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A very short history on
drunkenness
- A short summary by Iqbal
LearnDay@Xoxzo #14, 2019-11-28
● Written by Mark Forsyth
● Published June 2018
● A historical and comical book, a light read.
● Basically about people (and animals) getting
drunk.
About the book
Humans (and some animals) are
designed to get drunk (or not)
● The King Rat in a rat colony don’t drink. The lower status rats do.
● The monkey, the baboon, once drunk, (and having a hangover) will not
touch beer again
● We can drink the much more for compared to our body weight vs other
mammals, except for Malaysian treeshew
Drunkenness in history
● Being drunk is actually much much older than the
Pyramids of Giza (2580 BC)
● Possible evidence of drinking by Venus of Laussel
25,000 years ago found in France.
● Oldest building in the world (10,000BC) is
Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, and it had big tubs to mix
barley and water = ale, maybe.
● We’re seeing ale before temples and even farming
Better than bread
● Beer is easier to make than bread, and don’t require a hot oven
● Beer gives vitamin B through fermentation of wheat and barley
● Beer can be stored
● The alcohol in beer purifies the water by killing microbes
● So around 9000BC we invented farming to get drunk on regular basis
THEORY
We didn’t farm because we didn’t
have enough food: It’s because
we WANTED booze (and getting
drunk)
Sumeria (or Mesopotamia)
Sumeria, where bars started
● History started when writing was invented, and it started somewhere
in Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia, formerly Sumeria) around 3000BC
● Sumerians wrote to keep track of IOUs, and also wrote about
god, beer and drinking. Beer was sacred
● Sumerian bars owners are always women. Like now, they are
dodgy places with prostitutes and where people conspire to do
bad things.
Ancient Egypt
The world was saved by beer
● Ancient Egyptians believed that Ra (the top god) saved the world with
7000 kegs of beer. He actually started the whole mess though.
● They have an annual Festival of Drunkenness, to celebrate Ra saving
them in their temples. Once the Pharoah went home, enormous
amount of beer and wine will come out, and people will go sacred
drunkenness, vomit and have sex orgies. And then they pray
● As the Egyptians say: For your soul! Drink, become perfectly drunk.
China
A love hate relationship
● Writing in China only started 1200BC, but archaeologists found alcohol
dating from 7000BC in Jiahu, China, the earliest confirmed evidence in
the world
● Ancient Chinese attitude towards booze is like “This is rather nice, but
also rather dangerous, and it should probably be illegal”
● Myths of a few alcoholic emperors and their courtesans doing crazy
things like forcing people to construct a lake of wine and having orgies.
Confucius rules
● The Chinese were concerned with alcohol and tried to make it illegal.
They found a document called “Proclamation Concerning
Drunkenness” around 1000BC that forbids drinking.
● Didn’t work very well
● Until Confucius (551-479BC) came along, and introduce order through
proper rituals and respect
The Bible
Let them drink
● Among the 200 references to wine, The Bible is pretty neutral to
drinking: It allows you be drunk to forget your misery, and it’s more
concerned about people seeing you piss-naked drunk rather than being
drunk itself.
● Even early examples of Jesus’ miracles was turning water to 120 gallons
of wine at a wedding. Early Christians saw wine as a Good Thing.
● And there were no taverns in the Old Testament
The Middle East
Prohibition in stages
● Before Islam was introduced, the people there were drinking. When
Islam came, Surah 47:15 even mentioned rivers of wine in paradise.
● But the prohibition to drinking was done in stages, first not drink while
praying, or not to drink and gamble, and finally not to drink at all. The
strongest restriction is in the so-called Hadith.
● The prohibition did not have much effect though: There wasn’t much
wine in the first place, and nomad people didn’t drink much
Abu Nuwas and and the dilemma
● One of the greatest poets in time, Baghdad 800AD
● Who loved wine (dawn-till-dusk sessions)
● And young boys. There is a paragraph in the book about him sodomizing
the waiters and church choirboys
● Many shahs and caliphs continue to ban drinking, but drink themselves
on and off. Babur, Shah Abbas II, the Ottoman empire, even in 1979 Iran
Revolution people were drinking 4-litre barrels of vodka.
Russia
Big drinkers
● In 1914 Tsar Nicholas II outlawed vodka. In 1918, he and his family was
executed in a basement
● The Russians are fond of drinking, and also making others drink (or
drunk): Peter The Great, Ivan The Terrible, Stalin. This is also a tactic to
stop people from plotting against the leader.
● In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev launched Perestroika. 6 years later Russian
communism ended.
In Summary
A love hate relationship
● Being drunk is older than the pyramids
● Humankind has always being drunk, and maybe will still be
● We humans try hard to control from being drunk, but we still do
● Being drunk in very early times was maybe for survival. Then it was for
god, religion and sex. Now maybe more social.
Thank You !
iqbal@xoxzo.com

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A very short history on drunkenness - LearnDay@Xoxzo #14

  • 1. A very short history on drunkenness - A short summary by Iqbal LearnDay@Xoxzo #14, 2019-11-28
  • 2. ● Written by Mark Forsyth ● Published June 2018 ● A historical and comical book, a light read. ● Basically about people (and animals) getting drunk. About the book
  • 3. Humans (and some animals) are designed to get drunk (or not) ● The King Rat in a rat colony don’t drink. The lower status rats do. ● The monkey, the baboon, once drunk, (and having a hangover) will not touch beer again ● We can drink the much more for compared to our body weight vs other mammals, except for Malaysian treeshew
  • 4. Drunkenness in history ● Being drunk is actually much much older than the Pyramids of Giza (2580 BC) ● Possible evidence of drinking by Venus of Laussel 25,000 years ago found in France. ● Oldest building in the world (10,000BC) is Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, and it had big tubs to mix barley and water = ale, maybe. ● We’re seeing ale before temples and even farming
  • 5. Better than bread ● Beer is easier to make than bread, and don’t require a hot oven ● Beer gives vitamin B through fermentation of wheat and barley ● Beer can be stored ● The alcohol in beer purifies the water by killing microbes ● So around 9000BC we invented farming to get drunk on regular basis
  • 6. THEORY We didn’t farm because we didn’t have enough food: It’s because we WANTED booze (and getting drunk)
  • 8. Sumeria, where bars started ● History started when writing was invented, and it started somewhere in Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia, formerly Sumeria) around 3000BC ● Sumerians wrote to keep track of IOUs, and also wrote about god, beer and drinking. Beer was sacred ● Sumerian bars owners are always women. Like now, they are dodgy places with prostitutes and where people conspire to do bad things.
  • 9.
  • 11. The world was saved by beer ● Ancient Egyptians believed that Ra (the top god) saved the world with 7000 kegs of beer. He actually started the whole mess though. ● They have an annual Festival of Drunkenness, to celebrate Ra saving them in their temples. Once the Pharoah went home, enormous amount of beer and wine will come out, and people will go sacred drunkenness, vomit and have sex orgies. And then they pray ● As the Egyptians say: For your soul! Drink, become perfectly drunk.
  • 12.
  • 13. China
  • 14. A love hate relationship ● Writing in China only started 1200BC, but archaeologists found alcohol dating from 7000BC in Jiahu, China, the earliest confirmed evidence in the world ● Ancient Chinese attitude towards booze is like “This is rather nice, but also rather dangerous, and it should probably be illegal” ● Myths of a few alcoholic emperors and their courtesans doing crazy things like forcing people to construct a lake of wine and having orgies.
  • 15. Confucius rules ● The Chinese were concerned with alcohol and tried to make it illegal. They found a document called “Proclamation Concerning Drunkenness” around 1000BC that forbids drinking. ● Didn’t work very well ● Until Confucius (551-479BC) came along, and introduce order through proper rituals and respect
  • 17. Let them drink ● Among the 200 references to wine, The Bible is pretty neutral to drinking: It allows you be drunk to forget your misery, and it’s more concerned about people seeing you piss-naked drunk rather than being drunk itself. ● Even early examples of Jesus’ miracles was turning water to 120 gallons of wine at a wedding. Early Christians saw wine as a Good Thing. ● And there were no taverns in the Old Testament
  • 19. Prohibition in stages ● Before Islam was introduced, the people there were drinking. When Islam came, Surah 47:15 even mentioned rivers of wine in paradise. ● But the prohibition to drinking was done in stages, first not drink while praying, or not to drink and gamble, and finally not to drink at all. The strongest restriction is in the so-called Hadith. ● The prohibition did not have much effect though: There wasn’t much wine in the first place, and nomad people didn’t drink much
  • 20. Abu Nuwas and and the dilemma ● One of the greatest poets in time, Baghdad 800AD ● Who loved wine (dawn-till-dusk sessions) ● And young boys. There is a paragraph in the book about him sodomizing the waiters and church choirboys ● Many shahs and caliphs continue to ban drinking, but drink themselves on and off. Babur, Shah Abbas II, the Ottoman empire, even in 1979 Iran Revolution people were drinking 4-litre barrels of vodka.
  • 22. Big drinkers ● In 1914 Tsar Nicholas II outlawed vodka. In 1918, he and his family was executed in a basement ● The Russians are fond of drinking, and also making others drink (or drunk): Peter The Great, Ivan The Terrible, Stalin. This is also a tactic to stop people from plotting against the leader. ● In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev launched Perestroika. 6 years later Russian communism ended.
  • 24. A love hate relationship ● Being drunk is older than the pyramids ● Humankind has always being drunk, and maybe will still be ● We humans try hard to control from being drunk, but we still do ● Being drunk in very early times was maybe for survival. Then it was for god, religion and sex. Now maybe more social.