View Full Version : Babylonia Honeymoon

Dan McFeeley
10-28-2003, 03:15 PM
There's a story going around on the 'net that, according to ancient Bablylonian custom, it was the father in law's duty to provide a month of meading for a newly wed couple, thus coining the term "honeymoon." This is something relatively new, not listed in any of the mead books, and none of the Internet postings give a citation of any kind.

Just this weekend I was attending a seminar on ancient near eastern brewing at Chicago's Oriental Institute, and the presenter was asked about mead, and the use of honey in fermented beverages by myself and another person attending the seminar. "Beer," that is, the fermented drink made from barley and bread during those times, was a diet staple but, if honey was used, it appeared as an adjunct ingredient. Our presenter specializes in Hittite studies but wasn't directly aware of mead or any role in near east customs. There was a casting of the famous Hammurabi steele at the museum, and although our presenter had no trouble reading the sections having to do with honey, there was nothing about mead.

More than likely this is a story with no real historical merit. No documentation has been given as to the original source of the story in any of the Internet postings. Nothing is mentioned in Edith Crane's _World History of Beekeeping_ or _Archaeology of Beekeeping_, nothing in Hilda Ransome's _The Sacred Bee_, nor in Gayre's historical book _Wassail! In Mazers of Mead_.

11-19-2004, 12:05 AM
There is a similar story (I believe) in Charlie Papazian's "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing". At any rate, that is why I brewed a batch for my wedding and I have some buddies who did the same. It makes a great story!