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The Tavern; Home of the Western Philosophical Tradition

Two things that shouldn’t be discussed in a bar are politics and religion.  At least that’s how the old saying goes.  This idea seems to come from the belief that the watering hole is a place of mostly ignorant hopheads dancing to loud music and enjoying other forms of drunken debauchery, too insecure to hear an opposing viewpoint without resorting to violence.  History however, shows quite a different story.

Ancient Roots

The historic progenitor of the bar or nightclub in the West is the Germanic and Nordic mead hall, popular especially during the European Dark Ages.  Originating in the Germanic and European longhouses, from around the fifth century onward the mead hall was the primary residence of the king or chief and his theigns or other retainers.  Often the most well fortified structure in the Anglo-Saxon village, the mead hall served a similar purpose as did the keep in later medieval cities.  As the preeminent building of the Dark Age kingdom, the mead hall hosted the stately ceremonies and celebrations of the community.

The mead hall played such an important part in the religious and mythological system of Western Europe that even the gods lived in halls much resembling those of the people.  In Norse mythology Valhalla is Odin’s hall and home of (read more)