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*A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Reading questions
1. How is the discovery of beer linked to the growth of the first civilizations?
The discovery of beer was inevitable once the gathering of wild
grains became widespread after the end of the ice age. The Fertile
Crescent had many hunter-gathers, which hunted and collected an
abundance of cereal grains. The hunter-gathers were previously
living nomadic lives but they then learned how to store food and
began to stay in one place. (Pg. 11-13)
2. What is the connection between the discovery of beer and the Neolithic
Revolution (beginnings of agriculture)?
Beer was an important social drink during that time. Sharing a drink
with someone is a universal symbol of hospitality and friendship.
Beers ability to intoxicate and induce a state of altered
consciousness seemed magical to the Neolithic drinkers. Beer was
considered to be a gift from god, so it was also a religious offering.
3. How did beer civilize man, according to Standage?
Enkidu was a wild man running naked and his friend Gilgamesh sat
him down and placed food and beer in front of him. He ate the food
until he was sated and he drank seven jugs of beer. He sang with joy,
his faced glowed and he splashed his body with water and rubbed
himself with oil and turned into a human. (pg.26)
4. How did the Egyptian attitude toward beer differ from that of Mesopotamia?
An Egyptian tale credits beer with saving humankind from
destruction. Ra, the sun god, learned humankind was plotting
against him, so he prepared a vast amount of beer with red dye, to
look like blood, and spread it over the vats. Hathor drank some of it
after looking at her reflection, became intoxicated, fell asleep and
forgot about her bloody mission. The Mesopotamians had a relaxed
attitude on beer but disliked the thought of drunkenness. Beer was
thought to have ancient and mythological origins and it appears in
prayers, myths and legends. (Pg.28-29)
5. Who built the ancient pyramids of Egypt and how were they paid? What
benefit did the pyramids and their construction bring to Egyptian society?
The Egyptian workers built the pyramids and were paid in beer. The
standard ration for a laborer was three or four loaves of bread and
two jigs containing about four liters of beer. The pyramids and their
construction brought Egyptian society an instilled sense of national
unity, demonstrated the wealth and power of the state, and
provided a justification for taxation.

(pg. 37)

1. How did the development of large states and empires promote wine as a
drink of choice?
The development of large states and empires promoted wine as a
drink of choice as it was served at large feasts and banquets. King
Ashurnasirpal, II threw one of the greatest feasts in history by
serving wine and beer to his guests in equal quantity. This was a
show of wealth, he provided wine for not only the elite but everyone
in the city. (pg.46)
2. What role did Greek geography play in its economic development and trade?
Wine was plentiful enough to be widely affordable because the
climate and terrain of the Greek islands and mainland were ideal for
viticulture. Greeks vintners made improvements to the wine press
and adopted the practice of growing vines in neat rows, on trellises
and stakes, rather than up trees. Doing this allowed more vines to
be packed into a given space, increasing yields and providing easier
access for harvesting, causing more profit. (pg.53)
3. How was wine used by Greeks and how did it develop into a symbol of status?
Wine became widely available that even slaves were drinking it. It
no longer mattered that you were drinking wine but it was kind of
wine you were drinking. Greeks were primarily interested in its age,
rather than its exact vintage. Old wine was a badge of status and
the older the wine was the better it taste. (pg. 53)
4. What was Platos view of democracy? How did Platos symposium differ from
Plato was suspicious of democracy. He felt it interfered with the
natural order of things. He
questioned why a man should obey his
father, or a scholar his teacher, if they were technically
Platos Symposium differed from others in the way that he looked for
ways to test a
mans character by allowing that man to drink wine
and following up with questions used to
test the personality of the
drinker. (pg.63, 65)
5. How was wine important in the transmission of Greek culture throughout the
Mediterranean and Asia?
Wine drinking was a cultural habit, worthy of imitation and spread
out by ships. Thanks to the
association with the intellectual

achievements of Ancient Greece, wine displaced beer to

the most civilized and sophisticated of drinks. (pg.68)


6. Compare the Roman convivium to the Greek symposium.

The Roman convivium would serve different wines depending on
their positions in society. The
symposium was at least in theory, a
forum in which the participants drank as equals from a shared
Krater. The seating arrangement of the symposium was less
egalitarian; some seats were associated with higher status than
other. The convivium reflected the Roman class system, which was
based on the notion of patrons and clients. (pg.78)

7. Compare the acceptance of wine in Christianity to the Islamic view of spirits?

Christs first miracle was the transformation of six jars of water into
wine at a wedding near the Sea of Galilee, so Christianity was
accepting of wine. Also, Christ offered wine to his disciples at the
Last Supper that symbolizes his blood and bread that symbolizes his
body. Muslims put a ban on wine because it was associated with
Christians. Muslims then prohibited all other alcoholic drinks too,
and as Islam spread so did the prohibition of alcohol, although
Muhammad himself was said to have enjoyed lightly fermented wine.
They soon mixed wine with water for drinking, instead of drinking
the pure wine itself. (Pg.87-88)

1. What is the origin of distilled spirits?
The origin of the word distilled spirits is Arabic and Greek. The word
alembic, which refers to a type of still, encapsulates this
combination of ancient knowledge and Arab innovation. It is derived
from the Arabic al- ambiq, descended in turn from the Greek word
ambix, which refers to the specially shaped vase used in distillation.
(pg. 95)
2. Explain the connection between spirits, slaves, and sugar.
The Europeans grew custom to bring large quantities of spirits as
gifts at the beginning of negotiations was the African traders. The
slaves that were traded, were sent to help with the sugar
production. Later on the connection became stronger between the
three because the new drink was invented from the sugarproduction, rum. (pg. 105)
3. Why did spirits become an important staple in colonial America?

Englands plan was to establish colonies in North America, and be

able to supply Mediterranean goods such as olives and fruit. They
also hoped to find precious metals, minerals, jewels, and to make a
profit but it didnt turn out that way. Through the hardship, the
important thing is that they made sure they secured a reliable
supply of alcohol. Rum became available later on, and everything
changed, it was stronger, cheaper and didnt have to be shipped
across the Atlantic. Rum became the most profitable manufactured
item in New England. (pg. 112-116)
4. What role did rum play in the American Revolution?
Rum played just as important role in the decades leading up the
eventual outbreak of the revolutionary war in 1775. When Paul
Revere made his famous ride from Boston to Lexington to warn them
of the British troops, he stopped off for a rum toddy. Rum was the
preferred drink of the American soldiers during the six years of
hostilities, once the fighting started. (pg.120)
5. Why did whiskey supplant rum in the Western colonial regions of America?
As they moved west they switched from drinking rum to Whiskey
because the supply of molasses that was used to make rum had
been disrupted during the war. Rum was a maritime product, that
was imported by sea and moving it inland was expensive. Whiskey
could be made almost anywhere and did not depend on imported
ingredients that could be taxed or blockaded. (pg.121)
6. What were the causes and effects of the Whiskey Rebellion?
Whiskey was used as a rural currency, traded for other essentials,
consumed when legal documents were signed, given to jurors in
courthouses, and voters by campaigning politicians so when the
secretary of the U.S. treasury began to look a for a way to raise
money for the national debt, it would raise money and might
discourage people from drinking. A law was soon passed; distillers
could pay either an annual levy or an excise duty of at least seven
cents on each gallon of liquor. They felt the federal government was
no better than the British government and the disagreement of
whiskey excise reflected a deeper divide over the balance of power
between the states and the federal government. Many refused to
pay causing conflict and the whiskey boys began to take action
causing deaths on both sides. (pg. 123-125)
1. How did Arabs come to dominate the coffee industry?
Coffee was originated in the Arab World. So coffee had soon reached
mecca and Cairo by 1510 and became a social drink. As coffee moved
west, it took the Arab notion of the coffeehouse as a more
respectable, intellectual, and above all nonalcoholic alternative to

the tavern along with it. Arabia was unchallenged as supplier of

coffee to the world. (pg. 136-141, 146)
2. Why did coffee come to be preferred over alcoholic beverages?
Coffee became a socially acceptable drink because unlike beer it did
not make the drinker intoxicated, rather an antidote to alcohol.
Coffeehouses, were places where respectable people could afford to
be seen unlike the illicit taverns that sold alcohol. Coffee was
considered an intoxicant to some people but was more socially
appropriate for businessmen. (pg. 138)
3. Why was it important to Europes development that many Europeans chose
coffee over alcohol as their favored beverages of consumption?
It was important to Europes development that many Europeans
chose coffee over alcohol as their favored beverages of consumption
because coffeehouses became the spot for them. Coffeehouse
discussions both molded and reflected public opinion, forming a
unique bridge between the public and private worlds. Coffeehouses
were center of self-education, literary and philosophical speculation.
(pg.156 157)
4. How did coffee play a pivotal role in the scientific revolution?
In coffeehouses many lectures and meetings took place discussing
the contribution of science to the improvements in navigation.
Entrepreneurs and scientists teamed up to form companies to
exploit new inventions and discoveries in navigation, mining, and
manufacturing, paving the way for the Industrial revolution. Science
and commerce became intertwined in coffeehouses. (Pg.162-163)

5. How did coffee play a pivotal role in the financial revolution?

Coffee played a pivotal role in the financial revolution in the
coffeehouses, giving rise to new business models in the form of
innumerable novel variations on insurance, lottery, or joint shock
schemes. A coffeehouse that opened in London in the 1680s by Edward
Lloyd, became a meeting place for ship captains, ship owners, and
merchants to attend auctions of ships and their cargoes. Lloyd
collected and summarized the information and made it into a
newsletter that was sent to subscribers. (pg. 163)
6. How did coffee play a pivotal role in the Enlightenment and the French
The coffeehouses of Paris were meeting places for intellectuals, and
became center of
Enlightenment thought, as in London. The
Encyclopedie was compiled in a Paris coffeehouse, the Caf de la

Regence, by Diderot. Coffeehouses were not only corded inside but

crowds were at the door listening to the loud mouths or listening to the
speech for setting the French Revolution in motion. (pg.167, 170)
1. How did tea transform Chinese society?
Tea transformed Chinese society by being originally an obscure
medicinal and religious beverage. After the book, Working Rules of
Servants, tea had become popular and people knew the proper ways
to buy and serve it. Tea was being exported out, in trade for
clothing, hairstyles, musical instruments and more. (Pg.178-179)
2. What were Chinas major exports during the Tang dynasty?
China exported silk, tea, paper, and ceramics during the Tang
dynasty. The trade thrived along the trade routes of the Silk Road
and by the sea with India, Japan, and Korea. During the Tang dynasty
Chinese sculpture, painting, and poetry flourished. (pg.179)
3. What two factors made tea a popular drink in England?
One factor that caused tea to become popular in England was that
Catherine of Braganza, a devoted tea drinker, who married Charles II
introduced the custom of tea drinking to the English court. The
monopoly that was granted to the British East India Company, on
imports to England from the East Indies also proved to make tea
popular in England. The Company began to bring small quantities
of good Thea from the Netherlands which was served at meetings
in London. (Pg.189-191)
4. How was tea an integral part of the Industrial Revolution?
Workers in the new factories embraced tea during the Industrial
revolution. Tea kept the workers alert on their long shifts, operating
heavy machinery in the factory. Tea allowed the factory to run
smoothly and the production to flow. (pg.200)
5. What was the connection between tea and politics?
Tea was being smuggled into Britain and its American colonies in the
1770s and there was an establishment of the tea policy. The
smuggled tea was cheaper than the legal tea because smugglers
didnt pay custom duties. Companies were in debt from the tea that
was sitting in warehouses and decided to ship it from China to
America, to lower the prices to pay off the debt. (pg. 204)
6. What role did the British East Company play in world history? (Be detailed
The British East Company played the role of political power in world
history. The company generated more revenue the British
government and ruled over far more people, while the duty on the
tea it imported accounted for as much as ten percent of government
revenue. The British East Company had both direct and indirect
influence over the policies of the most powerful nation on Earth.
(Pg. 203)

7. How was tea connected to the opium trade and the Opium war of 1839-1842?
The Chinese werent interested in trading tea in return for the
European goods. Opium became illegal in China in 1729 but they still
continued with an illegal trade. The trade gates were closed by
China and in the efforts protect the tea trade and its associated
opium trade was only the volatile situation in Canton was addressed
but on the pretext of defending the right to free trade, war was
declared. The opium war of 1839-42 didnt last long because the
Europeans had the weapons to easily wipe out Chinese. The Chinese
were then forced to sign a peace treaty that granted Hong Kong to
the British, open five ports for the free trade of all goods, and
required the payment of reparations to the British in silver. (pg.
207 211)