Did the ancient Greeks and Romans use psychoactive cannabis? Scholars say that hemp was commonplace in the ancient world, but there is no consensus on cannabis usage. According to botany, hemp and cannabis are the same plant and thus the ancient Greeks and Romans must have used it in their daily lives. Cultures parallel to the ancient Greeks and Romans, like the Egyptians, Scythians, and Hittites, were known to use cannabis in their medicine, religion and recreational practices.
Cannabis in the Ancient Greek and Roman World surveys the primary references to cannabis in ancient Greek and Roman texts and covers emerging scholarship about the plant in the ancient world. Ancient Greek and Latin medical texts from the Roman Empire contain the most mentions of the plant, where it served as an effective ingredient in ancient pharmacy. Cannabis in the Ancient Greek and Roman World focuses on the ancient rationale behind cannabis and how they understood the plant's properties and effects, as well as its different applications.
For the first time ever, this book provides a sourcebook with the original ancient Greek and Latin, along with translations, of all references to psychoactive cannabis in the Greek and Roman world. It covers the archaeology of cannabis in the ancient world, including amazing discoveries from Scythian burial sites, ancient proto-Zoroastrian fire temples, Bronze Age Chinese burial sites, as well as evidence in Greece and Rome. Beyond cannabis, Cannabis in the Ancient Greek and Roman World also explores ancient views on medicine, pharmacy, and intoxication.
Alan G. Sumler is lecturer at the University of Colorado at Denver.