Deprivation on the Danube, as viewed by a newly arrived governor during the Roman Empire, posted to a wine-less, olive-free desert. Some 1,500 years later, he would surely approve of the progress made, with many fine wines produced in countries through which the Danube flows.

Still no olives, of course, but you can’t have everything.

This is from a lively work of history which brought colour and brightness to my perception of a great swathe of European history as somehow having been mired in the darkness often attributed to it.

Wishing you ample olives and plentiful wine.

‘A Greek senator from Asia Minor, posted to a governorship on the Danube, could only pity himself: “The inhabitants … lead the most miserable existence of all mankind,’ he wrote, ‘for they cultivate no olives and they drink no wine.'”‘


Source: Quoted in Peter Brown,The World of Late Antiquity AD 150-750 (London: Thames & Hudson, 1971 (1995)), p. 11

Photo credit: Trixieliko at pixabay


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