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What to Know about Ancient Addictions

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Did Noah get drunk after planting vineyards and made it into wine? Did the beautiful and innocent Helen of Troy use a potion made of opium from an Egyptian Queen to treat the ill Greek warriors? Did Oracle of Delphi served as a kind of rehab for the people who need support in making decisions in life? Did the production of tobacco and cannabis got banned and made punishable by beheading so ordered by the great Ottoman Sultan Murad? 

Far before the times of drug rehab, there are many interesting things to learn about.

The classic world forming the ancient Rome and Greece is truly an intriguing time and place. This is because every behavior comes with consequences that were studied and discussed. It was where the people believed and aspired to have supernatural entities and ideas, and where Gods have physical interaction with the people. 

In this simple age where people are intellectually sophisticated towards everything, both men and women were guided by the divine rules and laws they’ve made which became the basis of their behavior, morality, character, and spiritual beliefs. The roles of Euripides and Sophocles are full of this kind of thing. Doesn’t all of those contribute to what is believed as the Golden Age? Nobody or no articles had ever mentioned the addiction that these heroic beings had committed in their existence when we are studying about these at school. The facts are open for thorough discussion and interpretation. 

After his successful mission to face the great storm with his family and other animals, Noah finally cheered for it. Noah did grow vineyards after coming out of the Ark. He made it into a wine and got drunk (Genesis: 9: 20-21). This had been his habit and got addicted to the taste and goodness of wine. 

On the other hand, drugs made of plants such as opium, poppy, and laudanum are used to cure illnesses and diseases during early human histories. Among these plants, opium has the records as the first one to be used for medicinal purposes. In Homer’s Odyssey, Helen of Troy used a potion made of opium given to her by the Queen of Egypt to end the sufferings of the Greek warriors. Helen had cast a drug into the wine and given to the warriors to lull all anger and pain, as well as bring forgetfulness of sadness and sorrow. This potion was relatively made of opium, which became the basis for further creation of potential drugs. 

Another one is the Oracle and Delphi (Temple of Apollo), which had served as an institution, helping the people reach fair and right decisions they need to achieve peace of mind. Also, this place had been a cult refuge of Dionysus as the God of Wine. This had been a place for the ceremonies associated with the cult such as the Bacchanal, heavy drinking parties, and orgies. On the walls, phrases such as ‘know thyself,’ ‘water is the best’, and ‘nothing in excess’ is written in the purpose of resonating the addicts in today’s generation. 

Lastly, Ottoman Sultan Murad had ordered the banning of cannabis and tobacco to stop the alarming addiction of the people to it. The punishment of beheading was proclaimed to reduce the rate of tobacco and cannabis smokers. 

So now, you might ask about what is the point of this. Well, therefore, the classical era had established broad and excessive consumption of alcohol. In addition to that, the use of drugs such as the opium was though in a little space. The only question left in our minds is that, did the use of alcohol and drugs became a significant downside of this era? If there are serious problems connected to it? Was it then healed? Did any drunk or drug dependent lurking in the streets of Rome and Athens got treated? Or were these buried in the walls of Delphi together with the other shed of evidence justifying this kind of issue? 

Paul Watson

The author Paul Watson