The History of the World in Six Glasses

Topics: Alcoholic beverage, Slavery, Wine Pages: 9 (2569 words) Published: January 2, 2015
Bethany McDaniel
AP World History Summer 2012 Assignment
Chapter 1&2 Question 1
How did beer lead to the development of cities in Mesopotamia and Egypt? Grains grew widespread in the Fertile Crescent (The crescent shaped area which had an ideal climate and soil for growing plants and raising livestock, it stretches from Egypt, up the Mediterranean coast to Turkey, and then down again to the border between Iraq and Iran.) causing the unintentional discovery of beer. The Fertile Crescent’s extremely rich soil was suitable for the growth of cereal grains after the last ice age, which occurred around 10,000 BCE. Hunter-gatherers were drawn to the cereal grains and, the ability to keep the grains for long periods of time stimulated them to stay. If they hunter-gatherers could thrive of off the wild grain if they were willing to stay near it and harvest at its peak. After the hunter-gatherers had spent so much time collecting the grain they would have been reluctant to leave the grain that they had collected nor could they travel with it. For this reason hunter-gatherers began to settle on the land. These settlers soon found that the grain could be stockpiled for long periods of time without spoiling. The technology of these settlers was still in development so storage spaces were not usually watertight, and when the water got into the stockpile of the collected grains they started to sprout and acquired a sweet taste. Thus becoming malted grains. When gruel, which is made of boiled malted grains, was left to sit for a couple of days it undertakes an interesting transformation. It becomes a pleasantly intoxicating and slightly bubbly liquid, as the yeasts from the gruel turn it to alcohol. The cereal grains used to make beer was often used as an eatable currency, because everyone needed it. People traded and sold it, causing the development and expansion of cities. Bethany McDaniel

AP World History Summer 2012 Assignment
Chapter 3&4 Question 1
Describe the role that wine plays in Greek or Roman society in relation to social status. Wine had become available in Mesopotamia in very small quantities in 870 BCE. The cost of transporting wine from the mountains down to civilization, in the plains, made it extremely expensive. Almost ten times more expensive than the more common drink- beer. Wine was considered an exotic and foreign drink. Only the exclusive few could afford to drink and the main use was religious. When it was available, its high price and scarcity made it a drink worthy of the gods. Most people never tasted it. Wine became more fashionable in Mesopotamian society, but it never became wildly affordable outside wine-producing areas. For the Greeks wine drinking was synonymous with civilization and refinement. What kind of wine you drank, and its age, indicated how cultured you were. Wine was preferred over beer, fine wines were preferred over ordinary ones, and older wines over younger ones. What mattered even more was how you behaved when you drank it. The Greek practice of mixing wine and water was thus a middle ground between barbarians who over-indulged and those who did not drink at all. The difference between wealthy and lowly Romans was in the contents of their wine glasses. For wealthy Romans, the ability to recognize and name the finest wine was an important form of conspicuous consumption; it showed that they were rich enough to afford the finest wines and had spent time learning which was which. The richest Romans drank the finest wines and poorer people drank lesser vintages. Appreciation of different wines began with the Greeks, and the link between the type of wine and the social status of the drinker was strengthened by the Romans. Bethany McDaniel

AP World History Summer 2012 Assignment
Chapters 5&6 Question 1

Explain how Alcohol is related to the African slave trade. African slaves were traded in exchange for European goods. The most pursued good was alcohol in addition, other goods were...
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