American what the names Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Nebuchadnezzar, and Shalmaneser have in common and he is more likely to guess that all belong to rock bands than that they belong to biblical kings. And even though ours is a wine-drinking age, how many of those who know the right answer would know that there is a second answer, too: namely, that these same names also denote different sizes of wine bottles?

This makes me think of the song The Mesopotamians by They Might Be Giants. Also, for some reason it really pleases me that the largest bottle of wine (30 liters!) is called a "melchizedek."

Be all that as it may, Philologos proposes a very plausible answer to the question in the headline.

Cross-file under Asking the Important Questions.

P.S. Yes, I know that Methuselah was an antediluvian patriarch, not a king, and that Melchior is a postbiblical name for one of Matthew's magi, who are unnamed in the Bible and who aren't called kings. Don't be such a nerd.

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