I’ve gathered that ancient Greeks and Romans watered their wine heavily, up to 90% water. Roman-era Talmudic sources speak of wine not being fit to drink until it had been watered (although mixtures weaker than 1:6 wine-water ratios were not deemed suitable for ritual purposes).
Why was this done? Was it to avoid getting drunk, or was this the preferred flavor? Was the wine spiced (ahem) with intoxicants other than alcohol?
Was wine stronger then—but how do you get strengths greater than 14% without distillation? (IIRC, the Romans did have a form of distillation through freezing: was this so prevalent?)
Or was this a way of making the water safe to drink—but is 2% alcohol content enough to make a difference?