KRITHE, Defined

Κριθή, ή – barley The earliest uses of this word occur in Homer – often alongside a mention of “wheat” (πύρος). This word is also used to describe a type of “wine” that is made from barley.

Homer, Iliad 11.69

οἳ δ᾽, ὥς τ᾽ ἀμητῆρες ἐναντίοι ἀλλήλοισιν ὄγμον ἐλαύνωσιν ἀνδρὸς μάκαρος κατ᾽ ἄρουραν πυρῶν ἢ κριθῶν: τὰ δὲ δράγματα ταρφέα πίπτει: ὣς Τρῶες καὶ Ἀχαιοὶ ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλοισι θορόντες δῄουν, οὐδ᾽ ἕτεροι μνώοντ᾽ ὀλοοῖο φόβοιο. Just as the reapers in the rich man’s field of wheat or barley  drive the furrow opposite one another;  the thick handfuls…

Classical Beer Review: Corinium Ales Beerus Britannicus

A Classically- AND Archaeologically-themed beer? I’m in! I was immediately attracted to this beer in the Giftshop of the Chedworth Roman villa – an archaeological site just outside the Roman town of Corinium Dobunnorum (modern Cirencester). With this brew, Corinium Ales promises that we can literally taste history by drinking this beverage – it is made with…

FERMENTUM, Defined

Fermentum, -i (n) – the cause of fermentation, leavening i.e. yeast [from ferveo/fervo – to boil, foam, enrage, agitate] This BCS “Defined” entry is brought to us by Pliny the Elder, whose fascinating discussion on leavened bread introduced us to this delightful Latin word. Although the causes of leavening in bread and alcoholic production in beer…

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 18.42

quo libeat vero tempore ex aqua hordeoque bilibres offae ferventi foco vel fictili patina torrentur cinere et carbone, usque dum rubeant. Postea operiuntur in vasis, donec acescant. Hinc fermentum diluitur. Cum fieret autem panis hordeacius, ervi aut cicerculae farina ipse fermentabatur; iustum erat ii librae in v semiodos. Nunc fermentum fit ex ipsa farina, quae…

Classical Beer Review: In Peccatum Necromance of Bloody Malts

Recently I finally made a trip again to my local beer store, Bierderij Waterland. Since my last visit, a new, young beer enthusiast named Neal had replaced as shop keeper the owners of the brewery – they became too busy with their exciting plans for the Bierderij. Neal was extremely helpful in trying to find me…

HBW: Parabias Recreation (Hecataeus); Elecampane, Millet and Barley Beer

Over the past few months, BCS has offered much discussion on both millet and inula/elecampane. For an anthology of these discussions, see below: Hecataeaus Passage Millet Beer HBWs (Strabo Passage; Brew Day; Tasting) Konuza/Inula defined; Parabias defined. Pliny on the dietary and medicinal qualities of inula Historic uses of Elecampane in Beer/Alcohol Today, BCS offers the much awaited…

Pre-Brewing Research: Elecampane Beer throughout History

In our never-ending quest to learn about the connection between inula and beer, we offer a summary of our research into the historical uses of elecampane (an inula species). We pursue elecampane (rather than other types of inula) because of its traditional use in beer. Elecampane (also known as Scabwort, Elf Dock, Wild Sunflower, Horseheal,…

Herodotus, The Histories 2.77

ἀρτοφαγέουσι δὲ ἐκ τῶν ὀλυρέων ποιεῦντες ἄρτους, τοὺς ἐκεῖνοι κυλλήστις ὀνομάζουσι. οἴνῳ δὲ ἐκ κριθέων πεποιημένῳ διαχρέωνται: οὐ γάρ σφι εἰσὶ ἐν τῇ χώρῃ ἄμπελοι. They eat bread that is made from a kind of wheat, which they call “cyllestis.” They use a wine made from barley: for there are no grape vines in their…

Classical Beer Review: Audaces fortuna iuvat

This is a guest post by none other than the infamous beer buddy Jamie (see previous posts here, here, here and here)! Jamie is currently finishing up his PhD in Western European Archaeology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His thesis research seeks to reconstruct the ancient agricultural economy of farmers living at the border of the…

Inula, DEFINED

inula, -ae (f) – inula, fleabane, elecampane The Latin equivalent for konuza. I have included Pliny’s description of inula as a bittering food additive. Re: beer, Hecataeus describes the use of konuza/inula in a Paeonian millet beer.

Aeschylus, Lycurgus, in Athenaeus Deipnosophists 1.67

μνημονεύει τοῦ πώματος Αἰσχύλος ἐν Λυκούρβῳ: κἀκ τῶνδ’ ἔπινε Βρῦτον ἰσχαίνων χρόνῳ κἀσεμνοκόμπει τοῦτ’ ἐν ἀνδρείᾳ τιθείς. Aeschylus in the Lycurgus calls to mind this drink: “And, after, he drank the beer that had diminished with time And boasted greatly, considering this courage.” Background From the satyr play, Lycurgus. Satyr plays are comic burlesques that…