A History of the World in Six Glasses: Summary
The discovery of beer happened around 10000 BCE. The hunter-gatherers, located in the Fertile Crescent, collected cereal grains because they could be stored for a number of months if kept dry and safe. The storage of grains made it harder to have a nomadic lifestyle; therefore the people started staying in one place. They would try to make water tight storage areas, however water did eventually get into them. After the grain would get wet and the people would cook it, it turned into gruel and when that was left sitting around for a few days it would turn into beer. Beer became important because it was safer to drink, due to the fact that you cooked it which got rid of bacteria. In the Sumerian and Egyptian societies beer was used in religious ceremonies, agricultural fertility rites and funerals. In Egypt beer was used as a currency, for example the workers who built the pyramids were paid in beer. Also, the use of beer as a currency made it become synonymous with prosperity. Egyptians then started to greet each other with the expression “bread and beer”, meaning good luck. 1. Some anthropologists believe that farming communities started because the people needed to ensure that they would have the wheat necessary to make beer. Others believe that beer could have had a more subtle effect on the transition to civilizations. The beer consumed by people back then had relatively low alcohol content and it had suspended yeast. Due to this it contained many vitamins and a lot of protein, including vitamin B which was needed because hunting was less prevalent. Another good aspect of beer was that it was made using boiled water. This helped communities live longer because it did not carry the bacteria that normal drinking did which had caused famines and spread quickly. 2. The history of beer tells us that civilizations were motivated to make advances and were highly influenced by their love of beer. Beer influenced ancient medicines, writing, religion, and currency. Egyptians made remedies such as powdered onions with frothy beer to cure constipation. Beer made a form of record more important. Some of the first writings from the Sumerians were from receipts for beer. Beer made a form of record more important. Beer was seen by both Egyptians and Mesopotamians as a god given drink, therefore it became a part of their religious identity. Also, beer was used as a currency in many civilizations. For example, the Egyptians were paid in beer to make the pyramids. 3. The sources the author used were Egyptian, Mesopotamian and other civilizations writings deciphered. 4. Beer was used in religious ceremonies, it was used as currency, and it was a part of medicine. The Incas offered their beer in a golden cup to the gods of Earth and the Aztecs offered their beer to the goddess of fertility. Sumerians also used beer in religious ceremonies; it would be drunk by the priests and worshipers to invoke the presence of the gods and the spirits of the dead. In Mesopotamian and Egyptian societies beer was used as a currency to pay workers. The Mesopotamians kept track of the amount of bread and beer each person received by using symbols carved into clay tablets. Egyptian medical texts state that beer was used in many different remedies. They believed that beer mixed with powdered olives cured indigestion. 5. According to Standage beer civilized men by giving them enthusiasm for advancements and ensuring better health. Standage talks about the fact that beer uses boiled water which rids it of the bacteria that spreads famine and disease. Also, the beer contained protein that was essential because due to farming there was no time to hunt and eat meats. Standage also discusses the fact that the first writings of Mesopotamians were receipts for beer. He could be suggesting that the beer gave the people a new reason to start keeping records. Another reason for men becoming civilized...
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