BRUTOS, Defined

βρῦτος,  or βρῦτον, τό

  1. Fermented barley drink, Beer


Brutos. Such a powerful word for “beer.” Do not confuse it, however, with the popular, strongman competition, the Brew Toss:

Keg Toss_USAF 042509-C-1234W-001
Source: USAF 042509-C-1234W-001,

Brutos is the earliest word in Greek (or Latin) for beer (Archilocus Fr. 42). In its early uses, brutos specifically described Thracian and Phrygian brews, but it was eventually applied to beer more generally.

Brutos remained the only (single) Greek word for beer until the late fourth c. B.C.E. At that time, it went out of use in everyday speech (Nelson 2001, 34). Nelson points out that, due to its appearance in comedic texts, the word was likely known broadly throughout the public. Much of the early, Greek comedy relied on popular culture and current events for the jokes (Nelson 2001, 34).


Nelson, M.C. 2001. “Beer in Greco-Roman Antiquity.” Ph.D. dissertation, U. of British Columbia.



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