Aryans, Asuras History

By pjain      Published Dec. 8, 2019, 10:22 a.m. in blog Humanities-History-Blog   

Asuras vs Suras

Hi Prof Barjamovic:Saw your NPR interview on ancient Babylonian recipes wherein you say ...> These people are beer people. In fact, lots of the recipes contain beer. The Assyrians would have had wine with the food I think. The best of the stews we were cooking is a red beet stew. And it has nice sour beer in it. In Vedas and Gathas, the Aesirs/Asuras who are non-drinkers and are polar competitors to Aryan Suras/Devas - who drink the (alcoholic) Soma or amrita (elixir of immortality) beverage.

It seems the Greeks (~1200 BC on) and the Anatolians, drank wines mainly from barley? Cutting through the myths - basically my thought is Soma is either a hallucinogenic (maybe cannabis or poppy derivative ganja) and/or alcoholic drink. Ritualistic use by priests, and warriors drank them for bravery. So my question is - WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Since you have shown BOTH sides Iranian/Sumerians drank beer - they did "drink". The Aryans did too. 

Is the difference only in the use of deep drugs like ganja or marijuana?

Candidates for the identity of soma

Preference for wine and beer is often a regional thing, and ultimately based on growing conditions for vine. Southern Iraq is too hot for viticulture, so there was beer made from barley and date “wine”. In northern Iraq (Assyria) the mountains are cool and verdant the vine thrives. This was traditionally wine drinking country. As was Anatolia, which is native to the grape.

As for the whole Soma and Amrita discussion; I have nothing to say: I know it’s a terribly complicated and much debated issue, and I am not at all qualified to have any thoughts on it.

When I was asked by the interviewer what they would have drunk, I replied in relation to the preferred alcohols with this Patrick at food. (And note that the beer was almost not alcoholic - probably less that 0.5% per volume.) Not about alcohol as used in ritual, or cannabis for that matter. Just food and drink.

But the book to read for your question is McGovern’s “Uncorking the Past” which came out a couple of years ago. It is an excellent read. He talk about these traditions, the function of alcohol in human society, drinking and “dry” societies, etc. etc. You will find it interesting for sure:

Ancient Foods

Aryans vs Asuras


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