A History of the World in Six Glasses


Thomas Standage

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A History of the World in Six Glasses Characters

Minor Characters
King Ashurnasirpal II
The ancient Assyrian king often credited with popularizing wine and making it the drink of power and sophistication.
Legendary Mesopotamian hero and protagonist of one of the world’s first true works of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh’s consumption of beer symbolizes his power and maturity.
Ancient Egyptian god who was traditionally credited with the invention of beer.
Ancient Egyptian god who saved the human race from destruction by drugging Hathor with beer.
A character from the Epic of Gilgamesh whose inability to consume beer symbolized his wildness and immaturity.
Ancient Egyptian god who had planned to destroy the human race before Ra drugged him with beer.
Greek historian who claimed that the Greeks became civilized by learning to produce wine from grapes.
Greek god of wine and drama, supposedly the only entity capable of drinking undiluted wine without going insane.
Greek philosopher who theorized that drinking wine at a symposium posed a challenge to humans’ freedom and self-control, one that could be overcome with wisdom and contemplation.
A student of Socrates who recorded his teacher’s beliefs in the Platonic Dialogues, often regarded as the founding texts of Western philosophy.
Marcus Aurelius
Roman emperor who popularized wine in the Roman Empire because he believed it to be a powerful medicine.
The doctor of Marcus Aurelius, charged with the task of finding the best wine—which Aurelius believed would serve as the best medicine.
Jesus Christ
Founder of Christianity, whose “Last Supper” of bread and wine, as well as his first miracle—turning water into wine—helped keep wine popular in Europe throughout the Middle Ages.
Founder of Islam, who forbade his followers from consuming alcohol, but was rumored to have enjoyed Spanish wines toward the end of his life.
Galileo Galilei
One of the first modern scientists, and an important figure in the Western Enlightenment.
Francis Bacon
A scientist and philosopher whose innovations paved the way for the Western Enlightenment.
Alexander Hamilton
The first Secretary of the Treasury in U.S. history, and the author of the infamous Whiskey Tax.
George Washington
First president of the United States, who faced an early crisis when the Southern colonies refused to pay a large tax on their whiskey.
Pasqua Rosee
Founder of the first English coffeehouse in the 17th century, later followed by hundreds of imitators.
Oliver Cromwell
The Puritanical, 17th century dictator of England, whose strict opposition to the consumption of alcohol indirectly helped to popularize coffee, a non-alcoholic replacement.
Daniel Edwards
A wealthy English merchant whose friendship with Pasqua Rosee helped to attract wealthy clients to the earliest English coffeehouses.
Thomas Macauley
19th-century English historian who argued for the importance of coffeehouses in 17th-century English culture.
Christopher Wren
English scientist, architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, contemporary of Sir Isaac Newton, and noted coffeehouse patron.
Edmund Halley
English scientist, discoverer of Halley’s comet, contemporary of Sir Isaac Newton, and noted coffeehouse patron.
Sir Isaac Newton
Famous English scientist and mathematician, who made the decision to publish his magnum opus, Principia, while debating in a coffeehouse.
Robert Hooke
Noted rival of Sir Isaac Newton and coffeehouse patron.
Adam Smith
Author of the central text of modern economics, The Wealth of Nations, which he wrote largely in coffeehouses.
Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
18th century French intellectual who honed his talent for criticizing the hypocrisy of French government in coffeehouses.
18th century French intellectual and coffeehouse patron.
18th century French intellectual and coffeehouse patron.
Camille Desmoulins
The man often credited with inaugurating the French Revolution by crying “To arms, citizens!” while in a coffeehouse.
Emperor Shen Nung
Ancient Chinese emperor, and the supposed inventor of tea.
Chinese thinker, founder of Taoism, and a noted proponent of tea’s medicinal powers.
Richard Arkwright
18th century British inventor of the spinning frame, later a staple of Industrial Revolution factories.
Josiah Wedgwood
Famous English designer of ceramics.
Commissioner Tze-su
Chinese administrator who in the 1830s tried and failed to fight his country’s secret opium trade with Britain.
Charles Bruce
19th century explorer who spent 20 years learning the proper ways to brew and grow tea.
Joseph Priestley
19th century chemist often credited with discovering oxygen, also the first man to learn how to make “sparkling water,” the precursor to soda.
Benjamin Silliman
American chemist who was the first man to sell bottled soda water.
John Matthews
An American entrepreneur who patented devices for packaging and soda that are still used 150 years later.
John Pemberton
Late 19th century pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola as a “miracle remedy.”
Frank Robinson
Business partner of John Pemberton, who coined the name “Coca-Cola,” and designed Coke’s signature cursive logo.
Asa Candler
Georgia businessman largely responsible for shifting Coke from a medicinal potion to a popular soft drink.
Harvey Washington Wiley
Scientist who, in the 1910s, launched a popular campaign claiming that Coca-Cola was dangerous and caused violence and delinquency.
Archie Lee
Brilliant ad-man largely responsible for keeping Coke popular during the Great Depression as a result of his family-friendly advertisements.
Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister of Israel who argued that the Six Day War of 1967 was motivated largely by the need for fresh water.
Gaius Marius
The powerful ruler of Rome in the final days of the Roman Republic.
Marcus Antonius
A powerful Roman politician who opposed Gaius Marius.
Thomas Jefferson
American president, author of the Declaration of Independence, and noted proponent of wine.
John Adams
Early American politician and president, who argued that rum was one of the leading causes of the American Revolution.