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Guns, Germs and Steel

Prologue (pages 13-15)


What is Yalis question? Restate the question in your own words.
Why is it that white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we
black people had little cargo of our own?

Why is it that white people that come to New Guinea can have so much cargo or goods but the
people who are actually from New Guinea cant do the same?

Farmer Power (Chapter 4)
How did the availability of domestic plants and animals explain why empire, literacy, and steel
weapons developed earliest in Eurasia?
The ability to have plants and animals domesticated meant that more food would be available
which could support large populations. Livestock could be use to move food surpluses which
also allowed for successful development of societies.

To Farm or Not to Farm (Chapter 6)
What factors contributed to hunter-gatherers becoming farmers?
Domestic plants and animals allow a society to grow into a large population. Since there are
several people living in the same area that are not burdened with the tasks of hunting and
gathering, it is possible to have empire, literacy, and steel weapons. Since large populations
need to keep records and be controlled by some form of government, literacy must come into
play. Since men are no longer burdened with the task of gathering food, they could then
develop skills with things like iron and steel and become craftsmen creating weapons. Empire is
made when agricultural societies with huge populations of people have craftsmen to make
weapons and domesticated animals that aid in the spreading of germs.

Spacious Skies and Tilted Axes (Chapter 10)
How did axis orientations of continents affect the success or non-success of human beings in
various areas of the world?
Axis orientations affected the rate of spread of crops and livestock, and possibility of writing,
wheels, and other inventions.

Lethal Gift of Livestock (Chapter 11)
How does the role of germs figure in answering Yali's question?
The role of germs figures in answering Yalis question because since the native peoples were not
immune to the European diseases, Europeans were able to gain the advantage. The Eurasians
intimacy with domesticated animals helped evolve germs. This helped them to develop and grow
stronger while the natives were wiped out and grew weaker. With that the Eurasians were able
to colonize more land and develop more cargo that the natives themselves.

From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy (Chapter 14)
How do the institutions of society change over time and how are these changes related to the
"agents of conquest", guns, germs, and steel?
When food production is taking place society begins to develop. The more food production
that takes place in a society, the bigger it becomes as its population grows. Since the
population grows, a form of government is put in place. Then through taxation the government
can make money which is used to make guns and steel. In order to produce food, the
domestication of plants and animals needs to take place. This will from germs as the societies
population interacts with the domesticated animals.

A History of the World in Six Glasses
Beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt
1. How is the discovery of beer linked to the growth of the first civilizations?
Beer is associated with the domestication of cereal grains which lead to the adoption
of farming. It came to existence when human history went from a nomadic to settled
lifestyle followed by social complexity to the emergence of cities.

2. What is the relationship between beer and writing, commerce, and health?
Beer drinking opened the way for civilization and the need to write and was the drink of
the first great civilizations. Writing came about because it was necessary for the
documentation of beer, grain, bread and the distribution of other goods as well as
documentation of taxes. Commerce became common because beer was a typical form
of payment and was synonymous with prosperity. Bread and beer were known as the
food and drink of sustenance, good health, and healthy development. Beer was also
used as a mild sedative and basis for medical concoctions of herbs and spices. Beer was
also less contaminated than water, making it the safer beverage of choice.
Wine in Greece and Rome
1. How did the use of wine differ from that of beer in ancient Greece and Rome?
Wine was mainly used for religious purposes. Because of its high price and sacristy wine
was a worthy beverage for the gods to drink. Wine was also used as a sign of wealth,
power, and privilege. Both the Greeks and Romans thought of wine as a universal staple
to be drunk by the rich and poor. With the help of the Romans wine rose to a whole new
level. The Romans turned wine into a form of social differentiation, a signal of wealth
and status of the consumer. Wine was also symbolic of where the Romans had come
from and what they had become. Beer was just a beverage drank by the common folk.
It was also a much safer alternative to water.

2. How and why did wine develop into a form of a status symbol in Greece?
The Assyrians developed wine drinking into an elaborate and formal social ritual. An
obelisk that showed Ashurnasirpals son, Shalmaneser III, holding a wine bowl in his
right hand, with his left hand resting on the hilt of his sword and a supplicant kneeling
at his feet, changed wine drinking into the symbols of power, prosperity, and privilege.

3. What is the relationship between wine and empire, medicine, and religion?
With the availability of cereal crops, the growth of wine making communities lead to the
invention of pottery, which were important for making, storing , and serving wine. Since
the wine was free of pathogens, unlike water, it was the beverage of choice. Often
times wounds were treated with wine instead of water because they were less likely to
get infected. Wine was also known for its power to clean and purify because of its lack
of pathogens and antibacterial agents. Even though wine was used for many things, its
first and main use was for religious purposes. Later on it was also developed into a
social drink.