Watering of Wine: A Firmly Set Etiquette

"The page-boy who has cost so many thousands cannot mix a drink for a poor man; but then his beauty, his youth, justify disdain. When will he get as far as you? When does he listen to your request for water, hot or cold?" (Juvenal, The Satires V.50) 

During a Roman banquet (convivium) it was the host's responsibility to sense when the interest in a particular topic was waning, and have some fresh question ready to keep the conversation bouyant—odd ones, sometimes, such as the perennially vexing which came first, the chicken or the egg (see Plutarch, Table Talk II.3-9). And was it right to strain wine free of its fermentation sediment?—some thought so, some thought not.

The issue of the dilution of wine with hot or cold water (sometimes snow), and by how much, also was debated intensely, often with brilliant scholarly recourse to literature, past and near-forgotten.