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By A. Lynn Martin (auth.)

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Extra info for Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

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The figures for most towns derive from a study of excise duties in taxation records to determine the amount of wine sold in the town each year. 2 (continued) Pisa (household of the notary Ser Ludovico) Pisa (household of Giovanni Maggiolini) Arles (noble household) Nantes Florence (consumption estimated by Lodovico Ghetti) Lyon Bologna Rome Paris Rome Lyon 1428 455 1428 683117 1429– 42 800118 15th century c. 1455 100 –200119 288120 c. 1550 17th century 1636 1637 1660 1680 c. 200121 300 –50122 210123 155124 270125 200126 The next step is to calculate the annual per capita consumption by dividing the amount of wine by the population of the town.

4 liters of wine per person per year, then 36 million liters would supply the city. The high productivity of modern agriculture makes the 36 million a much easier task than the 18–21 million. One possible explanation is that Bologna – and all the other towns in traditional Europe – was draining the wine from the countryside. As noted above, in the seventeenth century the inhabitants of French towns consumed more wine than those in the countryside, and this might also have occurred in Italy at the same time, but the French Jesuit who traveled in the area surrounding Bologna early in the eighteenth century claimed that every man, woman, and child drank wine.

Ale spoiled if it was not consumed within several days of brewing, but the addition of hops served as a preservative in beer. Wine presented more of a problem because it had to last until the next vintage, and wines were prone to spoil, especially as a result of the unsophisticated winemaking technology and before the widespread use of the cork and the bottle. Rather than discard undrinkable wine people tried to salvage it by various means. 147 Other factors might help explain away the special circumstances of women.

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