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cupbearer

cupbearer (GB)
échanson (F)

Designation (also Hofschenk) for the function at stately courtyards or noble houses for the supply and tasting of drinks as above all Wine, Due to the constant (and often well-founded) fear of intrigue and poisoning attempts, this responsibility was mostly transferred to noblemen to whom the sovereign had full confidence. Already in the Bible in the first book of Moses (Genesis) a cupbearer of the pharaoh is mentioned. At the court of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) Iolaos (son of the commander Antipater) worked as a cupbearer. He is said to have poisoned according to a no longer valid as a credible hypothesis on behalf of his father Alexander. In the Middle Ages, the Bouteiller was responsible for the cellar and the drinks at the royal courts (Latin Buticularius or Pincerna, English Butler). The Échanson (waiter) was responsible for tasting the drinks before the meal. It was also common that both had to try. Responsibility has often been transferred through the two functions of a person (Bouteiller-Échanson).

Cupbearer in ancient Greece

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 at ruler courts. This was an important and highly respected trust function, because in addition to the entire logistics in terms of procurement, storage and serving, the cup was also responsible for the quality of the drinks as well as in terms of health. It was a sensitive and responsible function, because assassination attempts with poisoned drinks were quite frequent and relatively successful in these times. Similar to the previously known in antiquity Office of the Vorkosters the ruler entrusted to the cup so his health and well-being.

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. The archives as well as that of 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,

Source: Mundschenk - WIKIPEDIA
Image by Euaion Painter - Jastrow , Public domain, Link

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