In ancient Egypt, they wore their hangover cures

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Lid geworden op: zo 03 apr 2005, 16:20

In ancient Egypt, they wore their hangover cures

Bericht door Nofret » vr 24 apr 2015, 16:07

Most of us need an excuse to get totally sloshed -- like New Year's, or a wedding reception with a great open bar, or karaoke -- but the ancient Egyptians actually held annual drunken festivals that celebrated drunkenness itself. If ever a society needed a great hangover cure, it was definitely those people.

Now, thanks to some 1,900-year-old pieces of papyrus bearing writing that has just recently been translated, we have the recipe for the hangover cure likely practiced after many a B.C.-era rager along the Nile.

A necklace of these leaves may have eased the pain from getting lit up in Luxor.
Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The texts, written in Greek, were unearthed a century ago from a stash of over 500,000 documents found in the ancient Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus. A section details a recipe for a "drunken headache" cure that involves stringing together leaves of the Alexandrian chamaedaphne shrub and perhaps wearing it in the form of a necklace, according to LiveScience.

It's unknown whether the "cure" actually worked, and I've yet to give it a try. If you see me walking around with a leafy necklace anytime soon, you'll know that I've had a rough night in the name of science.
While it might seem silly to drape yourself in some leaves from the neighborhood shrubs to ease your throbbing head, those ancient ravers weren't really that far off. After all, I recently discovered the best hangover cure during a recent bachelor party experience in Colorado -- the cure isn't in the leaves Ramses, it's actually in the buds.


Bron: ... -hangover/

nn ms.i sA.w -- No one is born wise.

Berichten: 2324
Lid geworden op: vr 29 nov 2013, 12:09

Re: In ancient Egypt, they wore their hangover cures

Bericht door Anna » za 25 apr 2015, 10:26

Festival of Drunkenness

Betsy M. Bryan (2005), in Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh, discusses the recent excavation of the porch of drunkeness at the temple of Mut, built by pharaoh Hatshepsut. She describes one key text as a reference to the Festival of Drunkenness, "[She made it as a monument for her mother Mut] Mistress of Isheru, making for her a columned porch of drunkeness anew, so that she might do [as] one who is given life [forever]". Whilst popular during the early New Kingdom, this festival can be traced back to the Middle Kingdom. The next mention of the Festival of Drunkenness on temple walls occurs during the Late Period, with the last being during Roman times. However, Cynthia Sheikholeslami (2011), at the ARCE 62nd Annual Meeting, has shown that the feast of drunkenness is better represented in tomb paintings during the New Kingdom into the Third Intermediate Period:

"Beliefs to which these festivals are linked are expressed in the story of the Destruction of Mankind, incorporated in the Book of the Heavenly Cow, a New Kingdom composition. The recent discovery of a 'porch of drunkenness' from a Hathor chapel of Hatshepsut by the Johns Hopkins University expedition to the Mut complex in Thebes attests to these festivals as early as the 18th Dynasty. Although scenes of banquets in 18th dynasty Theban tombs have been connected to the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, recent studies suggest that not all are, and that some banquets are celebrations of these Hathor feasts, particularly when accompanied by musicians and dancers. This paper will discuss other evidence that these rites for Hathor are commemorated in 18th dynasty tomb paintings, including representation of offerings and ritual vessels related to them against a backdrop of activities in the marshes."
(Sheikholeslami, C. 2011, Hathor's Festival of Drunkenness: Evidence from the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period)

Celebrated during the first month of the Egyptian year, it was closely tied with religion. It was a celebration in honour of the Eye of Ra and myth of the slaughter of mankind, principally held to appease the goddess Sekhmet, but it was also an important celebration of those goddesses who also held the title, such as Hathor, Tefnut and Mut. A hymn to the Eye of Ra at the temple of Madu (Medamud) asks the goddess to come and attend her festival:

"Come, oh Golden One, who eats of praise,
because the food of her desire is dancing,
who shines on the festival at the time of lighting (the lamps),
who is content with the dancing at night.

Come! The procession is in the place of inebriation,
the hall of travelling through the marshes.

Its performance is set,
its order is in effect,
without anything lacking in it."
(Darnell, J.C. 1995, Hathor Returns to Medamûd, pp. 49-50)

The hymn goes on to describe what happens at the festival itself:

"When the royal children pacify you with what is desired,
the officials consecrate offerings to you.
When the lector exaults you in intoning a hymn,
the magician reads the rituals.
When the organiser praises you with his water lily blooms,
the percussionists take up the tamborine.
The virgins rejoice for you with garlands,
the women with the wreath-crown.
The drunken celebrants drum for you during the cool of the night,
with the result that those who awaken bless you."
(Darnell, J.C. 1995, Hathor Returns to Medamûd, pp. 54)

This was not really a social drinking session, it was instead a holy event. Festival goers would drink enough alcohol that they became well and truly drunk, so much so that they would fall asleep in the temple forecourt. As part of the ritual, the sleeping celebrants would be awoken by the sound of drums and music, so the drinkers could commune with and worship the goddess. Dancing and the lighting of torches were all part of the ritual celebration, all in the hopes that worshipers would receive an epiphany from the goddess.

Interestingly, the reference to 'traveling through the marshes' is, according to Bryan, an ancient Egyptian euphemism for having sex. This theory is supported by graffiti depicting men and women in different sexual positions. Thus the 'hall of travelling through the marshes' was possibly a place where the worshipers would be involved in more intimate encounters during the Festival of Drunkenness. When linking this to the goddess Hathor, this aspect of the festival is unsurprising, as she was also the goddess of love.

Thus alcohol was not only central to the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians, but it was also one of the ways in which they could worship their gods, and maybe experience for themselves what it meant, to them, to be divine.

Original article:
© Caroline Seawright

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