72 pages • 2 hours readTom Standage
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Egyptian god of agriculture and king of the afterlife, the Ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris discovered how to ferment grain to make beer and passed the knowledge on to humans. This story highlights the connection, in ancient cultures, between beer and religion.
King Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria was responsible for the introduction of wine growing into Mesopotamia. Under his rule, and that of his son, Shalmaneser III, the consumption of wine in Mesopotamia became so commonplace as to render wine unfit as a religious offering.
Plato was one of the most famous Greek philosophers, who regularly used the symposium as a template for his philosophical inquiries. Plato believed that drinking wine was a way to test oneself and revealed a person’s true character. As a result, he argued that his mentor, Socrates was the ideal drinker, and thinker, as he “uses wine in the pursuit of truth but remains in total control of himself and suffers no ill effects” (63).
By Tom Standage