Cannabis’s Role in Ancient Europe. Cannabis as you may not know. Has been a staple throughout European history. For example, the great ships in what’s known as the “Age of Discovery” had sails made of hemp. And the first crop planted in Jamestown – an early colony in what’s now known as Virginia. Was none other than hemp. Cannabis is much more than just a psychoactive hippie drug like many would like you to think. So go on. Indulge in Cannabis’s Role in Ancient Europe. And take note. Because who knows. Maybe the history of cannabis will soon be in the syllabus for future students!
Cannabis’s Role in Ancient Europe – Greeks & Romans
Unfortunately, much of Ancient Europe had vastly different culture and geography. With written language not widespread until the Romans introduced it. Thus leading the story of cannabis’s history in Ancient Europe to be mainly told by the Greeks and Romans. The history details their interactions with other Europeans and their own beliefs about Cannabis. With that being said. These written interactions could be stated as biased as they’re one sided.
The Aryans – The unsung heroes in the story of Cannabis in India. Provided their cultural influence across Europe. From Greece, Iraq, Persia, Germany and Eastern France. In Greece, one of the first scholars wrote about Scythian funeral customs. In these writings, funeral attendees would sit in a covered pit with heated stones. The attendees would then throw hemp seeds onto the hot stones. Where a steam more intense than a Greek steam bath was created. The steam would entrance attendees. Ultimately sending them on a cosmic trip which had them shouting in bliss. That being said, seeds don’t contain psychoactive material. So that makes me wonder if seeds were thrown or perhaps whole branches?
Cannabis’s Role in Ancient Europe – Hemp & Mythology
Hemp is the godfather of useful materials. The Ancient Europeans knew this and took advantage of all the areas where hemp could be utilized. That being said, during the Roman era in Italy. Not very much hemp was cultivated. However by the fall of the Roman era. Hemp cultivation was in full tilt all the way to Britain. Hemp was used as stated previously used for sails on ships, for clothes and cloths.
Mythology has always been an interesting topic. But up until now I’d never heard before that Cannabis was involved! Freya, Norse Goddess of love utilized Cannabis within her realm. For example, harvest time coincided with an “erotic” festival which was held in her honour. (Seriously, what went on there!?) Freya that minx of a Goddess was thought to inhabit the female flowers of Cannabis. And being a divine force. Those whom ingested the flower were influenced by the Goddess herself.
Cannabis’s Role in Ancient Europe – Biblical Use
Of course if we’re talking Europe. Guaranteed there will be some discussion regarding Religion. In fact, the Old Testament voiced that Cannabis was one of the ingredients in the anointing oil God instructed Moses to create. Another example included the Ancient Hebrews using Cannabis in what was known as a “trance inducing holy oil”. The Holy Oil was used widely in temples until the narc of a King; King Josiah. Came into power around 621BC.
And lastly in my opinion, scholars most notable written biblical use of Cannabis has to be Jesus’s supposed healing powers. Jesus was said to use Cannabis oil to heal skin and eye diseases. – Again, I unfortunately don’t remember being told the Cannabis version of the story. However I do remember in Religion class learning about Jesus healing people with skin and eye diseases with “magic”. I guess that magic was always Cannabis!
Cannabis’s Role in Ancient Europe – Distorted History
Lastly, it may come as a surprise. But history over time can be distorted and changed. Ruling parties and Religions can play a huge part in the way history is written. Thus meaning that over time. Cannabis may be viewed positively or negatively all depending on the view presented by the writer. However, there are plenty of resources detailing the positive use of cannabis throughout Ancient Europe. This especially being true in the pre writings of Northern Europe. And after the fall of Rome, Christian anti-pagan censorship set forth to stamp out natural medicinal practices. With that being said. Pre Christian Europe could definitely be said to have utilized cannabis. In both medicinal, and religious ways. As can be concluded by what information’s available!