Alcohol Use in Tribal Societies

  • Margaret K. Bacon


The drinking of alcoholic beverages is both ancient in origin and widespread throughout the peoples of the world. Forbes (1954) reports that wine was in use in Mesopotamia some time prior to 3000 B.C. The oldest known code of laws, that of Hammurabi of Babylonia (c. 1700 B.c.), regulated the sale of wine and forbade riotous assembly in the house of the wine seller. The medicinal use of alcohol dates back some four thousand years. A clay tablet found at Nippur, dated about 2100 B.c., records in Sumerian cuneiform directions for making various remedies; beer was the usual solvent (Keller, 1958). The ancient Egyptians have depicted their alcoholic excesses in Theban wall paintings in which women are shown as drunk to the point of nausea. Drinking practices in ancient Greece and Rome and among other peoples of antiquity have been documented in detail (McKinlay, 1948a, 1948b, 1949a, 1949b, 1951).


Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Behavior Crosscultural Study Drinking Pattern Subsistence Economy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret K. Bacon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyLivingston College Rutgers, the State UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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