Tag Archives: Ancient World

Patrick McGovern – the “Beer Archaeologist”

Photograph by Landon Nordeman

Any student of ancient civilization recognizes the importance that alcohol has played on the development of our cultural past. When we all started living together densely (a.k.a. – civilization), food and water became immediate, problematic needs as pollution (generally in the form of human waste) destroyed our resources. Water was generally a dangerous drink (as any traveller to Mexico has discovered) and alcohol was a safe alternative – the fermentation process often killed or prevented the growth of dangerous bacteria and parasites. In fact, in ancient Egypt, a common breakfast was a hunk of bread and a bucket of beer.

One man has made his name on the study of alcohol in the ancient world, specifically the role it played in our own cultural and social evolution – Patrick McGovern. “Dr. Pat” is the world’s foremost expert on ancient booze, but his expertise expands beyond the rate of hops or blended barleys. As an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, he has travelled the world, poured over manuscripts, and excavated the remnants of ancient distilleries, breweries, and wineries in his quest to further understand humanity’s relationship with intoxicating beverages.

To read more about this topic and learn about Patrick McGovern’s work, check out the article in this month’s Smithsonian Magazine.

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This Day in History – Troy is Sacked

According to the Greek mathematician and philosopher Eratosthenes, today marks the anniversary of the sack of Troy (1184 BCE). Now, while the Trojan War is an event shrined in myth and mystery (and its occurrence is still a point of debate), I like that today is a day to mark the study of Homer and Bronze Age Greece. So, I shall commemorate the anniversary with a listing of relevant sources for the study of Homeric Greek and the Greek Bronze Age.

The Online Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon – if you have ever taken Greek, then you are more than familiar with the Liddell Lexicon. The online version is comprehensive and complete – and easier to navigate than other electronic Greek dictionaries.

The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Greece – The largest collection of english translated Greek texts. If you need to look up a reference, it can be your best friend. They are out of copyright and fully open-source. However, because these are from very old translations the english can be a bit… painful.

eLatine eGreek eLearn – A social networking site using the Ning platform for teachers and students of the ancient world.

The Perseus Digital Library – Hosted by Tufts, the Perseus Project serves as a database for Greek and Latin literature, images, and resources.

The Center for Hellenic Studies – This site hosted by Havard has a lot of online literature, discourse, and even free online courses for those interested in Bronze Age Greece.

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World – This site is hosted by NYU and offers a variety of online resources for students and educators.

The Encyclopedia Mythica: Greek Mythology – This site hosts a number of resources, references, and material for those interested in Ancient Greece and is divided by region.

The Iliad – The text is offered in its complete form for free via Project Gutenberg

The Odyssey  – The text is offered in its complete form for free via Project Gutenberg.