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Additional resources for Drinking Matters: Public Houses and Social Exchange in Early Modern Central Europe

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19,000 litres of wine (equivalent to perhaps £48,000–£228,000 in today’s money) and c. 20,000 to c. 72,000 litres of beer (£65,000–£235,000). Public houses with lands, however, fetched anything from c. 31,000 to 82,000 litres of wine (£372,000–£984,000) and c. 107 The volumes of alcohol publicans needed to sell to recoup their investments are staggering, particularly if staff and maintenance costs are added to the equation. Most illuminating, perhaps, is the comparison with wage levels. Hostelries without lands reached prices equivalent to between c.

Nevertheless, there are grounds to retain the phrase, for both pragmatic and more substantial reasons. First, it is a well-established ‘technical’ term for most of the period under scrutiny, with some flexibility as to its exact chronological boundaries. The great bulk of surviving evidence, of course, also clusters around the later phases. Second, the religious changes associated with the Reformation – a typical starting-point for the ‘early modern’ period – caused enormous upheaval in only superficially ‘static’ societies, creating new identities, additional tensions and conditions conducive to accelerated state formation.

The motley group of pilgrims departing from the Tabard Inn in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales provides an early example of an enormous volume of information in poems, satires, plays and novels. 47 Moralists and clergymen, in contrast, warned of alcohol-related temptations threatening individual souls as well as the commonwealth as a whole. 50 Moving to visual records, public houses appear prominently in woodcuts from the Age of the Reformation and apparently ‘realistic’, if heavily coded, depictions of everyday life in Netherlandish works of the seventeenth century.

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