The drinking regime of our ancestors. Today, people often have trouble following it

The drinking regime of our ancestors. Today, people often have trouble following it
The drinking regime of our ancestors. Today, people often have trouble following it

Water was the most common drink

Water has always been the basic drink in human history. In ancient times and the Middle Ages, when choosing water for consumption, our ancestors followed the rule that flowing water, i.e. river or stream water, which was also referred to as “living water”, was better. Stagnant water, such as lake or well water, was called “dead water” and people considered it dangerous to drink. This opinion was also supported by the fact that garbage, animal carcasses or even human corpses were often thrown into the well. Another indicator of good water quality was seen by people in the fact that there were frogs or fish in the water source. If any creature lived in the water, it must have been good for humans too.

Already in ancient times, people knew and used mineral waters, but their consumption did not become widespread in our environment until the Middle Ages. For example, the sale of Chebská kyselka is documented by written sources from 1416. Further development in the distribution of bottled mineral waters occurred in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 18th century, Czech mineral water was already being imported beyond the borders, for example to Vienna and other important European cities.

People have known beer and wine since ancient times

In all historical periods, alcoholic beverages appeared, which were not only used to quench thirst, but also for various rituals and social events. Prehistoric agricultural societies drank beverages containing alcohol, most often prepared by fermenting grain, fruit or perhaps honey. The earliest evidence of cooking beer they come from the 3rd millennium BC, from the ancient empires of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Preserved ancient Egyptian texts speak of several types of beer. Knowledge of beer is also documented among Celts, Germans or Slavs. The basis of the drink was barley or wheat. Ancient and prehistoric beer was unfiltered and experts believe it was consumed with straws because of the relatively large pieces of grain in it. At that time, hops were not used in the preparation of beer, they were replaced by various herbs and spices – for example, sage, sage, raspberry leaves, rosemary, juniper, lavender and lemon balm. Written sources documenting the cultivation of hops for the production of beer in our territory date back to the 12th century. At this time, it was common to brew beer at home for personal use, only in the course of the 14th century were breweries and malthouses established.

Wine it is said that the ancient Greeks and Romans considered it to be the most important drink, and it is proven that they drank it already in the 4th millennium BC. Grapes were also collected and used by our prehistoric ancestors in the Neolithic period, as evidenced by archaeological findings. The first vineyards were established in South Moravia as early as the 7th century, and in the 9th century also in Bohemia. According to an old legend, St. Wenceslas himself allegedly harvested grapes in the vineyards and made mass wine from them.

In the Middle Ages, drinking beer was mainly associated with the poorer strata of the population, while wine was consumed by higher social classes, i.e. monarchs, nobles and rich townspeople. Beer soon became the everyday drink of the poor, wine of the rich. Wine was therefore a more luxurious drink and more expensive than beer, and it was also often used as a medicine for various health problems.

Tea and coffee were a luxury

In the past, tea and coffee were regarded as expensive and luxurious commodities, the consumption of which became widespread only in the 19th century. Undoubtedly, the ancient Chinese already drank tea, who conveyed its knowledge to other ancient states, Japan and India. In ancient times, the consumption of tea became part of rituals and meditations. Tea leaves did not reach Europe until after the middle of the 16th century thanks to overseas voyages. In Central Europe, tea only appeared in the middle of the 19th century, its drinking was (similarly to coffee) a social affair of the upper classes.

Coffee appeared in Central Europe sometime at the end of the 17th century, when it was a luxurious and expensive drink from exotic countries, but also a medicine. Coffee beans could thus be purchased from doctors and apothecaries, who recommended a cup of coffee to stimulate the senses, in case of fatigue or stomach and heart diseases. The first coffee shop in our territory opened in Prague in 1714. Until the beginning of the 20th century, only the upper social classes could afford coffee, in poorer environments cheaper substitutes were prepared from chicory root, rosehip seeds or grain.


The article is in Czech

Tags: drinking regime ancestors Today people trouble

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