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cupbearer (GB)
bouteiller-échanson (F)

Already in the Bible in the first book of Moses (Genesis) a cupbearer of the pharaoh is mentioned. In the Middle Ages, at the princely courts, the cupbearer was a servant responsible for the drinks (Latin Buticularius or Pincerna, English Butler, French Bouteiller-Échanson). Wine was one of the main drinks at the noble courts and was often enjoyed in vast quantities and excessively. The cupbearer as overseer of the princely vineyards or wine cellar ranked next to the marshal (stable master), chamberlain (treasurer) and truchsess (also Droste, chief of the yard administration) to the four most important offices. This was an important and highly respected trust function, because in addition to the entire logistics regarding procurement, storage and serving, the cupbearer was also responsible for the quality of the drinks and also for health. It was a sensitive and responsible function, because assassination attempts using poisoned drinks were quite common in these times. Similar to the previously known in antiquity office of the Vorkosters the ruler thus entrusted the cupbearer his health and well-being.

Cupbearer in ancient Greece

Since the Carolingian period (7th century), the cupbearer was also responsible for the administration of the royal vineyards. At larger royal courts, the function of the cupbearer to the court office developed, which was often hereditary as a volunteer in a high-ranking noble family, but was mostly exercised by a deputy. Later, the Mundschenkenamt in the Holy Roman Empire German Nation even became one of the four hereditary archbishops at the imperial court, which were associated with the secular electorate dignity. The archbishopric of the imperial Reichsmunden had the King of Bohemia from 1114 onwards. But the archives as well as the imperial cupbearer were pure honorary titles. The real tasks connected with the offices were carried out by the owners of the Reichserbämter (pincerna imperii) on behalf of the electors. This was in the celebrations for the coronation of the Roman-German emperor in Frankfurt am Main responsible among other things for giving wine to the people for free. The modern form of the cup is, so to speak, the sommelier, See also below Customs in viticulture and viticulture training,

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