3957Herbs and history
- Jul 4, 2003I am attaching an email that came to me on my lavender
list.... and thought maybe someone on this list might
have some information.
From: "John MacGregor" <jonivy@...> |
Date: Fri, 04 Jul 2003 13:58:48 -0700
Subject: Re: [Lavandula] Experts on lavender in Old
on 7/4/03 9:44 AM, Susan Robins at
> I had a caller who is writing a novel that takesplace during the time of
> the Old Testament, and would like e-mail contactwith lavender historians.
Way back in 1874, J. Smith speculated that the
reference to spices ("roshay
besamim") in Song of Solomon 5:1 might suggest that
Solomon "had in his
gardens at Etham all kinds of sweet-smelling plants
common to Palaestine, as
also those of South Europe, such as lavender,
rosemary, sage, thyme, savory,
marjoram, etc." [Quoted by Molden & Moldenke, p. 52].
But this is a very
Eurocentric idea of someone with very little knowledge
of the botany of the
The sweet-smelling lavenders we know--especially
Lavandula angustifolia and
L. latifolia and their hybrids--are native to the
mountains of southern
Europe., and it is highly unlikely that they had
reached the Holy Land by
the eighth century B. C.
Michael Zohary (p. 35) notes that (unspecified)
"species of lavender
(Lavendula) [sic.]"... are among the "many tropical
annuals and perennials
that grow in wadi beds, rock crevices , and other
sites" of the Jordan and
Aravah Valleys. But the fragrance of the species
native to the region (L.
stoechas, L. coronopifolia, L. pubescens, etc.) have
"medicinal" aromas that
could hardly be compared with the "sweet" spices like
frankincense, myrrh, spikenard, and the other incense
used in Biblical times.
I can find not one single modern authority that
suggests any word in the Old
Testament refers to any kind of lavender.
It is my opinion that any reference to "lavender" in a
novel set in Old
Testament times would be a blatant anachronism.
John MacGregor, List Owner
South Pasadena, CA 91030 USA
USDA zone 9 Sunset zones 21/23
Do you Yahoo!?
SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!
- << Previous post in topic