He was worshipped at night and in secret with shameful rituals. Since, by the true Bacchus, I do not recognize you; I know only the son of Zeus. While he smells like nectar, you smell like a billy-goat [or spelt]. Can it be then that the Celts because of a lack of grapes made you from cereals? Photograph by Robert Weir. This poem is regularly cited as the epitome of the negative view of beer in Greco-Roman antiquity.
For example, tragos can mean both billy-goat and the cereal spelt, and thus the word lends itself perfectly to a joke about the goat-like smell of spelt beer; but this need not mean that beer was really foul smelling or that Julian thought so. When the sons of Aegyptus land in Argos in pursuit, they send a herald as their representative to force the Danaids to their ships. However, there is better evidence from comic dramatists that the drinking of beer continued to be made fun of, particularly with regards to its effeminate qualities.
Cratinus was infamously fond of wine, and his personal predilection seems to have been central to his own brilliant The Wine Flask of BC. It is possible that with this fondness for wine came a disdain for beer, and he may have followed Aeschylus in considering the latter effeminate, like silky fabrics.
Edited By Christian Scholl, Torben R. Gebhardt and Jan Clauß
Here too there seems to be an implication that beer causes weakness. But why did such a prejudice arise? Presumably there was something about the processing of the cereal in the manufacture of beer that was thought to produce negative qualities, while only positive qualities were thought to result from the processing of cereal in the manufacture of bread or porridge. In the Hippocratic work on harmful comestibles various types of wine, vinegar, and mead are discussed, but not beer.
It was not until Galen commented on this work in the second century AD that beer and other alcohol beverages were added to this list though he did not say anything of substance about beer in his commentary. In the Hippocratic work on diet as well as in other Hippocratic works , four basic attributes of people and of comestibles are spoken of: hotness, coldness, dryness, and wetness. Wine is considered to be usually hot, though some varieties can be cold, a notion that would remain prevalent throughout antiquity.
Cereals, on the other hand, are considered to be generally cold and wet, but their nature can change due to how they are prepared for example, if baked in bread the quality of the cereal becomes hot. Since beer is not mentioned in the Hippocratic corpus we must turn to much later authors beginning with Galen in the second century AD to find out that beer in this sort of scheme is considered to be usually cold, though some varieties can be hot. It would seem then that it was believed that the way that cereals were processed to make beer did not alter their basic cold nature. Furthermore, there can be little doubt that the hot and the male were considered superior to the cold and the female.
The more reliable quote runs: But a peculiar thing happens in the case of the [drink made] of barley, the so-called pinon. Under the influence of all other intoxicants, those who become intoxicated fall in all directions, sometimes to the left, or to the right, or onto their fronts, or onto their backs. Indeed, the etymology of pinon is rather problematic. It may not be far-fetched to consider it a Macedonian term, which Aristotle knew from his homeland, and perhaps one used to designate Thracian barley beer. Aristotle here presents two categories of intoxicants, those which cause heavy- headedness and those that are stupefying.
Furthermore, the effect of the barley beer is described quite differently in both passages. What is clear, however, is that Aristotle does not classify wine and beer together as alcohol-based intoxicants, but rather classes wine with opium, mandrake, and lolium, and beer in a separate category.
A number of his students followed him in writing works on intoxication, including his greatest pupil, Theophrastus. There is a story that when Aristotle was sick and was begged by his students to choose a successor, two candidates came to mind, Theophrastus of Lesbos and Eudemus of Rhodes. To tactfully explain his choice he asked for Rhodian and Lesbian wine to be brought to him and, after tasting each of them, he said that the Lesbian was better.
Not only did the ancients not know that both beer and wine were alcoholic beverages, they also did not know that in both wine and beer this substance comes about through the interaction of yeast and sugar. Indeed it seems that they knew that yeast was needed for beer, but there is no evidence that they realized this concerning other alcoholic beverages, and in fact some evidence that they did not in the case of wine. Since the process of malting is basically a sprouting and killing of grains, the process of fermentation in beer was logically seen as a subsequent decompo- sition of the cereal.
Thus Theophrastus speaks of beers as being made from cereal which has departed from its nature and has somewhat rotted, and many other Greek and Roman authors would later describe beer in the same way, as we will see. It is interesting that beer is made from cereal which in a sense has twice died, its germination having been terminated and it being further subsequently ground. Plutarch goes on to say: On the other hand, yeast itself also arises out of corruption and corrupts the dough when mixed [with it] since the dough becomes slack and inert and leavening [or fermentation] on the whole is similar to rotting.
Wine was a pure, hot, manly beverage, which had its own particular effects on the drinker heavy-headedness according to Aristotle while beer was a corrupted, cold, effeminate beverage, which had different effects on the drinker stupefaction according to Aristotle. It also involved two other important notions: moderation and discrimination. Both the Cretan and Spartan believe that the main focus of the state must be victory in foreign wars, and thus their laws, intent on fostering courage, dictate that they abstain from pleasures and train their bodies in the resistance to pain.
The Spartan further explains that his native legislation outlaws drinking parties symposia and drunkenness, even at festivals of Dionysus the god of intoxication. The Athenian argues that it is more important for the state to ensure domestic peace, and that a more essential virtue than courage is temperance; he further adds that the forcible denial of pleasure means that when it will be encountered it will be harder to resist. Turning to the subject of intoxication, the Athenian, who later claims to have inquired into nearly all the different drinking customs of various peoples, says to the Spartan: I am not talking about the general drinking of wine or not, but about intoxication itself, whether it is right as the Scythians and Persians take it, and, further, the Carthaginians and Celts and Iberians and Thracians, all these being bellicose races, or as you [that is, the Spartans].
The Athenian in the end goes on to praise as best the Athenian symposium, or drinking party, through which, if properly regulated by a sober leader the symposiarch with the moderate consumption of wine, people would be educated in temperance and in the mastery of pleasure and pain and desire. Also, in his Philebus Plato has Socrates liken mixing water with wine with combining wisdom with pleasure.
Later in the Laws, the Athenian further suggests that no one under eighteen drink wine, that no one under thirty become intoxicated, and that one may only be intoxicated after that at festivals of Dionysus. First, there is the habit, best exemplified among Scythians and Thracians, of overindulgence, involving alcoholic drink not watered down as well as spilling. While Plato certainly cannot necessarily be thought of as representing the general opinion of Athenians or Greeks in his day, other sources demonstrate that distinctions were often made between two different drinking ideologies.
Manliness is thus connected with the amount one drinks; but as we have seen in the last chapter, manliness could also be connected to what one drinks. Similarly, the sophist Antiphon had noted that all humans are born the same, not born as Greeks or barbarians. Further on in the Laws the Athenian Stranger suggests that the climate of places determines whether better or worse men will be born there, and that the type of food produced in a place affects the bodies as well as the souls of men for good or evil.
Thus northerners including Thracians and Scythians cannot help but be passionate and spirited, the easterners Phoenicians and Egyptians love money, and the Greeks love knowledge. Furthermore, in his Timaeus Plato has Critias report that the priests of Sais in Egypt declared that Athena had chosen the location for the Athenians since she noticed that due to the climate it would be a place where very wise men would be born.
Aristotle would later say in his Politics that people from cold climates are courageous, but not very intelligent or skilful nor capable of ruling well; easterners are intelligent and skilful, but not courageous and not capable of ruling; Greeks however, because of their ideal geographic position, are courageous and intelligent and able to rule all peoples.
And so, the poor northerners, living as they did in a colder climate, were inevitably passionate and aggressive, and could not help but be immoderate drinkers. Where grapes were not as abundant wine would have to be made from other fruits or even from cereals. It was also known, for instance, that in north Africa the lotus or jujube fruit was used to make wine.
The usual approach by commentators on this passage has been either to vindicate Herodotus or to impugn the veracity of his statement. Usually Herodotus is said to be completely wrong, since vines did in fact grow in Egypt. Others excuse him by noting that he never visited the vine-growing districts of the Delta. The contradiction has been explained by suggesting that Herodotus thought that the grape wine in Egypt was imported or that Herodotus did know that vines grew in Egypt, and was simply saying that they did not grow in southern Egypt.
However, Herodotus can be understood without reference to any outside facts. Herodotus assumes that if one were to have wine there would be no need for beer; therefore if one has beer one does not have wine. Herodotus, as vinocentric as he is, does not, at least explicitly, disparage beer, and he explains its use because of a purported fact concerning the environment: that vines do not grow in Egypt.
Herodotus elsewhere says that because of the unique Egyptian climate, and the unique nature of the Nile, the Egyptians are the exact opposite of others; thus, for instance, in Egypt women urinate standing, while men squat.
It is not careful anthropological observation that lies behind this kind of statement, but rather the assumed close connection between differences in environment and cultural alterity. Herodotus further says that the Scythians make a drink from the fruit of the Pontic tree, a type of cherry, and milk, but again does not specify whether or not it is intoxicating. The poet Anacreon wrote: Come once more, let us no longer practise Scythian drinking of wine with clashing and shouting, but drink moderately with beautiful songs.
The Scythians were particularly noted for drinking their wine unmixed. Indeed Greeks and later Romans often considered drinking straight wine a dangerous practice which could lead to insanity; some even thought that the regular drinking of a half and half mixture could lead to insanity. Oddly, Herodotus further says that the Scythians reproached the Greeks for following the rites of Bacchus another name for Dionysus since they thought that this led to madness. However, they did pour libations of wine to their war god and Herodotus also says that they had wine at their annual banquet, at which time those Scythians who had slain enemies were allowed to drink from the bowl, while those who did not had to sit apart in disgrace.
In the anonymous peripatetic Problems it is said that the Scythians, and in fact all who are courageous, are fond of wine because they have a hot temperament. The comic poet Antiphanes in his Bacchae also said that vines did not grow in Scythia. Herodotus reported that the Scythians threw the seeds of cannabis, that is hemp, onto hot stones within three-poled felt tents and they howled. However, it seems that Herodotus did not quite understand the narcotic properties of the seeds since he asserted that the Scythians followed this practice as a way of cleansing their bodies in a steam bath rather than washing their bodies with water.
The Scythians apparently also made beer from other types of cereal. One lexicon from the early Roman Empire says that the Scythians made beer with millet. The attendants following us carried millet and the drink supplied from barley. The barbarians call it kamon. Since the Scythians were famous for drinking their wine straight, we may presume that they also drank their beer straight too, as barbarians were certainly only expected to do. A distinction is made between drinking habits on the basis of the quantity of alcohol normally consumed as well as the level of discrimination between various types of intoxicants.
To an extent this could be forgiven on climatic grounds, since poor environmental conditions could make one immoderate and force one to drink such inferior drinks as beer. What remains striking in our ancient sources is, on the one hand, the lack of variety of intoxicants found among the Greeks and later Romans , and, on the other hand, the great variety of intoxicants among other European peoples. Greeks already knew of the Celts from 16 the sixth century BC on, and at least by the fourth century BC could speak of 17 them as a people who overindulged in drink.
Thus, as we have seen in the last 18 chapter, Plato so characterized the Celts, and perhaps he knew of their drinking 19 habits through his encounter with the Celtic mercenaries hired by Dionysius 20 of Syracuse, at whose court he stayed. The chieftain was buried not only with a wagon, but with a 38 litre bronze cauldron made in Greece, as well as nine gold-adorned drinking 39 horns.
An analysis of the cauldron has turned up pollen and beeswax residue 40 which suggests that it had contained honey, pointing thus to mead or honey 41 beer. Other similar princely tombs have been found to contain drinking sets. These Celts too, no doubt, were drinkers of various alcoholic beverages, including beer.
Arruns therefore imported wine to the Gauls, which was said to have been unknown to them at the time, to entice them to cross the Alps and attack Clusium to acquire direct access to the product. Dionysius goes on to say in a later passage that when the Gauls took to drinking wine they drank it unmixed. Thus it is clear that while the Roman product was readily accepted among the Gauls, the Roman and Greek drinking ideology was not.
The Roman historian Livy, writing just around the time of Christ, has it that the Roman commander Camillus knew that the Gauls in Rome ate much and drank much wine and left their camp unguarded, and thus he led an attack on their camp in which the Gauls were slaughtered. Another account has it that the Romans, knowing that the Gauls were very addicted to wine, gave them wine as a present a sort of Trojan horse if you will , and then attacked them and slaughtered them while drunk. Similarly, some thirteen years later, when certain Gauls were camped on the Anio River and were full of food as well as drunk, the Romans again attacked and slaughtered them.
It is usually thought that the Etruscans and Greeks as early as the sixth century BC brought wine to southern Gaul which, we can assume was at this time a place of beer and mead drinking. In the standard foundation story, a local King named Nanos or Nannos invited a Greek merchant to a feast at which his daughter would choose whom she would wed by proffering a cup to the man. The princess chose the Greek, and the King, accepting her choice, gave them the land on which Massalia would be founded. Strabo said only that Massalia was a good place for the growing of olive trees and vines but not cereals, while as one went further north, though vines could not easily bring their fruit to maturity, there was much cereal, including millet.
And at least at one point in its history, women of Massalia were not allowed to drink wine, but only water. We know from Strabo that Posidonius had personally been to Gaul since he had seen head trophies there , and if he had not been to Massalia, he at least had had a Massalian guide named Charmoleon. It is quite probable in fact that Strabo relied on Posidonius for his description of the place. When there are many of them they sit in a circle, with their best warrior sitting right in the middle, and they are served by attendants Diodorus says that these are their children, and he also adds that they invite strangers at their meals.
Their drink either wine or beer as we will see, or milk as Strabo says is served in a clay or silver container which is passed around, each person having a shot. Diodorus adds that when they eat, food often gets stuck in their moustaches and that when they drink their moustaches act as strainers.
Finally, Posidonius also says that often disputes during the meal especially over the best cut of meat or a jar of wine erupt into full combat, and sometimes some attending are even killed. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, perhaps following Posidonius, also said that the Celts did not have grape wine or olive oil, but used beer instead. However, though the Gauls did not have their own wine they did have it imported.
At one point Athenaeus says that Posidonius explains that in southern Gaul, the upper class that is, the chieftains avoided beer and drank wine from Italy and Massalia. Though they still had not fully accepted Greco-Roman practice, since, Posidonius explains, they drank the wine unmixed with water or with only a little water, Gauls did consider wine an upper-class beverage.
Diodorus of Sicily, in a passage which was also clearly indebted to Posidonius, states that the Gauls were addicted to the wine imported by Italian merchants, which they drank unmixed and in immoderate amounts, to the point of falling into stupors. This type of wealthy Celtic feast had already been known among the Galatians Celts who inhabited Asia Minor long before.
Phylarchus in the third century BC said that the very wealthy Ariamnes put on a feast open to all Galatians and even strangers passing by which lasted a whole year; he built temporary banqueting halls throughout the land, and provided at all of these a variety of meats as well as jars of wine. He further says that the inhabitants of Transalpine Gaul were not allowed to plant vines or olive trees, so that the Italians could have a monopoly in the wine and olive oil trade.
To further easily transport Italian wine inland, the thirsty Gauls, it seems, came up with an ingenious solution. While the amphora with its pointed end was ideal for stacking in the hull of a ship it was rather clumsy for land transport. The solution was to fasten together staves of wood in a cylindrical shape, thus creating the barrel. This is an ideal container for alcoholic beverages as its use still today testifies; it is relatively light more so than ceramic containers, such as the Italian amphoras , easily transportable by rolling , and good for storage and ageing.
We need not assume that Strabo here is indulging in undue hyperbole, since ancient barrels with capacities of over 1, litres have indeed been found. And indeed the remains of a barrel dating to Roman times have even been found in Manching, Switzerland among other places. Pliny also says that yew when used by Gauls for the transportation of wine proved poisonous. However, the analysis of archaeological remains of barrel hoops, staves, and stoppers has proven only that these containers were used for wine.
Similarly, the Celtic god Sucellus, who is often associated with barrels and the tools of the cooper in iconography, has also sometimes been identified as a beer god. However, in one relief from Kinheim, Germany, he is clearly shown holding a bunch of grapes, while two barrels are seen behind him, while another statue of the god, from Javols, France, shows him with barrels, vines, and an amphora, thus showing that he was the patron of makers of wine barrels.
Other depictions of barrels which exist from the second century AD on do not associate them with beer in any way. It is called korma. It makes sense that a honey beer, which would be more expensive to make and which would tend to be stronger and sweeter, would be considered a better product than a plain beer.
This clearly implies that barley was normally used as food for the horses at least Pliny the Elder remarked some centuries later that barley bread used to be common but was in his day mainly used for livestock , though we also learn from other sources that rations of barley rather than wheat were provided to soldiers when supplies were low or as a punishment. Furthermore, in antiquity, as today, the cereal most used for beer was barley since it is very hardy and easily cultivated as well as malted, more so than wheat.
As I have shown in Chapter 2, this term was used specifically of Egyptian beer in earlier sources, and it may be Posidonius who coined this generic use of the term. However, it is unclear whether the term korma is meant to apply to both the honey wheat beer and the plain beer or simply the latter. It is difficult to assess the accuracy of this statement, which is clearly again indebted to Posidonius.
There is also an ambiguity in the passage since Diodorus could be referring to one drink a honey barley beer, made from the honeyed water remaining after honeycombs are washed or to two drinks, namely barley beer and mead. Pliny unfortunately does not give a full listing of the Gallic beer varieties. He does say at one point that one type was known as cervesia and at another point that Gauls had wheat beer.
Either of these could also be made with honey. This would seem to embody the two things that a Gallic man sought most. These were their first conquests of beer-drinking peoples. The Gallic taste for beer has Figure 5. By permission of Editions Errance, Paris, France. In BC a part of the peninsula was annexed into two provinces Nearer and Further Spain , which gradually expanded in size, but many of the native peoples continued to rebel against Roman rule.
The situation had come to a head by BC, when Scipio the Younger, who had led the destruction of Carthage in BC, forever ridding the Romans of the Phoenician domination of the western Mediterranean, was made Consul a second time and was sent to Spain to end the resistance once and for all. One author, the historian Florus, from around the late second century AD, claimed that the Numantians also ate a meal of half-raw meat, and believed that this, along with the beer, constituted a sort of mortuary dinner that is, a banquet held at tombs of the deceased , the Numantians thus consuming things contrary to the normal human diet which, clearly, was conceived to be cooked meat and wine since they considered themselves already in a sense dead as they had resigned themselves to dying in battle.
If anything this betrays a Greco-Roman view of the matter, in which it is assumed that the drinking of such a thing as beer must be abnormal. This makes much more sense from what is known of Celts in general. Orosius even describes the malting process used in making this beer, in which the cereal is soaked and presumably allowed to germinate , dried, reduced to flour, mixed with water, and then fermented. Evidently, Polybius was struck by the fact that a lowly beverage such as barley beer should be found incongruously in expensive vessels.
A similar usage was made by Xenophon, as we have seen in Chapter 2, and here again we may presume that it is a slip and that the Celtiberians, like other beer drinkers, drank the beverage straight. It was after the Roman expansion into the peninsula that the locals were introduced to wine or at least introduced to systematic viticulture.
They quickly drink up what they have, feasting with kinsfolk. Instead of olive oil they use butter. By the time of the Empire viticulture was certainly thriving. Thus again the drinking of wine is likened to being civilized. He further said that they called it caelia and cerea. We have already seen that the former term was used by other ancient authors. The latter word, however, is found nowhere certainly, but has been restored in one inscription to be discussed. This clearly suggests that wine, when available, was the drink of choice in his homeland, and thus that the Roman conquest of Spain was not only a political success but an ideological one as well.
Julius Caesar noted of these Celtic peoples: Of all of these [that is, Gauls] the Belgians are the bravest, because they are furthest removed from the culture and the civilization of the Province [of Gallia Narbonensis] and not often do merchants visit them and introduce the commodities that make for effeminate spirits; and also because they are nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they continually wage war. Later, he says that the Gauls in general are less brave than the Germans because of their acquaintance with Roman luxuries.
What exactly these luxurious commodities are, Caesar does not explicitly say in these passages, though he elsewhere specifies that an item believed by the Belgian Nervii as well as Germans to cause effeminacy was imported wine. He notes: There was no means of access unto them [that is, the Nervii] for merchants since they allowed no wine nor any of the other appur- tenances of luxury to be imported, because they supposed that their spirits would be enfeebled by these things and their courage slackened. Everything else has pointed to the barbarians being relatively indiscriminate and accepting wine along with other fermented beverages.
If indeed the Belgian Gauls and the Germans avoided wine at this time, the question as to what they consumed instead beer or mead, for instance naturally comes to mind. Caesar says only that the Germans have milk, cheese, and meat. Nowhere does he mention beer, though he does note that there was an abundance of cereal in northern Gaul, and shows that there were already Roman dealers interested in it in his day.
There can be little doubt that the Belgian Gauls themselves used this cereal to make beer. Some scholars have suggested that shoe- or boot-shaped vessels which have been found in Gallic territory were used as beer vessels as they still are today in Germany , though we cannot be sure. Rather, it seems that a wide variety of vessels were used for beer, including some that would also be used for wine, and the only way to identify them as beer vessels is either through the detection of beer residue as we saw in Chapter 2 or from inscriptions on the vessels themselves.
A number of vessels have been found in northern Gaul with Latin or Gallic inscriptions or a mixture of both indicating their use in beer drinking. The other side makes a mention of spiced wine Figure 5. Similar shaped vessels have been found in the province of Hainaut in Belgium and in the Rhineland and Trier regions in Germany. It is also sometimes further assumed that this soldier supplied his beer to fellow-soldiers, which is possible though far from certain. One of them is the newly discovered tombstone from the St Matthias Church grounds in Trier of a Fortunatus though it is admittedly quite fragmentary Figure 5.
These breweries would have been part of ancient villas, and we know from extensive archaeological as well as some literary evidence that the ancient territory of the Belgian Gauls during the Roman Empire was dominated by large private villas which were fully self- sufficient agricultural estates.
A small tower nearby contained an oven, which could have been used to roast the germinated cereals before brewing. A cellar found in the neighbouring residence, with a ramp facing the brewery, was suggested to be the storeroom for barrels of beer produced on the estate, although, as we have seen, there is no evidence for beer being stored in barrels at this time.
By permission of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier. It has been plausibly suggested that the cellar and hollow meant for a cauldron? By permission of the Rheinisches Landes- museum Trier. Northern Gaul thus remained an important beer-producing area during Roman rule and widespread acceptance of wine seems to have come there quite a bit later than in southern Gaul and Celtiberia. Strabo himself thought it uninhabited and considered what Pytheas had said about it to have been lies having found no information on it in more recent authors , and he stated instead that the inhabited land furthest to the north was likely Ireland though its inhabitants were barely human, being completely savage incestuous cannibals.
There is an ambiguity here: Pytheas could be speaking of beer and mead separately or of a honey beer of the type we saw the Gauls drank. As we have seen in Chapter 2, there is in fact quite a bit of evidence that beer and mead have probably been drunk in Scotland since very early times. Diodorus of Sicily, perhaps also ultimately indebted to Pytheas, explains that Britons have a special way of harvesting crops; they cut off only the heads of the cereal, store them, and then grind them as they need to eat.
Indeed many Iron Age granaries have been found in Britain. Caesar claimed that the most civilized of the Britons were those of Kent ancient Cantium by the sea, who lived much like the Gauls, while the inlanders for the most part did not grow cereal.
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The Trinovantes in Essex, who were supported by the Romans, used a vine leaf on their coins while their rivals the Catuvellauni in Hertfordshire used as their motif an ear of barley. In such kilns at a Roman site at Catsgore, Wales, malted spelt was even found. Viticulture itself was probably not introduced until the Roman conquest in AD We can only assume that their main drink continued to be beer or else mead.
These were not troops of Italian stock, but rather auxiliaries, recruited from among the provincial populace. A large number of tablets have been found at Vindolanda on which are recorded the day-to-day activities of the soldiers. There is some question as to whether this was a member of the military personnel who made the beer, or a civilian who made and sold the beer to the troops. On another tablet there is an account from AD in which the price for the beer cervesa is recorded at 8 asses a small unit of Roman currency per metreta a liquid measure.
Furthermore, other tablets as well as archaeological evidence point to the local brewing of the beer, perhaps within the fort itself. Finally, it has been suggested that a small structure from the mid-third century AD connected to a large building at the fort of Vindolanda may have been used for brewing. Thus, it has been suspected though with no concrete proof that beer was also more consumed than wine at the fort at the military works-depot in Longthorpe. One of these, attested by only one inscription, was Mars Braciaca, a fusion of the Roman Mars and the Celtic Braciaca. It has even further been suggested that the equation of Braciaca as a god of malt with Mars as a god of war in this inscription is due to the fact that Celtic warriors would drink before going into battle.
This same Germanic influence is probably behind the popularization of beer among auxiliaries soldiers in Britain. It has even been claimed that the extent of the Roman Empire was the extent of the cultivation of vines in the known world. The change in fact was cultural. The Egyptians as well adopted the Greek and Roman view of wine as superior to beer, and though a full examination of this phenomenon is strictly outside the purview of the book, it is worthwhile looking at it briefly since it further illuminates the European conceptions of beer. Beer, as we have seen in Chapter 2, had long been a standard beverage in Egypt, and indeed it continued to be drunk there after the conquest of Alexander the Great in the late fourth century BC.
This is certain from refer- ences to beer found in a large number of papyrus records discovered in Egypt, as well as from a few Greek and Roman authors. However, unlike the situation in Pharaonic Egypt, where beer was certainly drunk by all classes, wine came to dominate upper-class Egyptian society. Those who took it were so happy that they sang and danced and did all the things like those done by people full of wine. Thus Columella, in his verse work on agriculture, speaks of various snacks skirwort, radish [probably], and soaked lupines being served with beer from Pelusium.
Later in the century, Dio Chrysostom wrote an oration attacking mainly the Alexandrian enthusiasm for musical shows and charioteering in which he cites a poem in the form of a Homeric pastiche which he ascribes to an inferior anonymous Alexandrian poet but which may in fact have by written by him.
Although Strabo nowhere explicitly attacks beer, he does certainly believe in the supremacy of wine. He makes note of a large number of different fermented fruit beverages and also writes: There is a particular intoxication too among western peoples, with soaked grains, [made] in many ways among Gauls and Hispanians, with various names, but the same technique. The Hispanians have even taught the ageing of such types [of drinks]. Egypt also has devised similar drinks for themselves [made] from cereal, and intoxication is absent in no part of the world, since they drink such juices [from cereal] pure, not weakening it through dilution as with wine.
But, Hercules, the earth seemed to produce cereals there. Oh wondrous ingenuity of vices! Such a manner of making even water intoxicating was invented! We can see here that Pliny considers beer mainly a drink of Gauls, Hispanians, and Egyptians, and that he does not use a generic term for the beverage. Pliny notes that the central or temperate zone is characterized by the presence of wine, as well as by a populace of just the right size, with just the right colour of skin, that is well- mannered, intelligent, and natural rulers.
One the other hand, the climate makes northerners tall, light-skinned, and savage and southerners tall, dark- skinned, and wise. Indeed the Roman scholar Vitruvius had already said that northerners, because of the cold and wet climate, were large, light-skinned, very brave, but slow-witted; southerners, because of the hot and dry climate, were small, dark-skinned, timid, but intelligent. Italians, however, since they were centrally located, were just right. Pliny also notes that in the first two places the foam is also used instead of yeast to make light leavened bread.
This included vinegar and also zythum and camum. Ulpian particularly wrote most of his legal treatises directly after Roman citizenship had been extended to all free inhabitants of the Roman Empire in AD under the Emperor Caracalla, and thus had much of Europe in mind as his audience. Ulpian, unlike Sabinus, was unwilling to designate types of beers as wine, perhaps to emphasize their different natures.
The Greeks already had spoken of beers as wines, not because they believed them to be essentially the same drink, but only because they lacked a general term to describe all liquid intoxicants and because wine was for them a natural reference point since it was their sole intoxicant see Chapters 3 and 4 above ; apparently the same was the case with Sabinus.
Here perhaps we may assume that cervesia refers to Celtic wheat beer, camum to Celtic barley beer, and zythum to Egyptian beer. In any case, this document is important in showing how much less beer cost than wine. This evidence raises an essential question: was the large difference in price between beer and wine prompted simply by the value placed on them through ideological considerations, or was it rather due to pragmatic or practical reasons, such as cost of production and availability? The production of beer requires more work than that of wine, as we have seen, since the sugar, water, and yeast are all present in the grape, whereas cereals must be malted or at least the starch converted to sugar and water and yeast supplied.
Yet, the cultivation of grapes is much more time-consuming and expensive than that of cereals, and more limited geographically. It is therefore only reasonable that wine would cost more than beer, but in the price edict wine does not seem to be reasonably proportionately more than beer. Diocletian even has unaged wine cost four times the price of beer, while the cheapest aged wine is listed at eight times the price at 16 denarii. It thus makes sense to posit some ideological reasons behind the differences in prices, and for European beers being thought of more highly than Egyptian ones.
In them the three terms used in legal texts are also found: camum, cervesia, and zythum. And its place among the provincials was evidently secure even if Romans in Italy would not drink the stuff. Beer and medicine Pliny was certainly not the only Roman to attribute positive qualities to beer. In his work Celsus turns his attention to different drinks after discussing the merits of various types of food. In fact in general physicians and medical authors during the Roman Empire had a very mixed view about the usefulness of beer.
In a way this should occasion no great surprise since the ancient Greeks and Romans, as loyal as they were to wine, were always well aware that even its consumption could lead to possible negative effects. Pliny the Elder went so far as to write that it was uncertain whether wine was more useful or harmful. It is only logical that similar questions were asked about beer. Finally, he adds, ivory steeped in this drink becomes good to work with. The second, kourmi, he says is also made from barley and it causes headaches and bad humours and is harmful to the sinews. In the second century AD, Plutarch, when speaking of how vice softens men, provided as an analogy the fact that beer makes ivory tender and softened, perhaps from a reading of Dioscorides.
Plutarch clearly followed the common notion discussed in Chapter 4 above that beer was used by people as a substitute when wine was not available, that is in places where vines could not grow and into which wine was not imported. Galen further distinguishes between the majority of beers, which he says are cold, watery, and sour, and those which are hot and pungent as we have seen in part in Chapter 3. On the other hand, others recommend beer as a vehicle by which medication is to be taken. And Philumenus recommends beer with crushed garlic as an emetic for poisonous asp bites. Around the same time Oribasius, the personal physician of the Emperor Julian who made fun of beer as we have seen in Chapter 3 , collected much information on it, following Galen and Antyllus among other authorities.
Oribasius also praised wine over beer, saying that, though barley and wheat beers were not weaker than wine they were inferior. He further recommended applying beer along with mustard on arrow wounds. In the arcane thinking of the alchemical authors beer was considered to be in the moist category of white substances. Beer seems to be considered in the same category as vegetation since it is the liquid product of cereals, and perhaps it is considered white because of its froth.
Presumably because it is thought of as a white substance, other alchemical texts recommend it as a whitener of pearls or a detergent. By no means, however, did this mean that beer came to be thought of as a drink equal to wine, either among pagans or Christians. This absence, however, may be misleading; it seems at least that in Egyptian settlements in Israel going back to the late fourth millennium BC beer was present, and in the late second millennium BC spouted jugs perhaps used for beer have been found in Philistine sites, and soon after in Israelite settlements as well.
For Dionysus, being angry, abandoned them and did not give them the art of viticulture, reserving for the Greek farmers alone the triumphs. Indeed the mention of Dionysus in a Christian author is striking, but can be surely dismissed as metaphorical, and was likely used to reinforce the notion that wine is a superior beverage. Africanus also adds the sort of erudition concerning terminology which we have seen in Pliny and others. Thus reads at least the Greek text the Septuagint version of this passage, though the original Hebrew and the later Latin Vulgate texts not to mention the standard modern translations make no mention of beer makers.
Nevertheless, in the fourth and fifth centuries AD, Church fathers, armed with this mis- translated passage, readily used divine authority to attack beer while praising wine. The Egyptians used it as a drink, before the Lord lived among them. It is vinegary and foul-smelling and harmful, nor does it produce any enjoyment.
AD s to s. Since none could be found Brigit miraculously turned water into beer and when her wetnurse tasted it she was cured. On yet another occasion it was enough for her to think that she was carrying a pitcher of beer though it was a pitcher of water and to thank God for it to actually turn into a pitcher of beer.
One story had it that when she wanted to provide beer for Easter for a diocese of eighteen Churches and had only a small quantity of cereal to make it with because of a general food shortage at the time, she was able to make a batch of beer that was only exhausted a whole week after Easter.
Once again beer drinkers ruled these areas which had been usurped by the 18 wine-drinking Romans for a half millennium. But one could 21 certainly be thought of negatively for drinking the stuff, even as late as the end 22 of the fourth century AD, as is amply demonstrated by the case of the beer- 23 swilling Emperor Valens as we saw in Chapter 3. But after the sixth century 24 AD general attacks on beer become rare, and only pagan religious rituals 25 involving beer are normally condemned, though this is certainly not to say that 26 the Church took wine drinking over beer drinking as a sign of conversion to 27 Christianity, as has been claimed.
From this time on, references to beer are no 28 longer made by non-beer drinkers about a foreign product the Vindolanda 29 tablets and a few other texts excepted ; the writers themselves clearly are 30 drinkers of beer. Posidonius attempted to 41 explain their migration either as due to flooding in their homeland or due 42 to the intention to maraud; a combination of both reasons may have been the 43 case.
This story is very similar to the one discussed in Chapter 5 concerning the migration of Gauls into Italy in the early fourth century BC, and as such should be taken to mean, not that the Germans had never been intoxicated before, but that they had not been intoxicated with wine or mead before. It has been plausibly suggested that in fact the idea of Germans as a people fully distinguishable from the Celts and living beyond the Rhine was in many ways an invention of Julius Caesar. In reality, so-called Germans and Celts often intermixed and did not recognize the Rhine as a border.
Caesar probably claimed that the Germans were more barbaric and hostile than the Gauls for the simple reason that he had been able to conquer the Gauls but not the Germans. Caesar himself does not say what the Germans drank instead of wine, and in fact nowhere mentions beer as we have seen in Chapter 5.
Augustus also wrote that the Cimbri and other German tribes sought his friendship and that of the Roman people. The geographer Strabo, who lived under Augustus and his successor Tiberius, wrote that the Cimbri even sent to the Emperor Augustus their most sacred cauldron. And so the situation would remain throughout Roman history. Tacitus says that the Germans are made up of numerous tribes, which, when not engaged in warfare, devote their time mainly to sleeping and eating.
Similarly, Tacitus explained that the land of the Germans was fertile in cereals, and, sharing the cultivable land, they did grow cereals some more enthusiastically than others , which they then stored in underground chambers, and, presumably, used to make bread and beer.
However, Tacitus was willing to explain the German tendency to drink as due to climatic factors a common explanation for such behaviour, as we have seen in the previous three chapters. Thus the Germans were accustomed to cold and hunger, but could not tolerate thirst and heat, implying that the environment forced them to drink a lot of cold beverages.
Tacitus also follows the notion of beer fermentation as a decomposition already found in Theophrastus, as we have seen in Chapter 3. Yet, just as Caesar had already spoken of the German resistance to Roman imports, including wine, Tacitus similarly noted such resistance. One much later text may in fact elucidate them to a certain degree, if indeed it can be trusted. Gregory recognizes this barbaric practice as similar to libations as taken over in Christianity from pagan Roman practice , though it purportedly involved not only consumed drink, but, remarkably enough, regurgitated drink.
After the Roman army left, the British twice asked Rome for help against the Scots that is, those who inhabited what is now Ireland and the Picts tattooed people who inhabited what is now Scotland. As we learn from another British historian, Nennius from around AD , the British King Vortigern was said at first to have received as friends the two Anglo-Saxon leaders, the brothers Horsa and Hengist, sons of Wichtgils.
The Anglo-Saxons fought successfully against the Scottish and Pictish invaders, but in the end Vortigern was unable to pay the Saxons for their military services and asked them to leave. Instead, Hengist invited Vortigern to a feast and had his beautiful daughter Rowenna serve Vortigern great quantities of wine and other fermented drinks perhaps including beer in order to intoxicate him and make him desire his daughter. The plan succeeded and Vortigern promised to give Hengist anything he desired for his daughter; the Anglo-Saxon asked for and received Kent, and continued to reinforce his numbers with more immigrants from the mainland.
Thus, if we are to believe the ancient tradition, much of Britain was won over by the Germans not only with the sword but with drink. Even the functions of the Roman buildings are no longer understood, since they are wrongly referred to as mead halls, the locus of Anglo-Saxon drinking culture. Although it depicts the pagan warrior society of the Scandinavians in the early sixth century AD, Beowulf, as it is preserved for us, was written by a Christian in Old English at some time between the seventh and eleventh centuries, and no doubt reflects much of Anglo-Saxon culture.
The alcohol was, it seems, a means for the chieftain to keep his retainers as well as to reward them for their efforts in battle on his behalf. What the Germanic warriors ate at their feasts was of no importance to the poets and perhaps not to the warriors either , nor in fact was it of importance what exactly they drank or how much, as long as it was intoxicating and as long as it was being drunk communally. This argument is founded on the fact that beor was used to translate Latin ydromellum and mulsum while ealu was used to translate Latin celea and cervisa and variants , as ancient lexicographical sources demonstrate.
The etymology of the word beor remains a vexed question. Presumably, this new usage replaced the old one also in English shortly afterwards. Though it is never called an ealo hall that is, a beer hall , ealo is drunk there too, and the warriors are said at times to be sitting on ealo benches and to be drinking out of ealo cups though they all drink the other beverages and sit on other sorts of benches while using other sorts of cups too.
Though the drunken Danes pledge over their cups to beat Grendel, each night there continues to be new slaughter in the hall. There one of the Danes, Unferth, drunk and jealous of Beowulf, makes known his doubts that the Geat can beat Grendel. Sure enough that night Grendel comes and Beowulf has the chance to prove Unferth wrong.
The pourers, obedient followers, did not delay. There was for each, from the beginning of the day, enough drink ready soon. This may be proof that bitter drinks were looked down upon by Anglo-Saxon, something supported by other Germanic evidence, as we shall see, but we cannot be certain on this point. This involves of course much drinking and in fact the Danish queen Wealhtheow herself even offers Beowulf a cup to drink from.
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It has been noted that drinking horns are nowhere mentioned in the poem even though we can be sure that Germanic peoples used these from an early date. Much later, in the early seventh century AD, the scholar Isidore of Seville wrote that the aurochs have such large horns that they were used at feasts by Germans. The horns themselves have been reconstructed, and were clearly those of aurochs two of these are shown on Figure 7. Although there is no certain evidence linking a drinking horn to beer drinking, there can be little doubt that it was at least occasionally so used.
Indeed there is evidence that Celts in Britain also had a warrior culture centred around the hall and also, incidentally, that they drank from aurochs horns. Since Greeks and Romans, though they might mention the tendency of Celtic warriors to drink immoderately as we have seen , make no mention of Celtic drinking halls, we may presume that this was Figure 7. By permission of the British Museum, London.
Menander, frg. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 64, , pp. Reichert: Wiesbaden , pp. A History. Handbook of Oriental Studies 8, Golden, Introduction as n. The title has also left traces in the so-called Fredegar-chronicle. Arsilas has been identified with the dynastic name Ashina by Christopher Beckwith, see Golden, Introduction as n. Byzantion 23, , pp.
See also the comments by Peter Schreiner in: Id. Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur Hiersemann: Stuttgart , pp. Therefore Schreiner, Theophylaktos as n. Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare. Clarendon Press: Oxford , pp. Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 41, , pp. Bibliotheca Teubneriana. The sender of this letter has usually been identified with Tardu qaghan, who thus announced his ascent to supreme power in , cf. Revue des Etudes Byzantines 68, , pp. For a critical analysis of this myth about the origin of the European Avars see Pohl, Die Awaren as n.
Pohl, Die Awaren as n. Teubner: Leipzig , AM , pp. The qaghan is characterized as enraged, but not as a cruel barbarian in this context. Scientifica Ed. III , p. Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae Hakkert: Amsterdam , pp. Ashgate: Aldershot , pp. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge , pp. Academia Sc. Dindorf, Ludwig A. Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae , vol. Weber: Bonn , p. Revue de Patrologie 5, , pp. Jahrhundert in der Chronik des sog. Millennium-Studien Revue des Etudes Byzantines 60, , pp. Clarendon Press: Oxford , p. In: The World of the Khazars as n.
Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 58, , pp. In: Zuckerman, Constantine ed. Mango, Cyril ed. Dumbarton Oaks Library: Washington , ch. Quaestiones Medii Aevi Novae 5, , pp. In: Borgolte, Michael ed. Europa im Mittelalter 5. Revue Numismatique , , pp. Oxford University Press: London et al. Dasxuranci, The History as n. II 14, pp. Zuckerman, pp. II 12, p. II 12, pp. II 18 onwards. The first Khazar attack is mentioned at the beginning of ch.
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II 11, pp. The report ends with their withdrawal from Tiflis. II 16, p.
The first Khazar expedition to Caucasia is dated to In fact, the ethnic as well as political origins of the Khazar polity have been the subject of long debates, cf. In: Tjurkskie narody v drevnosti i srednevekove. RAN: Moskva , pp. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 53, , pp. The main sources are Nikephoros, Short History as n. Abteilung — There are four anonymi among them: see vol. See Dunlop, The History as n. In one case ch. Theophanis Chronographia , p.
Under AM , p. The territorial terminology is only once employed by Nikephoros, Short History as n. Boccard: Paris , p. In: Zuckerman, Constantin ed. In: Bekker, Immanuel ed. Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae. Weber: Bonn , pp. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 21, , pp. For the event see also Artamonov, Istorija as n. Revised edition. Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 1. Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 5. In: Reyerson, Kathryn L. Essays in Honor of Thomas S.
Harrassowitz: Wiesbaden , pp. The Medieval Variants. CEUP: Budapest , pp. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius. Welt der Slaven 34, , pp. In: Farrugia, Edward G. Orientalia Christiana Analecta Studiorum Orientalium: Rome , pp. Byzantinische Zeitschrift 95, , pp. Byzantinische Zeitschrift 98, , pp. Weber: Bonn , ch. II 48, p. It is remarkable that the letters to Muslim rulers seemingly do not contain the Christian invocatio mentioned for the Khazar qaghan nor the formula proclaiming that the Holy Trinity is the only true God. These elements are, e. For the Bulgarian ruler, whose address is given ibid.
He is presented as a direct ancestor of king Joseph. The ascent of the dynasty of kings and the introduction of Judaism were thus seemingly linked, cf. The person of the qaghan is only incidentally mentioned in this account not by the title as he initially had to give his consent p. The Cambridge document, instead, seems to reflect a tradition according to which the office of qaghan as a supreme judge had only been introduced together with Judaism; see Dunlop, The History as n. Harvard Ukrainian Studies 2, , pp.
The debate is outlined by Golden, Peter B.
In: East Central and Eastern Europe as n. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis Brepols: Turnhout , p. Nam et Goc et Magoc, quae sunt gentes Hunorum quae ab eis Gazari uocantur, iam una gens, quae fortior erat ex his quas Alexander conduxerat, circumcisa est et omne Iudaismum obseruat, Bulgarii quoque […] cotidie baptizantur. Revue des Etudes Byzantines 53, , pp. Oxford Slavonic Papers 31, , pp. He conclusively confutes the dating of the conversion to the 8 th century and the historicity of king Obadiyah pp.
Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 6. Dumbarton Oaks Library: Washington , nr. This certainly reflects the shrinking Byzantine horizon towards Inner Asia. For these polities see Golden, Introduction as n. Asiatische Forschungen Harrassowitz: Wiesbaden , vol. Acatziri, Agazari, A gaziri, referring to passages in Cassiodorus, Iordanes and the Ravenna Cosmographer; see also ibid. Chazari, Chaziri and Chazaria in contrast to ibid.
Avar, Avares, Avari, Aba-. The Khazars are furthermore mentioned in a letter by Anastasius Bibliothecarius nr.
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Weidmann: Berlin , pp. They are probably also listed as Caziri in the so-called Geographus Bavarus. For the information transmitted by Christian of Stavelot see above, note Settimane di Studio Nuovi Studi Storici Quae omnia idcirco dicimus, ut quam aliter se habeant, quae scripsisti, legens in Graecis voluminibus ipse cognoscas.