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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Beer in ancient Mesopotamia

It is known that by the beginning of the fifth millennium BC, people in southern Mesopotamia—in a region known as Sumeria, which included the fertile region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers—were making ‘beer’. Fermented cereal juices were enjoyed with great popularity. The Sumerian inhabitants are considered to have been skilled brewers of beer.

Beer appears mentioned in cuneiform tablets of the third millennium, it is the traditional product hose origin is lost in the mists of time.

In Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris, fermented cereal juices enjoyed great popularity over thousands of years. The Sumerians who lived there were familiar with at least nine kinds of beer. They even regarded the beverage as a basic foodstuff: a typical Sumerian meal consisted of bread, soup or porridge, and beer.

Proto-cuneiform texts dating from 3200 to 3000 BC document that at the time when writing was invented beer was no longer simply an agricultural product of the rural settlements, but rather belonged to the products subjected to the centralized economy of Sumerian states. Beer was one of the surplus products of the new economy of early cities in which it was characteristic that production and consumption were virtually independent of each other, both being controlled by a sometime hypertrophic bureaucracy.

It was the Sumerians who, 1,800 years before the birth of Christ, composed the first hymn of praise to beer, addressed to the goddess Ninkasi. The goddess Ninkasi, for whom the modern beer was name, was the personification of beer and presided over its.

Beer was certainly one of the staples of the Mesopotamian table. Travellers carried brewing supplies to make beer on the road. The drink was used in cultic activity and was the most common base for medical potions.
Beer in ancient Mesopotamia

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