Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Coriander in the ancient world

The “coriander”, is consequential from Greek word for “bed-bug”, as smell of spanking new foliage is said to resemble that of bug plague-ridden bed line. It is mentioned in Sanskrit prose as far flipside as 5000 BC and in Greek Eber Papyrus as early as 1550 BC.

It is believed to have originated somewhere in the Mediterranean area. Coriander seed was found in the Neolithic level of the Nahal Hemel Cave in Israel. Coriander can be dated back to the history of Queen of Sheba who visited king Solomon mentioned in the Holy Bible.
Coriander is named in an Egyptian papyrus dating from 1550 BC that lists medicinal plants. It was even reports that ancient Egyptian notes on coriander dating back to the time of the 5th dynasty, i.e. to 2500 BC. About one half L of coriander seeds were present in the tomb of Tutankhamun and were common in other graves in ancient Egypt at that time. The Egyptians called this herb as “spice of happiness”, perhaps for the reason that it was well thought-out to be an aphrodisiac. It was used for cooking and for children’s digestive sadden and diarrhea.

The library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal of the 7th century BC also contains documents referring to the cultivation of coriander. It is interesting to note that the ancient Egyptian literature mentions varieties of coriander coming from Asia.

Coriander was used in time-honored Greek medicines by Hippocrates (460-377 BC). Coriander seems to have been cultivated in Greece, since at least the second millennium BC, where the plant was used in perfumes, and both the seeds and leaves were used in cooking.

Classical Greek authors such as Aristophanes, Theophrastus, Hippocrates and Dioscorides and Latin authors such as Pliny and Columella also wrote about this crop.

The herb was also widely used in the Roman Empire. For instance, Apicius includes some 70 recipes using coriander in his cookbook. The Romans and Greeks also used coriander to flavor wine and also as a medication. Afterward, it was introduced into Great Britain by the Romans. Coriander was in use in Germany in ~ 900 AD.
Coriander in the ancient world