A symbol of fertility, immortality, and divinity, wine was the favored drink of choice across the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Wine is mentioned frequently in biblical scriptures, and was used for everyday purposes in cooking and medicine. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Mr. Joel Butler, co-author of Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age, about the religious, cultural, and social importance of wine across the centuries.
Queen Salome Alexandra (r. 76-67 BCE) was arguably the most powerful and successful member of the Hasmonean dynasty, which governed an independent but strife-torn Judea. As the wife of King Alexander Jannaeus (r. 103-76 BCE) and then queen-regent in her own right, Salome Alexandra exercised wise judgment and remarkable personal conviction as a stateswoman. One of only two women ever to exercise sole rule over Judea, Salome Alexandra presided over a brief, but treasured era of peace. Not surprisingly, Salome Alexandra–commonly referred to as “Shelomtzion” or “Shlom Tzion” in Hebrew–is also the only woman explicitly mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls by name. Although few recognize her name, her importance to the subsequent development Judaism and Christianity is without question. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Kenneth Atkinson, Professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa, about this most distinct and enigmatic of ancient monarchs.