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Bottles and Battles

The Rise and Fall of the Dionysian Mode of Cultural Production. A Study in Political Anthropology and Institutions in Greece and Western Europe.

Bjørn Qviller 

Hermes, Oslo 2004

pp. xviii + 293

ISBN 82 8034050-5

Price NOK 399

Table of Contents

Introduction xv


Part One

The Society of Bottles 1

Preface on Culture and Politics 3

I. Sodalities, Culture and Politics 3

II. The State of Nature, Drinks and Freedom 4

III. Culture and Drinks 7


Chapter 1: In the Vineyard of Noah 9

I. Phoenix Dactylifera 9

II. Wine and Narcotics 18

III. The Magic of Wine 20

IV. Philia and Amicitia 21

V. Drinking and Conflict Settlement 26

VI. Drinking and Decision Making 27


Comparative evidence: 29

a) Drinking and Sociability 29

b) Drinking, Oaths and Promises 31

c) Drinking to the Dead Ones, Oaths and Promises 31

d) Conclusion 33


Chapter 2: The Meaning of Drinking 34

I. Wine, the Essence of Life 34

II. Wine is Blood 34

III. Wine is Soul 35

IV. Wine is Salvation 36

V. Wine is Masculinity 38

VI. Wine is Liberty 40

VII. Wine, Symbol of Masculine Co-operation 41

VIII. Wine, A Common Substance 42

IX. Wine and the Formation of Cities 43

Comparative evidence 44


Chapter 3: Equal parties 49

I. The Language and Parlance of Drinking 49

II. Dais eise and its Occasions 50


Comparative evidence 53

a) Irish and English evidence 53

b) Scandinavian evidence 53

c) Evidence from Pakistan 55

d) African evidence 55


Chapter 4: The High Seat 57

I. The Feast of Merit 57

II. Personal Leadership and Wealth 60

III. Circular parties and Leadership 62

IV. Potlatches 63

V. Fighting Spirit and Wine 63

VI. Uprisings and Leadership 64

Comparative evidence 65


Chapter 5: The City Council and Government of the City State 72

I. The Gerousia in its Early Stages 72

II. The Platiwoinoi in Tiryns 76

III. Deliberating while Drinking in the Polis 78

IV. The Distribution of Drinks and Food in the Polis 79


Chapter 6: Symposia and Ambiguity 81


Chapter 7: The Growth of Kingship in a comparative perspective 86


Chapter 8: Sin and the Negation of the Symposion 98

I. Gnosticism and Wine Drinking 98

II. Augustine, A Manichaean 101

III. Original Sin, A Doctrine with Manichaean Features 103

IV. Desire, A Sin in itself 107

V. Sin, Social Atomism and Friendship 110

VI. Christian Friendship and Corpus 112

VII. Augustine and the Symposia 116

VIII. Legislation against the Symposia 119


Chapter 9: The Christian Symposia 122

I. The Gild in Medieval Europe, Preliminary Remarks 122

II. The Gilds Provide Mutual Assistance 125

III. Differences between Ancient and Medieval Towns 127

IV. Carolingian Gilds 137

V. The Christianization of the Gilds 138

VI. Anglo-Saxon Gilds 140

VII. The Gilds of Corpus Christi 142

VIII. The Range of the Gilds 144

IX. The Gilds and Social Conflicts 144

X. Masters versus Journeymen 146

XI. Augustinian Gilds 148

XII. Some Hot Spots of the Gilds 149


Part Two

The Society of Battles: The Dismantling of the Dionysian Mode of Production 151


Metaphysical Preface 153


Chapter 10: The Decline of the Symposia 163

I. The Gilds Vanish from Late Medieval Political Theory 163

II. The Gilds and the Reformation 168

III. Drinks and Turks 175

IV. Gilds, A Model for Peasant Life 176

IV. Gilds and the Powers-that-Be 177

V. Gilds and Conspicuous Consumption 181

VI. The Puritans and Drinking 182

VII. The Gilds' Slow Return 185

VIII. Gilds in Early Modem Political Theory 185


Chapter 11: The Political Realism of Gild Brother Machiavelli 193

I. Machiavelli's Pessimism 193

II. Machiavelli's Conception of Friendship 196

III. Machiavelli and the Doctrine of Original Sin 198

III. Machiavelli and Gnosticism 208


Chapter 12: Hobbes and the Augustinians 211

I. Hobbes and Religion. The Problem 211

II. Hobbes and Aristotle 213

III. Hobbes and Materialism 214

IV. Materialism or Predestination? 216

V. Hobbes and the Kingdom of God 219

VI. Original Sin 220

VII. Will and Contract 235

VIII. Hobbes and the Covenants 238

IX. Hobbes and Corpus Christi 240

X. Corpus Permixtum 244

XI. Teleology and Tautology 245

XII. Hobbes and Ignorance 248

XIII. Hobbes, An Anarchist? 250


Chapter 13: Conclusion and Epilogue 251

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