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Re: Maize origins [was re: "Corn" in medieval Europe]
I had written, RE possible Turkish introduction of "GranTurco"
aka "Tuerkische Korn" aka "Blat de Moro", aka Maize into Europe
in the 16th or even 15th century,
>> Finan [_Maize in the Great Herbals_]
>> does not indicate whether there were herbals prior to 1539 that
>> would have described Turkish Corn if it was present then [in 1492],
>> or if there
>> simply were no herbals prior to that date. The Turks were into Europe
>> from 1453 on, at least.
David Friedman replies,
>Tacitatus Sanitatem, versions of which exist in at least two modern
>printings (_The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti_ and _A Medieval
>Health Manual_, as I recall), is pre-Columbian, has lots of pictures of
>plants, and is based on an Arabic source. I am fairly sure there is
>nothing that looks like maize.
This would be _Tacuinum Sanitatis_, by Ibn Botlan, d. c. 1068. The
1984 translation _The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti_ is in
our rare books room, proxying for the original, I guess -- I'll have a
look at it soon.
Finan reports numerous European herbals from 1539 (the first one that
describes maize) on, and indicates that prior to 1570 all attribute the
introduction of this "Turkish grain" to Turkey and/or Turkish domains.
However, he does not mention any herbals before that. What I am
wondering is whether there were any European herbals that would have
been likely to have mentioned maize between say 1453 and 1539, if
it had been around, or if there just weren't any.
It would also be
interesting to know if there were any Turkish or Persian herbals from
this era, and what they had to say about maize, if anything. Ibn Botlan
actually antedates Somnathpur (1268), the So. Indian temple that
has some of the most maize-like sculptures, according to Johannessen
and Parker (Economic Botany 1989), so it's pushing it to expect
him to be describing it already. This is usually called Turkish
grain, not Saracen grain, so it's possible it bypassed the Arabs altogether,
although Miguel Vidal's Catalan term "Blat de Moro" is
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Ohio State U
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