Why Ninkasi?

I wanted to name my blog Ninkasi who is a Sumerian Goddess of Brewing and Beer. I’ve been always interested about history mainly WWI and WWII. Once I started learning about beer I find the history of beer fascinating.

It was the Sumerians that accidentally discovered beer 6,000 years ago. They figured out that if you bake sweet grain, moisten it and leave it out, you get beer!

Ninkasi is a Sumerian goddess of brewing and beer and a head brewer to the gods themselves. Like most earlier brewers, she was a woman, whose name means ‘the lady who fills the mouth’.

Here is the Hymn to Ninkasi (translated by Miguel Civil) from 1800 BC. It was written by a Sumerian poet and found on a clay tablet. *insert picture*

Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,

Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished it’s walls for you,

Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.
Ninkasi, your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

You are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics,
Ninkasi, you are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with [date] – honey,

You are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,

You are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,

You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.

You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,

You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)
Ninkasi, (…)(You the sweet wort to the vessel)

The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.

When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

I’m currently learning all I can about the history. I’m reading Pete Brown’s Man Walks into a Pub which talks about the history of beer and the beer culture in the UK.

Throughout this blog you will see some snippets of Beer history posting because I believe with the knowledge of history (of anything) you are more able to understand an appreciate modern day.

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