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Sumeria – Civilization Superior? Part 2

September 30th, 2009 by Beertheostorian A | Filed under Ancient History.

by Beertheostorian A

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In our last installment we discovered that Sumerian religion focused largely on beer and beer production, and that the first piece of literature known to man attributed mankind’s consciousness to drinking beer.1 We ended our exploration of the proofs that support the thesis that all civilization exists because of beer, with a reference to our troglodyte opposition, the Bread-Firsters. With these proofs we are making substantial ground in proving that the Beer Theory of History; the idea that the Nation with the most and best beer wins, is in fact true. See Beer Theory of History – An Introduction for the fundamentals.

In the 1950’s the Bread-Firsters came to high prominence in the field of archeology. They posited that it was bread around which the first civilizations arose. They were lead by a University of Chicago researcher, Robert Braidwood who suggested this theory based upon finding some grain at an archeological dig in Iraq. The brilliant University of Wisconsin Botanist, Jonathan D. Sauer, countered suggesting that beer made more sense as the basis of civilization. Sauer based his belief that beer formed the basis of civilization from the natural characteristics of grains. Braidwood and Sauer then put together a symposium to see which theory made sense.2
Naturally the long tentacles of Prohibition, driven by the puritanical impulses of the teetotalers, who had nearly destroyed this country twenty to thirty years earlier, still held sway among the pointy-headed intellectuals and bread was voted the most likely initial source of generating civilization. (As if the driving forces of history can be changed by a democratic vote some 4000 years later.)3 As one bread firster at the symposium put it “Are we to believe that the foundations of western civilization were laid by an ill-fed people living in a perpetual state of partial intoxication?”4

The answer is slowly but surely becoming yes. It has become increasingly apparent that both the Sumerians and Egyptians formed their civilization, not to farm grains to produce bread, but to farm grains to produce beer. The benefits of this approach, prior to modern refrigeration makes perfect sense. As populations grew, water supplies become increasingly dangerous supplies of fecal/ bacteriological vehicles of death and destruction. The brewing process, by producing alcohol, killed most if not all of bacteria, providing both liquid and carbohydrate sustenance. It is no wonder that the most important gods of these civilizations were instrumental in the production of beer. The very lives of these people depended upon it. With bread alone, water was too dangerous to drink and dehydration a real possibility. Beer resolved this problem by providing sustenance and safe hydration simultaneously. Beer, the original Gatorade, full of carbs, water, B vitamins and amino acids and of course, as an extra bonus, alcohol. .”5

As both sides believe cereal grains were probably partially, if not completely, domesticated thousands of years prior to the formation of the earliest civilizations. Reviewing ancient texts like the seals, tablets and hieroglyphics referred to above can only provide us with what researchers call a “time platform” to make inferences about historical development. At first blush the Hymn to Ninkasi would encourage one to draw the specious inference that bread is the foundation of civilization as it is bread from which the beer in the hymn is created. Yet, upon closer inspection when one actually makes the bread it is clear the bread is really a hard tack, almost cement like substance containing large quantities of chaffed, malted, unmilled grain. In other words you can see many of the whole grains in the bread and the whole grains have been malted. In short the bread was not made primarily to be edible, but to preserve the malted grain from spoiling for a long period of time and be easily transportable. “In essence,” the team that translated the Hymn to Ninkasi reported, “making bread was a convenient way to store the raw materials for making beer.”

The team further hypothesized that nature made the first beer when moisture got into hunter-gatherers containers that stored wild or partially cultivated barley seeds causing them to sprout. This spouting causes the barley to become tenderized and sweeter than unsprouted barley. This process is known today as malting. A further effect of malting is that it helps the barley produce an enzyme that converts the barley’s starch to sugar, an essential first step in brewing. Now imagine someone throws a little water on the barley, maybe to soften it up a little more, but gets distracted and forgets about it for a few weeks, wild yeasts get in, ferment the stuff, another person tastes it and voila, you have the first beer.

Anchor Brewery of San Francisco has since gone out and proved the “Ninkasi” theory by producing the Ninkasi beer following the recipe on the Seal, “Label” for those of you who need more modern terms. In short, real scientific experimental ,as well as archeological, religious, and literary proof exists that Sumerian civilization was formed around beer, or put another way , “by an ill-fed people living in a perpetual state of partial intoxication[!]“6

1
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/guide/hum/philosophy/philos_song.html – “And René Descartes was a drunken fart. ‘I drink, therefore I am.’” Composer: Eric Idle; Author: Eric Idle, First heard on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Episode 22: How To Recognize Different Parts Of The Body.

“Enkidu was an unkempt and unruly creature, half man, and half bull—a metaphor it seems of our own dual nature. He ate grass with the gazelles and shared their watering holes. When he found a hunter’s trap, he would destroy it, thus acting as protector of his animal friends. But when Enkidu drank beer, he became man—one of us. Even if Descartes turns in his grave: Bibo cerevisiam, ergo sum!” http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673

2 http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.5/kavanagh.html

3 http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.5/kavanagh.html: (The Editors) In this article Thomas W. Kavanaugh Phd. ((Beertheostorian A) Piled higher and deeper) takes the Bread firster side by pointing out that the majority of harvested grain in pre-civilized times would not have been mature and therefore unmaltable to produce beer, that container technology at the time would have mitigated against beer production, because either it was too porous or could not be heated to sufficient temperature to create appropriate saccharification to create the sugars necessary for beer, but would have been sufficient for grain storage for making gruel or unleavened bread.
(Beertheostorian A) Definitely the thinking of a pointy headed intellectual.

4 (The Editors) Not only that but their religious leaders were openly engaging in sex acts with the congregants as part of the religious ritual. Talk about making teetotalers hair stand on end. http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673

5 http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1039.html

6 http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1039.html;

(The Editors)As well as boinking each others brains out and generally avoiding warfare to boot. http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673

See also Footnote 11 Sumeria Civilization Superior? Part 1. (reprinted here) (Beertheostorian A) The Sumerian’s also apparently mixed sex and beer in their most important religious rituals. It was not uncommon in a certain era of Sumerian History that Brewmaster/Priestesses would, during ritual imbibing sessions with the faithful, choose one lucky member of the flock to have sex with her. According to Sumerian myth Ninkasi herself declared: “When I sit at the city gate, in front of a tavern, I am a loving whore, who knows all men.” (The Editors) We question whether the term whore accurately translates the position Ninkasi took. . . in Sumerian society. The priestesses of the tavern delivered both beer and sex in what was considered to be a religious act and would receive a tithe in exchange for leading these men on a spiritual journey. The term whore, with all of its negative Judeo-Christian baggage probably does not resonate the reverence with which Ninkasi and her priestesses were held. The kings of Sumeria even engaged in ritual brew imbibing and sex sessions with the High Priestess of Ninkasi. It was considered a necessary spiritual and material conjugation of the secular and religious leadership of Sumerian civilization designed to ensure an ample crop for the next season. http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673 Probably to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to the royal classes, Hammurabi ultimately forbade all high priestesses of Ninkasi from entering public taverns upon pain of a fiery death. Pg. 62 – Eames, Alan, The Secret Life of Beer: Legends, Lore and Little Known Facts, Storey Publishing, Pownal, VT 1995 & amp; http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1039.html. (The Editors) This may partially explain Judeo-Christian revulsion for women who receive a tithe for engaging in sex with their parishioners and possibly the medieval practice of witch burning.

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/guide/hum/philosophy/philos_song.html – “And René Descartes was a drunken fart. ‘I drink, therefore I am.’” Composer: Eric Idle; Author: Eric Idle, First heard on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Episode 22: How To Recognize Different Parts Of The Body.

“Enkidu was an unkempt and unruly creature, half man, and half bull—a metaphor it seems of our own dual nature. He ate grass with the gazelles and shared their watering holes. When he found a hunter’s trap, he would destroy it, thus acting as protector of his animal friends. But when Enkidu drank beer, he became man—one of us. Even if Descartes turns in his grave: Bibo cerevisiam, ergo sum!” http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673

http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.5/kavanagh.html
http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.5/kavanagh.html: (The Editors) In this article Thomas W. Kavanaugh Phd. ((Beertheostorian A) Piled higher and deeper) takes the Bread firster side by pointing out that the majority of harvested grain in pre-civilized times would not have been mature and therefore unmaltable to produce beer, that container technology at the time would have mitigated against beer production, because either it was too porous or could not be heated to sufficient temperature to create appropriate saccharification to create the sugars necessary for beer, but would have been sufficient for grain storage for making gruel or unleavened bread.
(Beertheostorian A) Definitely the thinking of a pointy headed intellectual.
(The Editors) Not only that but their religious leaders were openly engaging in sex acts with the congregants as part of the religious ritual. Talk about making teetotalers hair stand on end. http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673
http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1039.html
http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1039.html;

(The Editors)As well as boinking each others brains out and generally avoiding warfare to boot. http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673

See also Footnote 11 Sumeria Civilization Superior? Part 1. (reprinted here) (Beertheostorian A) The Sumerian’s also apparently mixed sex and beer in their most important religious rituals. It was not uncommon in a certain era of Sumerian History that Brewmaster/Priestesses would, during ritual imbibing sessions with the faithful, choose one lucky member of the flock to have sex with her. According to Sumerian myth Ninkasi herself declared: “When I sit at the city gate, in front of a tavern, I am a loving whore, who knows all men.” (The Editors) We question whether the term whore accurately translates the position Ninkasi took. . . in Sumerian society. The priestesses of the tavern delivered both beer and sex in what was considered to be a religious act and would receive a tithe in exchange for leading these men on a spiritual journey. The term whore, with all of its negative Judeo-Christian baggage probably does not resonate the reverence with which Ninkasi and her priestesses were held. The kings of Sumeria even engaged in ritual brew imbibing and sex sessions with the High Priestess of Ninkasi. It was considered a necessary spiritual and material conjugation of the secular and religious leadership of Sumerian civilization designed to ensure an ample crop for the next season. http://beeradvocate.com/articles/673 Probably to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to the royal classes, Hammurabi ultimately forbade all high priestesses of Ninkasi from entering public taverns upon pain of a fiery death. Pg. 62 – Eames, Alan, The Secret Life of Beer: Legends, Lore and Little Known Facts, Storey Publishing, Pownal, VT 1995 & amp; http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1039.html. (The Editors) This may partially explain Judeo-Christian revulsion for women who receive a tithe for engaging in sex with their parishioners and possibly the medieval practice of witch burning.

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Pg. 45 – Eames, Alan, The Secret Life of Beer: Legends, Lore and Little Known Facts, Storey Publishing, Pownal, VT 1995

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