Alcohol’s importance in our social history is significant. Even more significant is the abuse of alcohol and the how alcoholism has effected modern society. However, before the word “alcoholism” was ever spoken, alcohol was used for many purposes such as settling battles, giving courage in battles, celebrating festivals and wooing lovers. The history of alcohol can be traced all the way back to the Egyptians. In Egyptian burials, it was used to help the dead’s journey to the afterlife. There is also evidence that the Babylonians, around 1600 BC, knew how to brew 20 different types of beer.
It was also around this time that alcohol was tied to abuse. The Babylonians made their laws include punishments against drunkenness. The Greeks and the Romans drank mostly wine, and they loved it so much that they worshipped Dionysus, the god of wine. When they worshipped, the Greeks and Romans would become extremely intoxicated. Their writings are full of warnings against drinking too much. In 55 BC, the Romans introduced beer, right before alcohol become important in religious cultures.
The Old Testament refers to alcohol numerous times, and wine plays an important role in the rituals of many religions. Wine was sanctified by Jesus in the New Testament, and many Roman Catholics still drink wine today as part of their worship. (more…)