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darobin (1316)

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Journal of darobin (1316)

Thursday November 06, 2003
04:49 AM

Beer in (Ancient) Greek

[ #15608 ]

I have a serious problem: I need to find out how to say beer in Ancient Greek. One source I looked at said "see wine", which was partly what I feared though I remain unconvinced. Another source said "ὲκ κρΐθω̈́ν μέθὕ". Does anyone know? This, as you will easily guess, if of vital importance!

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  • FWSTERIDES (Score:3, Informative)

    I've looked in a few Ancient Greek lexicons here and find nothing specifically for "beer". I would check Perseus [] but it's down for nightly voodoo right now.

    The various words related to "mequ" that mean "drunk" lead me to believe that "mequ" meant alcoholic drink in general, with wine being the default kind, and "ek kriqwn mequ" being a valid term for a subtype.

    (Compare to how English "wine" is, by default, grape wine, altho it can also refer to other wines, either just by itself or with a clarifying modifier like in "plum wine", etc. Based on that, I'd bet that Ancient Greeks just called beer "mequ" normally; and if context required, they would add "ek kriqwn".)

    • Thanks, this [] was tremendously useful. And yes, it looks as if you could well be right in your reasoning behind why there'd be two words.

      * darobin promptly goes off to call himself zuthocephalic


      -- Robin Berjon []

  • Liddell & Scott (Score:4, Interesting)

    by djberg96 (2603) on 2003.11.06 8:08 (#25524) Journal
    krithinos (sorry, I dunno how to do greek letters), means, "to be made of, or from, barley". See Babrius, Aeschylus, and Xenophon for uses. So, your word sounds correct to me.

    To confuse you even more, there's "oinos krithown", a kind of barley wine, mentioned in Herodotus. So, take your pick. :)

    • Thanks a lot! krithinos sounds perfectly fine in French, chances are it'll fare better with its intended audience than zuthocephalic (zuthos being cervesia, see above).

      Inputting the greek letters depends on your OS, but most have little utilities to do that. On KDE I have something called charkbd (IIRC), on Windows there's charmap, and I haven't had to do that on the iBook yet but I'm sure there's a way.


      -- Robin Berjon []

  • Xenophon mentions beer in Anabasis IV.5.26. He calls it "barley wine" (oinos krithios) and says that it was "of a delicious flavour to certain palates, but the taste must be acquired". This beer (or, more properly, ale) was served in big communal bowls. It was consumed using drinking straws made of reed. Barley grains were floating in the bowl along with the straws.

    I don't think the Greeks drank beer much at all. They preferred wine, and generally considered beer to be a barbaric and/or effeminate beverag