Ambrose on, uh, the church?

And so Christ feeds his church with these sacraments, by which the soul’s substance is made strong. And seeing that her grace’s boundaries are extending, he says to her, How beautiful are your breasts, my sister, my bride! How beautiful they are made from the wine, and the scent of your clothes surpasses all spices. Your lips are a dripping honeycomb, my bride, honey and milk lie under your tongue, and the scent of your clothes is like the scent of Lebanon. An enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden, a sealed fountain [Song of Songs 4.10–12]. Which means that the mystery should remain sealed in you, so that it is not violated by the deeds of an evil life, by infidelity against your chastity, and so that it is not made known to those for whom it is not suitable, nor spread among the faithless by babbling chatter.

His igitur sacramentis pascit Ecclesiam suam Christus, quibus animae firmatur substantia: meritoque videns profectum ejus gratiae continentem, dicit ad eam: Quam decora facta sunt ubera tua, soror mea sponsa! Quam decora facta sunt a vino: et odor vestimentorum tuorum super omnia aromata! Favus distillans labia tua, o sponsa, mel et lac sub lingua tua, et odor vestimentorum tuorum sicut odor Libani. Hortus conclusus, soror mea sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus. Quo significat signatum debere apud te manere mysterium, ne violetur operibus malae vitae, atque adulterio castitatis, ne divulgetur quibus non convenit, ne garrula loquacitate dispergatur in perfidos.

—Ambrose, De mysteriis 55

Uh, sure, dude. You need a glass of water?

Epiphanius on Encratites

But when they are refuted, they blaspheme him [Paul] by calling him a drunk. They go around chasing words and seize upon any that oppose those who drink wine in order to benefit their opinion, their made-up position, and they say that such is by nature something worthless. For, they say, “Noah drank wine and was stripped bare,” and they say, “Lot, after he drank, slept with his own daughters in ignorance, and the calf was made because of drunkenness.” And scripture says, “Who is confused? Who wants to fight? Who is odious and gossipy? Who is ruined for no reason? Whose eyes are inflamed? Isn’t it those who spend their time in wine? Isn’t it those who hunt for places where there are drinks?” And they hunt for other such things and heap them up together to persuade themselves, not understanding that all immoderation causes grief in every way, and is forbidden beyond measure. I would not only say this regarding wine, but regarding every craving.

ἀλλὰ ἐλεγχόμενοι βλασφημοῦσι τοῦτον μεθυστὴν καλοῦντες, εἰς ἑαυτῶν δὲ γνώμην καὶ παράστασιν μυθολογίας κατὰ τῶν πινόντων τὸν οἶνον ἐπιλαμβάνονταί τινα θηρολεκτοῦντες καί φασιν ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ τὸ τοιοῦτον εἶδος εἶναι· «ἔπιε, γάρ φησι, Νῶε ἀπὸ τοῦ οἴνου καὶ ἐγυμνώθη, καὶ Λώτ, φησί, μεθυσθεὶς θυγατράσιν ἰδίαις κατὰ ἄγνοιαν συνεμίγη καὶ διὰ μέθης γέγονεν ἡ μοσχοποιία· καί φησιν ἡ γραφή· τίνι θόρυβος; τίνι μάχαι; τίνι ἀηδίαι καὶ λέσχαι; τίνι συντρίμματα διὰ κενῆς; τίνος πελιδνοὶ οἱ ὀφθαλμοί; οὐ τῶν χρονιζόντων ἐν οἴνοις, οὐ τῶν ἐξιχνευόντων ποῦ πότοι γίνονται» [Prov 23.29–30]; καὶ ἄλλα τινὰ τοιαῦτα ἐξιχνεύοντες συσσωρεύουσι διὰ τὴν ἑαυτῶν πιθανότητα, οὐκ εἰδότες ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἄμετρον πανταχῇ λυπηρὸν καὶ ἔξω τοῦ προκειμένου ἀπηγορευμένον ὑπάρχει. καὶ γὰρ οὐ μόνον ἐπὶ οἴνῳ τοῦτο εἴποιμ’ ἄν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπὶ πάσῃ ἀπληστίᾳ.

—Epiphanius, Panarion 46.2.3–6

The Meaning of Wine

Wine (vinum) is so called because it is a drink that quickly refills the veins (venas)with blood. Others call it Lyaeus, because it loosens (solvat) us from our cares. The ancients called wine (vinum) venom (venenum); but after poison from a deadly sap was discovered, they called the one wine, and the other venom.

Vinum inde dictum quod eius potus venas sanguine cito repleat. Hoc alii, quod nos cura solvat, Lyaeum appellant. Veteres vinum venenum vocabant; sed postquam inventus est virus letiferi sucus, hoc vinum vocatum, illud venenum.

—Isidore, Etymologicae 20.3.2

The Value of a Good Education?

He was voracious when it came to wine and food, sometimes to the point of drunkenness, but only in the evening hours. Though he would eat a very small breakfast, even in private, he would be very extravagant at dinner. He would bring intellectuals to his feasting, as though he would be more moderate by necessity when talking about liberal studies.

vini cibique avidissimus, nonnumquam usque ad ebrietatem, sed vespertinis horis. nam si prandisset vel privatim parcissimus, in cena effusissimus. adhibuit convivio litteratos, ut loquens de studiis liberalibus necessario abstemius.

Historia Augusta, Macrinus 13.4–5

The Party Begins

And so, however our weariness was cast aside, we retrieved our dinner clothes and were led into the next room. In it, three couches were laid out and the remaining preparation for magnificent things was most splendidly on show. So after we were asked to, we lied down, and after a marvelous first course started, we were flooded by wine—and it was Falernian.

Vtcunque ergo lassitudine abiecta cenatoria repetimus et in proximam cellam ducti sumus, in qua tres lecti strati erant et reliquus lautitiarum apparatus splendidissime expositus. Iussi ergo discubuimus, et gustatione mirifica initiati vino etiam Falerno inundamur.

—Petronius, Satyricon 21

Arnobius on the Gods

The reaper’s scythe, for instance, which is attributed to Saturn—that had been something to inspire fear in mortals, that they should prefer to live peaceably and cast off their malicious desires; and Janus, with his doubled head, or that toothy key by which he is distinguished; Jupiter, with a cloak and beard, holding in his right hand a piece of kindling fashioned like a lightning bolt; that gauntlet of Juno, or the little girl lurking under a soldier’s helmet; the mother of the Gods, with her drum; the muses, with their flute sand with their lutes; winged Mercury; shining Asclepius, with his serpent-bearing staff; Ceres, with her large breasts, or the drinking cup hanging in Liber’s right hand; Mulciber, with his craftsman’s clothes, or Fortune, with her horn filled with apples, figs, and autumn’s bounty; Diana, with her thighs half-covered, or Venus, naked and stirring up desire; Anubis, with his dog face, or Priapus, less important than his own genitals.

Falx messoria scilicet, quae est attributa Saturno, metum fuerat iniectura mortalibus, vitam vellent ut pacificam degere ac malitiosas abicere voluntates, fronte Ianus ancipiti aut dentata illa qua insignitus est clavis, riciniatus Iuppiter atque barbatus, dextra fomitem sustinens perdolatum in fulminis morem, Iunonius ille caestus, aut militari sub galea puellula delitiscens, deum Mater <cum> tympano, cum tibiis et cum psalteriis Musae, Mercurius pinnatus, anguifero nitens Aesculapius baculo, Caeres mammis cum grandibus aut in Liberi dextera pendens potorius cantharus, Mulciber fabrili cum habitu aut Fortuna cum cornu pomis ficis aut frugibus autumnalibus pleno, semitectis femoribus Diana aut ad libidinem concitans Venus nuda, Anubis canina cum facie aut genitalibus propriis inferior Priapus.

—Arnobius, Adversus nationes 6.25.1

Another Latin author specifying Liber (and Mulciber!) instead of Dionysus/Bacchus; see the post on Jerome here. I also love how the fear-inspiring attributes get less and less fear-inspiring as the passage goes on, right up until the kicker.