Vessels takes place in a desert kingdom similar to ancient Egypt.
But how similar?
From Vessels: “We had a tavern (back in our hometown) and it used to be very busy. All the soldiers stationed there would come and drink. Did you know they prefer beer without chunks in it? I know, Alvari are strange. But we catered to their tastes, they became happy, and we became wealthy."
Beer with chunks in it? No, that's not a throwaway line. Ancient Egyptian beer was chunky.
During the Old Kingdom, entire loaves of bread would be placed in water and left in heated clay jars to ferment, resulting in a starchy, chunky draft. Later on, during the New Kingdom, wheat and barley were made into a mash. Dates, honey, and fruit would be added for higher-quality ceremonial brews\ that would later be strained through baskets to ensure a smooth drink.
And in What the River Brought, there are scenes of children drinking beer during a big, village-wide festival. This wasn't negligent parenting. Men, women, and children could all drink beer and have it be socially acceptable. Beer wasn't just for intoxication. It was nutritious too. And it was believed to cure all sorts of ailments.
Beer was such a staple of everyday life in ancient Egypt, workers would be paid three times a day in just beer. There are ledgers of laborers and their payments during the construction of some of the greatest monuments of the ancient world.
This beverage, through some really awesome crafters, has been recreated to the best of modern ability and is said to be a smooth fruity beverage that is dark red in color. And they would drink it as soon as the beer was fermented, straight from the vat using a straw.
Women were the first brewsters and making beer was seen as a holy ritual accompanied by praying and singing. Later on, when beer became used in all the important rituals and celebrations, the pharaohs had the creation of the beverage converted into a state-run agency.
And, did you know? Beer saved all of mankind!
The god Ra grew tired of man's constant sinning. Another story said that he found out about a plot mankind had to kill him. Either way, he sent his daughter Sekhmet to transform into a great lion and lay waste to all of humanity. Later on, just before every single person in the world was slaughtered, Ra changed his mind and called her off.
Ra tried to call her off. Sekhmet was so overcome with bloodlust that she would not heed her father's command. So he transformed the Nile river into beer and had it dyed red so she would think it was blood. Sekhmet drank and drank until she became so drunk that she fell asleep and freaking transformed into an entirely different god named Hathor.
So beer was important enough to be used as payment, medicine, sustenance, invoking the gods, and waylaying murder-happy goddesses. Crack open a cold one and give thanks. Or brew your own Pharaoh Ale!
- Mark, Joshua J. "Beer in Ancient Egypt." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 16, 2017. https://www.ancient.eu/article/1033/
- Lott-Lavigna, Ruby "This is What 5,000-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Beer Tastes Like." Munchies. Last modified May 25, 2018. https://munchies.vice.com/en_uk/article/mbkbxa/this-is-what-5000-year-old-ancient-egyptian-beer-tastes-like
- Strudwick, H. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. (Metro Books, 2006).