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drinking culture

In all cultures in the world there was and is a drinking culture with certain rituals and ceremonies as part of society. Especially Wine was always more than just a stimulant, but also medicine, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, preservative, comfort consolation, source of power, inspiration medium, victim symbol, part of rituals, festivals and contracts and in many religions a sacred medium with which one has a mystical relationship God or the gods.

oldest wine law " Codex Hammurabi "

In the “Codex Hammurabi”, a collection of laws by the Babylonian king Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC), which according to Sumerian tradition is based on an inspiration from the sun god Šamaš, says: Wine is one of the most precious gifts on earth. So he demands love and respect, we have to show him respect. But that was probably beer even before wine, the first alcoholic beverage that was brewed in the early high cultures at least 6,000 years ago. The cradle of viticulture Mesopotamia. Transcaucasia and / or according to the latest research in Southeastern Anatolia in today's Turkey,

Stele with the Codex - Hammurabi before God Šamaš - excerpt from the text

In Vino Veritas

The popular saying about wine by the Greek poet Alkäus (7th century BC) "In vino veritas" (The truth lies in the wine) ostensibly expresses the fact that under the influence of wine (alcohol) one speaks the truth because it is associated with a reduction in obstacles. Wine (moderately enjoyed) simply helps to change your mind. You are much more willing to give in to your emotions and you are more open and more communicative, which (provided that you enjoy wine with reason) can have a very positive effect on people. However, there is a cross-cultural rule, namely the social rejection of lonely alcohol consumption. A positive understanding of alcohol consumption is considered a social activity to establish human contacts and maintain communication. However, anyone who drinks alone or enjoys alcohol is generally considered to be anti-social and is also suspected of being a drunkard.

In Vino Veritas

Intoxication as a source of inspiration

Alcohol consumption was often excessive. Because the intoxication was considered a special condition in many ancient peoples, which enabled direct contact with a higher world and thus had a religious and mystical character. In Egypt, pharaohs and priests drank to high on feast days, and the loss of consciousness that occurred after excessive consumption was considered sacred and pleasing to God. According to the first book of Samuel 10.5, the prophets appearing in Israel gave oracles in an ecstatic state. The intoxication of the priest plays an important role in the mysticism of Islamic Sufism and shamanism. The Greek Pythia issued oracles through intoxication caused by earth vapor. The wine of Cleopatra (69-30 BC) was mixed with raw opium and nightshade plants (henbane, mandrake) and was considered to be aphrodisiac,

Greek symposium - fresco 475 BC Chr.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus (482–425 BC) the Persians under the Achaimenid dynasty (559–331 BC) consciously used alcoholic intoxication to discuss and judge important questions and then to make decisions. The aim was to eliminate the ratio, to promote creativity and to discuss arguments and counter-arguments informally, the intoxication served to disinhibit. However, the decisions made had to be confirmed again in a sober state (or vice versa). Only then did they become valid and legally binding. Herodotus also reports on the Greek symposia (Drinking bouts), which also aimed at a certain level of intoxication. However, this was done to a moderate and controlled extent by serving limited amounts of wine mixed with water.

Wine in religion

Even in the early antiquity Greeks and Romans produced an amazing variety of wines. In Greece were in the 5th century BC in honor of God Dionysos performed festivals, which were characterized by exuberance and lawlessness in connection with stylized and heavy drinking. The goal was the intoxication as a purifying ceremony with psycho-hygienic effects. The Romans adopted this from the Greeks with those after the wine god Bacchus exuberant festivals called bacchanalia. The Roman poet depicts a colorful picture of the culture of eating and drinking in the Roman upper class in the first century Petronius (+66) in his famous work Satyricon, Also in the around 950 Geoponika the ancient food and drink culture is described. The enjoyment of alcoholic beverages is still regulated in many religions with rituals and ceremonies and takes place in the Christian churches at the Eucharist with the transformation of bread into Christ's body and the measuring wine culminated in Christ's blood. The central importance of viticulture and wine in the Christian religion is attested to in 979 references in the Bible,

Drinking culture - measuring wine cup and bread / handover of the host

alcohol abuse

The balance or the boundary between pleasure (lust) and vice ( alcoholism ) has always moved people and already in the antiquity warned many well-known personalities against abuse. The Roman poet Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) writes: As in freedom, moderation is also beneficial for wines. And in the writing "From the calm of the mind" he notes: Sometimes there may even be a noise, not that it drowns us, but still submerges. Because that scares away the worries, shakes the soul in its depths and is, like against some illnesses, also a means against sadness. In the early Middle Ages, one high a month was seen as a means to cleanse the body of used spirits, to renew itself and thus to serve health. Due to the poor water quality, much more alcohol was drunk than today. Wine and beer were considered food and regular alcohol consumption was considered normal.

However, efforts were already made in the early Middle Ages to curb excessive mining, which was often accompanied by violent clashes. This was not only limited to the ordinary people, apart from that, alcoholic drinks were often only available to the nobility. Significantly, before the coronation in Rome, every German emperor was asked the question: do you want to keep yourself sober with God's help? Charlemagne (742-814) issued bans against drinking in companies. Especially from the church was criticized against excessive alcohol consumption, this was less due to health reasons, but mainly because of the associated decline in morals. The custom of the was very popular among all strata of the population Zutrinkens, Prominent clergymen like the reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546), and Johann quickly (1540-1612) and Abraham a Sancta Clara (1644-1709) fought against it verbally and in writing.

alcohol bans

In many countries it is common to drink alcohol on festive occasions. In some such as France, Greece, Italy and Spain, this is even part of everyday life, which means that alcohol is served without a special occasion. In the sphere of influence of Islam, however, the absolute applies alcohol ban, But even in the western culture, there has always been an attempt to reduce consumption by various means Prohibition measures curb. Alcohol with reason, that is to say enjoyed in moderation, also has positive effects. Wine has always inspired artists in their work. There are countless poems, songs and Quotes about the wine.

Drinking culture - Prohibition in the USA with the destruction of beer barrels

The big difference between a moderate Weingenuss with an stimulating effect and excessive alcohol abuse is described in an impressive essay by the Austrian home poet Peter Rosegger (1843-1918), which amounts to a prosaic declaration of love for wine. On the contrary with a few anecdotes and real facts about excessive alcohol consumption and of "famous drinkers" is under the keyword intoxication reported. Under Customs in viticulture It contains a list of relevant keywords in connection with rituals, festivals and other customs "all about wine".

Hammurabi Stele: Von Mbzt - Own work, CC BY 3.0 , Link
Hammurabi stele headboard: From I, Sailko , CC BY 2.5 , Link
Messwein mug: demarco / 123RF
Symposium: Public domain, Link
Prohibition: Authentic History

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