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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Ancient beer

Beer is at present the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and is the most popular drink after water and tea. Throughout history, different types of alcoholic beverages made from a whole range of products (fruits, sugar cane, honey, and cereals such as barley, wheat, oats, millets, rye, and maize), have been labeled ‘beer’.

The technique of brewing beer was, in fact, an early technological achievement which presumably pre-dates considerably the advent of the Sumerians in the lowlands of the Mesopotamian alluvial plane.

Proto-cuneiform texts dating from 3200 to 3000 BC document that at the time when writing was invented beer was no longer simply an ag-ricultural product of the rural settlements, but rather belonged to the products subjected to the centralized economy of Sumerian states.

Cornelius Tacitus (AD56–120) referred to the drink of the German Teutons as:‘a horrible brew fermented from barley or wheat, a brew which has only a very far removed similarity to wine’. Later on, the Roman Emperor Julian (who ruled from AD361 to 363) wrote a poem about what he called the ‘two Dionysi’, i.e. two gods, one for wine and one for beer.

Beer drinking in ancient Europe, as a mainly communal activity, was inevitably surrounded by complex notions and attitudes.

The beer drinkers themselves left us almost no written records until the fifth century AD, when the Roman Empire fell to the Germans and beer drinking again became widespread among all elements of society, especially due to the important influence of British and Irish monasticism (particularly under St Columban).

On the late pre-hispanic Peruvian north coast, local lords distributed chicha to their followers, even serving it as they traveled through the countryside during administrative tours. When colonial authorities attempted to ban chicha, the lords protested that without beer their subjects would not work. Chicha was also brewed by specialist households who livedin separate communities with their own political leaders.

Evidence for brewing has been found at centers of the Moche and ChimĂș (13th–15th century AD) polities, and may represent the provisioning of state workers, or the hosting of periodic feasts
Ancient beer

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