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Re: Silphium extinct -- back to Parthian garum

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  • Andrew Dalby
    ... Yes, you re right. The problem which would have to be explained, if one were arguing that they were the same species, is: how could that be if the habitats
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 12, 2005
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      > I think it's POSSIBLE they were different species, but I don't
      > see why all researchers seem to insist on this.

      Yes, you're right. The problem which would have to be explained, if
      one were arguing that they were the same species, is: how could that
      be if the habitats are so widely separated? 'Populations' so far apart
      that they can't interbreed would have differentiated eventually. Or
      was one of the 'populations' introduced by humans after all? And could
      that have anything to do with the fact that (according to Herodotus
      4.204) there was a settlement of Barcans (Barca was in the range of
      silphium) in Bactria (in the range of asafoetida)? These people had
      been more-or-less forcibly settled there by the ancient Persian
      government. I think Alice Arndt was the first to point out this very
      strange coincidence.

      A. Arndt, 'Silphium' in \Spicing up the palate: proceedings of the
      Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1992\ (Totnes: Prospect Books,
      1993) pp. 28-35.

      > (This is a common problem:
      > compare, for instance, how "gladius" is used in English to mean "a
      > short two-edged thrusting sword typically used by Roman footsoldiers"
      > whereas in Latin it just means "sword." Many people assume that you
      > can't call a longsord or a sabre a "gladius" in Latin, which is just
      > not true.)
      >
      Yes, and aoidos is used by some modern writers to mean a singer of
      oral epic, while in real early Greek it meant a singer of any kind of
      song.

      >
      > > Well, now, jdm314 (and indeed Susan Weingarten),
      >
      > I should point out that Andrew is here responding to an email I sent
      > him privately, inquiring about the NW Semitic word "tsir" or "tser",
      > which he glosses as equivalent to "garum" in his Food in the Ancient
      > World, A to Z. I wrote about this word back in
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Apicius/message/1331 . After Susan
      > Weingarten replied with her cursory findings in
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Apicius/message/1334 , I just assumed
      > that I was wrong and that the word did not in fact mean "garum." So I
      > was surprised to see AD make the same equation in his book, and was
      > afraid he might have gotten the info for me. In retrospect that seems
      > awfully presumptious and insulting, but keep in mind I still thought I
      > was wrong, and didn't think anyone else would make the same mistake ;)

      No offence taken -- assuming you in turn forgive me for mixing my
      reply to your email with my posting to the group? ;)
    • jdm314@aol.com
      ... An interesting point. I don t think I know enough about biology to judge how uncommon such a situation would be though. ... Fascinating! ... yeah, and I
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 12, 2005
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        Scripsit Andreas Dalby:
        > how could that
        > be if the habitats are so widely separated? 'Populations' so far apart
        > that they can't interbreed would have differentiated eventually.

        An interesting point. I don't think I know enough about biology to
        judge how uncommon such a situation would be though.

        > Or
        > was one of the 'populations' introduced by humans after all? And could
        > that have anything to do with the fact that (according to Herodotus
        > 4.204) there was a settlement of Barcans (Barca was in the range of
        > silphium) in Bactria (in the range of asafoetida)? These people had
        > been more-or-less forcibly settled there by the ancient Persian
        > government.

        Fascinating!


        > Yes, and aoidos is used by some modern writers to mean a singer of
        > oral epic, while in real early Greek it meant a singer of any kind of
        > song.

        yeah, and I believe a lot of the technical names we give to the various
        clay vessels of the ancients rest on very little authority, as far as
        the matching of name to item goes. I don't object to this kind of
        thing, just so long as we keep it clear in our minds what is an
        authentic technical term, and what is a modern usage.

        The "gladius" example I gave is paralleled by swords from all around
        the world. "Katana" means any sabre in Japanese, "shamshir" means any
        sword in Farsi, and so on.

        > No offence taken -- assuming you in turn forgive me for mixing my
        > reply to your email with my posting to the group? ;)

        Oh, that's no offence at all. I didn't mind your reply being public, I
        just wanted to make sure other readers knew what we were talking about.

        -JDM
      • jdm314@aol.com
        ... This book looks really good! (There s a table of contents at http://www.acanthus-books.com/spicuppal.html ) Unfortunately, my university doesn t own a
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 12, 2005
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          > A. Arndt, 'Silphium' in \Spicing up the palate: proceedings of the
          > Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1992\ (Totnes: Prospect Books,
          > 1993) pp. 28-35.

          This book looks really good! (There's a table of contents at
          http://www.acanthus-books.com/spicuppal.html ) Unfortunately, my
          university doesn't own a copy, nor indeed a copy of ANY in this series
          except for 2002. There's too many good articles in that one volume to
          request xeroxes by inter library loan... so I may need to just request
          the whole book and do the xeroxing myself! ;)

          But this is just one volume, and there appear to be quite a large
          number.

          Not to mention Petits Propos Culinaires and other periodicals. Building
          up my library of food scholarship isn't goign to be easy ;)
        • lilinah@earthlink.net
          ... Part of the point of my rambling post was to make clear that Perry has since done a great deal more work on the topic of medieval Arabic fermented sauces,
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 13, 2005
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            JDM wrote:
            > > I suppose you know that Charles Perry has written on medieval Arabic
            > > fermented sauces?
            >
            >Sounds interesting.

            Part of the point of my rambling post was to make clear that Perry
            has since done a great deal more work on the topic of medieval Arabic
            fermented sauces, and that he has changed his point of view on some
            of the issues in that earlier publication.

            Anahita
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