The Influence of Drinks: Beer, Wine, Distilled Spirits, Coffee, Tea, and Coca-Cola
1. The discovery of beer is linked to the growth of the first civilizations because beer played a central role in the adoption of agriculture. Farming was adopted by civilizations in order to maintain the supply of beer. Farming created food surpluses which allowed civilians to specialize in other activities. The consumption of beer tipped the balance away from hunting and gathering lifestyle towards farming and a settled lifestyle.
2. The history of beer tells us that early civilizations like Egypt and Mesopotamia were made possible by agricultural surplus, in particular an excess of grain. Grain became the basis of national diet in Egypt and Mesopotamia. It was also consumed in solid and liquid forms, as bread and beer.
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2. Greeks used wine specifically as a commercial product. A farmer could earn up to twenty times as much from cultivating vines on his land then he could from growing grains. Wine was one of Greece’s main exports and was traded by sea for other things.
3. Wine developed into a form of a status symbol in Greece because wine equaled wealth in that time. In the 6th century BCE, the property owning classes were categorized according to their vineyard holdings. Old wine was a badge of status because older it was better the taste and only the elite would be able to afford.
4. Wine was consumed mostly at private drinking parties, or symposia, which were places for playful adversarial discussions in which drinkers try to outdo each other in poetry, wit or rhetoric. This informs us that ancient Greek culture was very civilized because consumption of wine at symposion was an example of social sophistication.
5. The Use of wine in Roman culture differed from ancient Greece. Wine in Greece was used at a symposia, a forum were the people drank as equals from a shared krater, pursing pleasure and social enlightenment. While in Rome it was used at a convivium which was an opportunity to emphasize social divisions, not to set them aside in a temporary alcoholic haze. The arrangement was less egalitarian then