The Relationship Between Alcohol and Man

Alcohol of Ages

When, exactly was the dawn of man? Recent archaeological finds indicate that jars, or jugs dating from the stone-age had been used for holding alcohol. That would seem to make the stone-age as good a starting place as any.

What it seems to say, is that alcohol in one form or another has been part of man’s life for an awfully long time, if not all of it.

The earliest indications in the western world, of planned production, can be seen in the lands known as the cradle of civilisation, Mesopotamia, which was the recognised areas between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

Here signs that organised viniculture had been established by settled agrarian communities produced wine, and grain harvesting produced beer, around 9,000 years ago.

Evidence also indicates that in the ancient civilisations of both China and India, drinks fermented from grapes, honey, rice or grain were produced equally as long ago.

The Ancient Egyptians show in the Pyramid Texts, that amongst other things, alcohol was a part of society and part of life, not just for religious or ceremonial ritual or celebration.

The great civilisations of the Mediterranean, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, Assyrians, all accepted it as a staff of life.

The Roman Empire took wine making across parts of northern Europe where beer was predominant, given the difficulty of finding sugary berries to aid fermentation, and where mead, made from honey was probably the most common.

The Romans traded wine across the Empire and it also became a staple part of most European life.

Moving on to the middle ages, beer or wine was seen as a safe alternative drink right across the age spectrum, to dubious quality water. Tea and coffee were yet to be imported.

Distillation began in Italy in around the C13th and by the C16th, whiskey and gin were becoming staples, added to a little later by rum, when Caribbean sugar became freely available.

Alcohol continued to be a daily necessary part of most people’s lives until the end of the Victorian era, and increasingly cleaner sanitation and water supply.

The huge social upheavals caused by the two world wars have carried alcohol into more of a niche part of today’s society, nevertheless, it remains the social “drug of choice” across all levels of today’s social groups.

Statutory restrictions and governmental advice on alcohol consumption are now all around us, particularly with alcohol in the work place, and strict adherence to drink and driving regulations. Creating a great deal of work for leading law firms including Patterson Law who specialise in just motoring offences.

These can be regarded as onerous or acceptable, but they are certainly here to stay.