Frat-boy college students did not invent – or perfect – the booze-your-face-off, lost-weekend, drinking party. Adult men, who should have known better, have been doing it for millennia. Modern-day drinking glasses have flat bottoms, and stand up straighter and steadier than most of the sots at bars.
Greeks and Romans, and many Medieval European hard-drinkers, went about the task with a round-bottomed pottery, or later, metal, drinking cup in their hand. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the
If ever you needed an incentive to drink, owning a ptomatis might be it. Derived via Latin from Ancient Greek, a ptomatis is a cup or similar drinking vessel that needs to be emptied before it can be put down, because it is shaped in such a way that it won’t stand upright open-end up.
These handle-less drinking cups were even made from wood, but as technology improved, they were fabricated in china, and glass. This is why drinking glasses, are referred to as ‘glasses.’ While most are flat-bottomed and steady today, the earlier, fall-over versions were why they are also still called tumblers.
Aside from weapons forging, there wasn’t a lot of technology among the Norsemen. For their drinking, they made do with hollowed out cattle horns. After a hard day of looting and pillaging, they would settle down with a bovine ptomatis full of mead.
If you ever watched the movie, The Thirteenth Warrior you will have seen the young Muslim, exiled to the far North as an emissary. When he is offered a little fortified fermented drink to keep the cold away, his face shows disappointment when he says that he is forbidden to partake of the fruits of the grape or the grain. It quickly lights up again in delight when the Viking claps him on the shoulder, and explains that the mead is made from honey.
Let the party begin!