The Evolution of Beer in Egypt and Mesopotamia

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Beer has been around since 10000 BCE and has evolved to a higher degree than ever. The effect that beer has had on history has been momentous because, for example, the Egyptians used beer as a form of payment, and if the Egyptians didn’t have beer as currency they might have not achieved what they did now because without a working system of currency it would throw the whole economy off its axis . The Mesopotamians had implemented beer into their daily diet because of its high vitamin B content and supply of clean water in it. And finally, the earliest form of written documents from the Sumerians used for tax receipts used a clay vessel as a symbol for beer. Lastly, because the early hunter and gatherers found a use for grain for food, beer indirectly forced them to turn to an agricultural society and soon after the beer was discovered.

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Beer has had an impact on technology and demography because of some things such as forcing permanent settlements, which in turn forcing some groups of people to turn to agriculture for a food source, providing multiple societies a clean supply of water. As stated earlier it stated that beer indirectly forced early hunters and gatherers to come to a permanent settlement. This has made a massive impact on history because if they hadn’t settled we may not have been the society we are today because many of the luxuries we have today come from ancient civilizations after they had decided to settle in one spot and began to build their society. By forcing the early societies to settle down, beer had been discovered and had provided societies like Egypt and Mesopotamia a clean source of water because beer uses boiled water which kills germs in the water. All of these situations have been caused by beer and all have greatly improved our future.

The impact beer has had on societies has been enormous because many societies have used beer as their main source of water because of beer usage of boiled water killing off all the bacteria in the water which supplemented the need for water specifically in Egypt. With this, although beer had its water property to it, it also has the additional benefit of Vitamin B which the Mesopotamians had specifically used to their benefit. To add on to this the earliest writing was used for tax receipts specifically beer, but the largest way that beer has had on society is when both Mesopotamia and Egypt used beer as a form of currency because without a system of currency it would be difficult to run a large society like both Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Tom Standage writes about how beer had been discovered, used it as currency, how it had an impact on writing, how civilizations used it as a way to drink clean water, and many more but where did all of this information come from? Tom stated that an archaeologist used an ancient sickle to find out how efficient these prehistoric were but this may have not been very accurate because the archaeologist forgot to take into consideration. They may have been able to harvest enough food for 2 years in 3 weeks, but what if the weather was bad, or they ran out of grain to harvest, or if they became sick. There are too many variables for this to be a viable source. There were more sources that were used including 2 clay tablets that had a picture of what is supposed to be 2 men drinking out of a large pottery jar, as well as a tablet recording the allocation of beer. But both of these tablets have the same issue of them being up to interpretation and this is because these tablets were made so long ago we couldn’t just guess what they might’ve meant.

Beer has been around since 10000 BCE and has had an enormous impact on history itself. In short, beer has caused early hunters and gatherers to settle, had been a main source of clean water and had been used as a currency in places such as Egypt. As the book has shown beer has had a large impact on ancient societies which in turn has a great impact on ourselves. 

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