Sumerian Suds

Sumerian Suds

Peter Damerow of the Max Planck Institute recently used an ancient Sumerian drinking song in his research on the brewing techniques of Mesopotamia. The song, from the 3rd millenium BC, was dedicated to a woman saloonkeeper and glorifies Ninkasi, goddess of brewing.


“Ninkasi, you are the one who handles dough (and) … with a big shovel,
Mixing, in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics.
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grain.
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the earth-covered malt (munu),
The noble dogs guard (it even) from the potentates.


“A Sip from an Ancient Sumerian Drinking Song,” Peter Smith, Food & Think Smithsonian magazine blog


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Image (“Ninkasi Serving Suds”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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