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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 825: High Times: Intoxication in the Mediterranean World

Tuesday 5 July 2016, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Harry Munt, Department of History, University of York
Paper 825-aMonasteries, Wine Production, and Consumption in Umayyad Egypt
(Language: English)
Myriam Wissa, University of London
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Monasticism
Paper 825-bFood Consumption and Hashish Intoxication in Medieval Europe and Islam: A Comparative Literary Approach
(Language: English)
Danilo Marino, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Comparative

Paper -a:
The question of wine production in medieval Egypt has been documented and there are a number of historical records which suggest that wine production, which derives from a long standing practice, was still prevalent. The monasteries drew revenue to meet their needs from their agricultural products, namely dates, olives, and wine. Similarly, the monasteries in Iraq and Syria often became notable for their vintages, and the inns and taverns attached to them were popular for Christian and Muslim laypeople alike. In Umayyad Egypt, Coptic and Greek ostraca from seventh and eighth century monastic sites such as Thebes and Wadi Sarga and from other non-monastic settlements, namely Edfu provide evidence of wine production and consumption and may indicate its significance to the Umayyad rulers.This article draws on this and other literary records to explore whether Islamisation had achieved a subtle accomodation prohibiting wine selling and consumption. It also shows how early Islamic law could be flexible in responding to social changes.

Paper -b:
In this communication we will discuss the interesting correlation between food and hashish consumption as it is portrayed in Taqī al-Dīn Abū l-Tuqā al-Badrī's (d. 894/1488) anthology, the Rāḥat al-arwāḥ fī l-ḥašīš wa-l-rāḥ (The delight of the souls through hashish and wine), which collect narratives as well as verses inspired by hashish and wine, and in the last books of François Rabelais' (d. 1553) Tiers Livre. As far as hashish intoxication provokes the craving for food, in both the literary works we can observe joyful, humoristic, though ridiculous sketches of desperate intoxicated food-seekers and descriptions of real or imaginary plentiful banquets.