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watermelons-msg - 10/24/15

 

Period watermelons.

 

NOTE: See also the files: fruits-msg, fruit-melons-msg, Period-Fruit-art, Watermelons-art, berries-msg, Peaches-art, pomegranates-msg, strawberries-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: Uduido at aol.com

Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 22:17:47 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: SC - Watermelon

 

<< is watermelon period? >>

 

Watermelon is period.

 

"Citrullus vulgaris. Native of  tropical Africa....Has been under cultivation

for centuries in India and Egypt; is shown in early Egyptian paintings and

described in Sanskrit Of the four known species three are African and one is

Asiatic."

 

I have also seen at least two period paintings where watermelons are clearly

depicted and of course, the recipe I posted was taken from Coriadoc's

"Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks> "The Baghdad Cookery Book"

which translation clearly states watermelon.

 

Lord Ras

 

 

From: JTRbear at aol.com

Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 00:09:33 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Two questions...

 

Watermelon was smuggled over to the new world aboard slave ships, which is

why it is associated with African Americans.  

 

Jean-Phillipe Lours

 

 

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 23:19:09 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Watermelon

 

>I have also seen at least two period paintings where watermelons are clearly

>depicted and of course, the recipe I posted was taken from Coriadoc's

>"Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks> "The Baghdad Cookery Book"

>which translation clearly states watermelon.

>Lord Ras

 

Watermelon is period, but you have to be a little careful about deducing

what is period from translations, given problems both with the translators

and with changing meaning of language. For example, "pumpkins" appear in

old world cuisine--but they aren't the big orange Cucurbita pepo that we

call "pumpkin." "Corn," of course, means maize to a modern American but

grain to a period (or modern) Englishman. And I saw a translation of Ibn

Battuta which referred to peppers, in context vegetable peppers, in North

Africa in the 14th century. I don't know what Ibn Battuta actually

mentioned, but it wasn't capsicum, which is New World.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

From: Uduido at aol.com

Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 21:00:22 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Watermelon

 

<< these mellons, however, do contain a great deal of moisture and are what the

Bushmen survive on during the dry season.  It is possible that the melons seen

in the illustrations and mentioned are these bitter melons.>>

 

No the illustrations clearly show a cart containing the big oblong striped

watermelons. One of the paintings was French and one was German.

<<Do the references sited above say anything about the melons being sweet?

That would be the best way to tell which are being referred to.>>

 

Unfortunately, no. However, the bitter watermelon that you speak of is in all

probabability the "citron" which is very bitter until it is candied or other

wise processed. Another possibility is that the melon to which you refer is

another species of plant . With the exception of citron, all known species of

watermelon are relatively sweet.

<<One more thing, I keep hearing about/reading about gourds.  What are they? I

had been taught that the winter squash we eat are also New World.>>

 

The Luffa gourd (sponge) is an Old World plant and is extremely edible when

it is very young (less than 6 inches). I have used (and continue to use) this

gourd when when gourds are called for in a period recipe.

 

Both winter and summer squashes are New World according to all the references

I have read..

<<Linneah >>

 

Hope this helps.

Lord Ras

 

 

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 20:02:33 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Watermelon

 

>My apologies to everyone on the list.  I have just completed some more

>investigation and the watermelon did, indeed, origionate in North Africa and

>was brought to the Americas.  I still wonder about whether it was sweet or

>whether ours today is a descendant of the bitter melons I mentioned above.

>Linneah

>who can sometimes be too quick to show her limited knowledge

 

Ibn Battuta talks about delicious melons. It seems clear from that and

other period Islamic references that there were a variety of different old

world melons, many of which were not bitter. As to watermelon in

particular, I can't say, but I see no reason to identify it with the bitter

melon you mentioned.

 

Modern Chinese cooking uses something called bitter melon, but I see no

reason to assume it is the same as what you mentioned.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Date: Sun, 4 May 1997 00:15:39 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Watermelon

 

At 10:32 AM -0600 5/3/97, S.Thomas wrote:

 

> Your Grace;  What about cantalope, etc?  I have a couple of

>illustrations (from "Tacuinum Sanitatis") that say the object being held

>is "melon".  It looks to be the size and shape of a cantalope, but

>..... In service,  Morgan morgan at in-tch.com

 

I believe that muskmelon (which is what I believe cantelope is) is old world.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

From: Luxueil <jlv at mail1.halcyon.com>

Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 09:11:13 -0700

Subject: Re: SC - Watermelon

 

At 02:59 PM 5/5/97 -0400, Mark Schuldenfrei wrote:

> Cantalopes originated in southern Asia, India to be specific. Cantalopes are

> period.

 

The earliest reference to "Cantalope" that my OED gives is 1839.  It could

be that the very specific variety of melon called a Cantalope is not period.

 

Ny Natural History book lists Cantalope and Musk Melon as Cucumis Melo.

Presuming that musk melons and cantalopes are the same thing then

Cantalopes are period as the OED does give period (1573 and later) usages

of musk melon.  Additionally the word "Melon" is defined as "A name common

to several kinds of gourds, esp. the Musk Melon"  Usage of this word dates

to 1387.

 

Jean Louis de Chambertin

Barony of Madrone - An Tir  

 

 

Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 08:22:44 EST

From: Llewmike at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Watermelon

 

Castelvetro's Fruits' Herbs and Vegetables of Italy also references the

watermelon.

 

 

Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 17:05:08 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Question  about watermelon...

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> did i dream seeing it, or did i see a mention of watermelon being

> period fruit on this list? or just melon? and what kind?

> cailte

 

Watermelons— Come originally from Sub-Saharan Africa and were eaten by

the Egyptians, but not apparently by the Romans and Greeks. They begin

to appear in still life paintings in Northern Europe after circa 1450.

Watermelon was never as popular as the other melons. I have not found

that garnishing melons in the fashions employed here today was done

prior to 1600, but again it seemed the decorative, inexpensive, and

festive thing to do.

 

This is from my notes that I made when I served them last.

Castelvetro's manuscript contains a good description of them.

See Castelvetro, Giacomo. The Fruit, Herbs & Vegetables of Italy.

Translated by Gillian Riley. London: Viking, 1989.

 

If you search the web gallery of art under melon you can turn up

some pictures of at least 17th century cantalopes.

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 21:30:28 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Question  about watermelon...

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> did i dream seeing it, or did i see a mention of watermelon being

> period fruit on this list?  or just melon?  and what kind?

> cailte

 

Melons are of Old World origin and are definitely period.  Watermelons are

of African origin while the others are probably from the Middle East or

Levant.

 

To quote Platina, "Melons called pepones seem to differ from those called

melopepones since the later are round and ribbed, the former oblong, like

citron apples...."

 

And from Apicius, "long and round melons: <dressing:> pepper,

pennyroyal,honey or passum, liquamen, and vinegar.  Sometimes asafoetida is

added."

 

Obviously, known and eaten (at least around the Med) from Antiquity to

The Renaissance.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 22:40:33 -0400

From: Ariane Helou <Ariane_Helou at brown.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Question  about watermelon...

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

So, this is my favorite period description of a watermelon... at least I

assume it's a watermelon:

 

"Also they have another excellent fruit called Anguria, the coldest fruit

in taste that ever I did eate: the pith of it, which is in the middle, is

as redde as blood, and full of blacke kernels.  They find a notable

commodity of it in the sommer, for the cooling of themselves in time of

heate. For it hath the most refrigerating virtue of all the fruites of

Italy."

 

From Thomas Coryate's "Crudities," the travel journal of an Englishman's

tour through France, Italy, and Germany.  It was published in 1611, but

posthumously; Coryate died in 1607, and I think his travels took place a

few years earlier than that.  This excerpt and the following are from his

section on Venetian food markets.  Here's what he has to say about other

melons:

 

"Likewise they had another speciall commodity when I was there, which is

one of the most delectable dishes for a Sommer fruite of all Christendome,

namely muske Melons.  I wondred at the plenty of them; for there was such

store brought into the citie every morning and evening for the space of a

moneth together, that not onely St. Markes place, but also all the market

places of the citie were superabundantly furnished with them: insomuch that

I thinke there were sold so many of them every day for that space, as

yeelded five hundred pound sterling.  They are of three sorts, yellow,

greene, and redde, but the red is most toothsome of all."

 

Finally, a warning to the greedy:

 

"But I advise thee (gentle Reader) if thou meanest to see Venice, and shalt

happen to be there in the sommer time when they are ripe, to abstaine from

the immoderate eating of them.  For the sweetnesse of them is such as hath

allured many men to eate so immoderately of them, that they have therewith

hastened their untimely death."

 

Vittoria

 

 

Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 14:31:25 -0400

From: Gretchen Beck <grm at andrew.cmu.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Newbie Question about Watermelon

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

--On Thursday, August 02, 2007 12:57 PM -0500 Liz Wilson

<ewilson618 at tx.rr.com> wrote:

> I am new to the SCA and read a great but fairly general article for

> beginners that broke fruits and vegetables down into New World and Old

> World foods, but I didn't see watermelon on the list.  The article

> indicated that cantalope (musk melons) and honeydew were Old World.  This

> article was from the SCA websites.  Does anyone know the status and/or

> history of  watermelon, or how it would have been served?  I am assuming

> that it was seasonable and was probably limited to warmer climates.

> Cristiana

 

Hi Cristiana,

 

Britannica Online says :

(Citrullus lanatus, formerly C. vulgaris), succulent fruit of the gourd

family (Cucurbitaceae), native to tropical Africa, but under  

cultivation on every continent except Antarctica.

 

The OED lists the term "water million" (water-melon) in 1615, and  

gives the French term as melon d'eau.

 

The Domostroi translation contains a recipe for watermelon rind pickles,

so, assuming the word is translated correctly (given the rest of the

recipe, I suspect it is) this puts watermelons in Russia in that late  

16th or early 17th C.

 

I think, but am not sure, that Castelvetro mentions watermelon in 1614 as a

fruit eaten in Italy, but my copy is at home and I can't check it until

later.

 

toodles, margaret

 

 

Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 16:09:11 -0400

From: "Daniel  Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Newbie Question about Watermelon

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

The Four Seasons of The House of Cerruti ISBN0-8160-0138-3 is a facsimile

edition and translation of the 14th century Latin manuscript "Tacuinum

Sanitatis in Medicina".  It shows three color plates of what are labeled

melons and watermelons.  The first is a classic water melon shaped, i.e. a

very oblate spheroid,  smooth skinned green and whitish striped melon.  They

are referred to as melones dulces.  In the picture they are about the length

of a man's leg from foot knee. Eat them with mature cheese and salty foods

and drink a fine wine.  The second are spherical smooth skinned dark green

melons. They are referred to as melones insipidi.   Pick a good one by the

sound obtained by tapping on the outside.  In Tuscany they are called

cocomero. They are show perhaps a third larger than a man's head.  The

third are spherical yellowish melons.  They are referred to as melones indi

et palestini.  They are show perhaps a third larger than a man's head as

well. A man is show sniffing one.  They do not look quite like a modern

cantaloupe as the skin appears to be smooth.  Tis hard to tell however.  All

three are shown with largish  pale yellow flowers and large round fan  

shaped leaves.

 

Daniel

 

 

Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 17:52:40 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Newbie Question about Watermelon

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Watermelon is of African origin.  It was being cultivated in Egypt around

2000 BCE.  There is some disagreement about whether or not it was well known

to the ancient Romans, but it certainly became available in Europe  

after the Arab expansion.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 02:28:32 -0400

From: Sam Wallace <guillaumedep at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

"Unless you want to leverage early traces in Arab Spain, they are indeed period, but rather late."

    

You might try a web search for "Tacuinum sanitatis Melones dulces". The

image hits I got for that look a lot like watermelon. For example:

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Melones_dulces_%28Wiener_Tacuinum%29.jpg

circa 1390

 

For late period sources, I looked through a variety of Dutch Humanist

painters work (because they are wonderful) and found a number of melons, though only a few that were clearly watermelon.

 

As for watermelon rind pickles, they are quite nice. I have seen a couple of styles. I prefer them without any of the meat attached, but my dad likes to leave just a sliver of it on one corner for color.

 

Guillaume

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:52:05 -0400

From: Sam Wallace <guillaumedep at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

To follow this up, I also found a few articles that look at melons,

cucumbers and similar in medieval Europe.

 

The Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae illustrated in medieval manuscripts known as the Tacuinum Sanitatis

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19318382

 

Medieval herbal iconography and lexicography of Cucumis (cucumber and

melon, Cucurbitaceae) in the Occident, 1300-1458

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21798859

 

Medieval emergence of sweet melons, Cucumis melo (Cucurbitaceae)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648880

 

Guillaume

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:21:53 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

Thanks, Guillaume.

 

Actually, this begins to raise an entirely different question: how the

hell did Anthimus know about ANY kind of melon?

 

"Medieval lexicographies and an illustrated Arabic translation of

Dioscorides' herbal suggest that sweet melons were present in Central Asia in the mid-9th century. A travelogue description indicates the presence of sweet melons in Khorasan and Persia by the mid-10th century"

 

Though he's often careful to flag a food as not found in northeastern

Gaul, right off one has to wonder if he had seen it elsewhere, rather than referencing it as a food known to Theuderic. But by this account, he was unlikely even to have seen it in Byzantium.

 

Otherwise, "The time and place of emergence of sweet melons is obscure, but they are generally thought to have reached Europe from the east near the end of the 15th century."

 

Jim Chevallier

www.chezjim.com

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 17:16:15 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

Shifting from the literary record to the carpological record...

 

This account of Gaulish archeology mentions melons (p 196) [persee.fr does not allow linking by page]

 

http://persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/dha_0755-7256_2012_num_38_1_3463

 

This reference is vague - it seems to refer to the first century in Gaul - but includes melons (p 98)

http://persee.fr/web/ouvrages/home/prescript/article/acsam_0000-0000_1996_act_5_1_1099

 

This reference says (p 186) that melons were noted from the Gallo-Roman

period.

 

http://persee.fr/web/revue

s/home/prescript/article/amime_0758-7708_2005_num_23_1_1831

 

And here at last, not only a reference to melons, but to watermelon, in the Gallo-Roman period (p 265):

http://persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/galia_0016-4119_2002_num_59_1_3052

 

So in Gaul it would seem that both melons in general and watermelons in

particular can be documented, however lightly, going back to the Gallo Roman period.

 

Jim Chevallier

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:54:02 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon mentions: 1

 

I am just going to post lots of what I have found and let everyone either read them or discard as they see fit.

 

Here are some more references to ponder

Medieval iconography of watermelons in Mediterranean Europe

Harry S. Paris1,*, Marie-Christine Daunay2 and Jules Janick3

Background and Aims The watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Cucurbitaceae), is an important fruit vegetable in the warmer regions of the world. Watermelons were illustrated in Mediterranean Antiquity, but not as frequently as some other cucurbits. Little is known concerning the watermelons of Mediterranean Europe during medieval times. With the objective of obtaining an improved understanding of watermelon history and diversity in this region, medieval drawings purportedly of watermelons were collected, examined and compared for originality, detail and accuracy.

 

Findings The oldest manuscript found that contains an accurate, informative image of watermelon is the Tractatus de herbis, British Library ms. Egerton 747, which was produced in southern Italy, around the year 1300. A dozen more original illustrations were found, most of them from Italy, produced during the ensuing two centuries that can be positively identified as watermelon. In most herbal-type manuscripts, the foliage is depicted realistically, the plants shown as having long internodes, alternate leaves with pinnatifid leaf laminae, and the fruits are small, round and striped. The manuscript that contains the most detailed and accurate image of watermelon is the Carrara Herbal, British Library ms. Egerton 2020. In the agriculture-based manuscripts, the foliage, if depicted, is not accurate, but variation in the size, shape and coloration of the fruits is evident. Both red-flesh and white-flesh watermelons are illustrated, corresponding to the typical sweet dessert watermelons so common today and the insipid citron watermelons, respectively. The variation in watermelon fruit size, shape and coloration depicted in the illustrations indicates that at least six cultivars of watermelon are represented, three of which probably had red, sweet flesh and three of which appear to have been citrons. Evidently, citron watermelons were more common in Mediterranean Europe in the past than they are today.

 

http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/112/5/867.abstract

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:57:09 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon mentions 2

 

Ancient Citrullus DNA-unlocking Domestication Events

 

G?bor Gyulai1,2,3, Luther Waters3, Fenny Dane3

 

Seed remains of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus lanatus) from the Middle Ages were excavated from two sites, Debrecen, Hungary (the 13th-14th Century a.d.) and Budapest, Hungary (the 15th Century a.d.). Seed remains were processed by floatation followed by seed sorting and identification in the laboratory. After seed morphological analysis aDNAs were extracted and then analyzed at eleven microsatellite (SSRs) loci with a final aim of sequence recovery and phenotype reconstruction. For comparative analysis, an herbarium sample from the 19th cent. a.d. (Pannonhalma, Hungary) and forty-four current varieties were used. Molecular dendrograms based on microsatellite analysis revealed that middle age samples are close to current varieties with red flesh colour, which indicate the preferential cultivation of red-flesh and not yellow- flesh watermelon in the Middle Ages in Hungary. The 170-yr-old herbarium sample showed close molecular similarity to citron melon (Citrullus lanatus citroides), which also reflects the importance of citron melon as fodder in the Middle-Ages in Hungary.

 

http://www.fulbright.hu/book3/gyulaigabor.pdf

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:13:45 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon references 3

 

This was linked to earlier but since it's by Professor Jules Janick, I'll include the abstract.

 

The Cucurbits of Mediterranean Antiquity: Identification of Taxa from Ancient Images and Descriptions

Jules Janick,1,* Harry S. Paris,2 and David C. Parrish3

 

Background

 

A critical analysis was made of cucurbit descriptions in Dioscorides' De Materia Medica, Columella's De Re Rustica and Pliny's Historia Naturalis, works on medicine, agriculture and natural science of the 1st century ce, as well as the Mishna and Tosefta, compilations of rabbinic law derived from the same time period together with cucurbit images dating from antiquity including paintings, mosaics and sculpture. The goal was to identify taxonomically the Mediterranean cucurbits at the time of the Roman Empire.

Findings

 

By ancient times, long-fruited forms of Cucumis melo (melon) and Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd) were selected, cultivated and used as vegetables around the Mediterranean and, in addition, bottle-shaped fruits of L. siceraria were employed as vessels. Citrullus lanatus (watermelons) and round-fruited forms of Cucumis melo (melons) were also consumed, but less commonly. A number of cucurbit species, including Bryonia alba, B. dioica, Citrullus colocynthis and Ecballium elaterium, were employed for medicinal purposes. No unequivocal evidence was found to suggest the presence of Cucumis sativus (cucumber) in the Mediterranean area during this era. The cucumis of Columella and Pliny was not cucumber, as commonly translated, but Cucumis melo subsp. melo Flexuosus Group (snake melon or vegetable melon).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759226/

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:27:03 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon mentions 4

 

Another Janick mention and cited also by Guillaume

 

Ann Bot. 2009 Jun;103(8):1187-205. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcp055. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

The Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae illustrated in medieval manuscripts known as the Tacuinum Sanitatis.

Paris HS1, Daunay MC, Janick J.

Author information

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Beginning in the last two decades of the 14th century, richly illuminated versions of the Tacuinum Sanitatis, the Latin translation of an 11th-century Arabic manuscript known as Taqwim al-Sihha bi al-Ashab al-Sitta, were produced in northern Italy. These illustrated manuscripts provide a window on late medieval life in that region by containing some 200 full-page illustrations, many of which vividly depict the harvest of vegetables, fruits, flowers, grains, aromatics and medicinal plants. Our objective was to search for and identify the images of taxa of Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae.

METHODS:

We have located all reported illustrated Tacuinum Sanitatis and similar or related manuscripts, searched through printed or electronic reproductions of them, categorized six of them that display full-page illustrations as archetypic, and established the identity of the Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae appearing in these six manuscripts.

KEY RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

Of the Cucurbitaceae, Cucumis sativus (short-fruited cucumbers), Cucumis melo (including round as well as elongate melons), Citrullus lanatus (both sweet watermelons and citrons), and Lagenaria siceraria (including bottle-shaped as well as long gourds), are illustrated. Of the Solanaceae, Solanum melongena (egg-shaped purple aubergines) and Mandragora sp. (mandrake) are illustrated. These depictions include some of the earliest known images of cucumber, casaba melon (Cucumis melo Inodorous Group) and aubergine, each of which closely resembles an extant cultivar-group or market type. Overall, the botanically most accurate images are in the version of the Tacuinum located in the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, cod. ser. n. 2644. Similarities and differences in botanical accuracy among the images of Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae in the six archetypal Tacuinum manuscripts suggest to us that another illustrated Tacuinum, now lost, may have antedated and served as a mode

l or inspiration for the six surviving archetypic manuscripts.

 

also

Ann Bot. 2011 Sep;108(3):471-84. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcr182. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Medieval herbal iconography and lexicography of Cucumis (cucumber and melon, Cucurbitaceae) in the Occident, 1300-1458.

Paris HS1, Janick J, Daunay MC.

Author information

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The genus Cucumis contains two species of important vegetable crops, C. sativus, cucumber, and C. melo, melon. Melon has iconographical and textual records from lands of the Mediterranean Basin dating back to antiquity, but cucumber does not. The goal of this study was to obtain an improved understanding of the history of these crops in the Occident. Medieval images purportedly of Cucumis were examined, their specific identity was determined and they were compared for originality, accuracy and the lexicography of their captions.

 

FINDINGS:

The manuscripts having accurate, informative images are derived from Italy and France and were produced between 1300 and 1458. All have an illustration of cucumber but not all contain an image of melon. The cucumber fruits are green, unevenly cylindrical with an approx. 2:1 length-to-width ratio. Most of the images show the cucumbers marked by sparsely distributed, large dark dots, but images from northern France show them as having densely distributed, small black dots. The different size, colour and distribution reflect the different surface wartiness and spininess of modern American and French pickling cucumbers. The melon fruits are green, oval to serpentine, closely resembling the chate and snake vegetable melons, but not sweet melons. In nearly all manuscripts of Italian provenance, the cucumber image is labelled with the Latin caption citruli, or similar, plural diminuitive of citrus (citron, Citrus medica). However, in manuscripts of French provenance, the cucumber image is labelled cucumeres, which is derived from the classical Latin epithet cucumis for snake melon. The absence of melon in some manuscripts and the expropriation of the Latin cucumis/cucumer indicate replacement of vegetable melons by cucumbers during the medieval period in Europe. One image, from British Library ms. Sloane 4016, has a caption that allows tracing of the word 'gherkin' back to languages of the geographical nativity of C. sativus, the Indian subcontinent.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21798859

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:41:02 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon mentions 5

 

We talked about the artwork found in the Villa Farnesina, (Rome) previously. Primarily the conversations in 2009 then concerned

the discovery that New World pumpkins were being depicted! "and two or three species of New World cucurbits, Cucurbita maxima, C. pepo and, perhaps, C. moschata (pumpkin, squash, gourd). The images of C. maxima are the first illustrations of this species in Europe." Back then I wrote: "While answering the other post earlier today, I came across this article on the Villa Farnesina and paintings there of maize and squashes.

 

http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agricultures/past/fall2008/Features/Feature%205.html

 

The first European images of maize can be found in Rome on ornate

ceilings in the Villa Farnesina, created between 1515 and 1518 by

Italian painter and architect Giovanni da Udina. The same ceiling

shows a mixture of cucurbits such as melon, bottle gourd, watermelon

and cucumber from the Old World as well as squash and gourds unique to

the New World." Johnnae

 

Another by Janick.

 

Ann Bot. 2006 Feb;97(2):165-76. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

The cucurbit images (1515-1518) of the Villa Farnesina, Rome.

Janick J1, Paris HS.

Author information

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The gorgeous frescoes organized by the master Renaissance painter Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520) and illustrating the heavenly adventures of Cupid and Psyche were painted between 1515 and 1518 to decorate the Roman villa (now known as the Villa Farnesina) of the wealthy Sienese banker Agostino Chigi (1466-1520). Surrounding these paintings are festoons of fruits, vegetables and flowers painted by Giovanni Martini da Udine (1487-1564), which include over 170 species of plants. A deconstruction and collation of the cucurbit images in the festoons makes it possible to evaluate the genetic diversity of cucurbits in Renaissance Italy 500 years ago.

FINDINGS:

The festoons contain six species of Old World cucurbits, Citrullus lanatus (watermelon), Cucumis melo (melon), Cucumis sativus (cucumber), Ecballium elaterium (squirting cucumber), Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd) and Momordica balsamina (balsam apple), and two or three species of New World cucurbits, Cucurbita maxima, C. pepo and, perhaps, C. moschata (pumpkin, squash, gourd). The images of C. maxima are the first illustrations of this species in Europe.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803371/

 

********

[for more on those pumpkins, see also http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16687431

Ann Bot. 2006 Jul;98(1):41-7. Epub 2006 May 10.

First known image of Cucurbita in Europe, 1503-1508.

Paris HS1, Daunay MC, Pitrat M, Janick J.

Author information

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The genus Cucurbita (pumpkin, squash, gourd) is native to the Americas and diffused to other continents subsequent to the European contact in 1492. For many years, the earliest images of this genus in Europe that were known to cucurbit specialists were the two illustrations of C. pepo pumpkins that were published in Fuchs' De Historia Stirpium, 1542. Images of fruits of two Cucurbita species, drawn between 1515 and 1518, were recently discovered in the Villa Farnesina in Rome.

FINDINGS:

An even earlier image of Cucurbita exists in the prayer book, Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne, illustrated by Jean Bourdichon in Touraine, France, between 1503 and 1508. This image, which shows a living branch bearing flowers and fruits, had not been examined and analysed by cucurbit specialists until now. The image is identified as depicting Cucurbita pepo subsp. texana. Unlike some of the fruits of Cucurbita depicted in the Villa Farnesina a decade later, this image does not depict an esculent and does not constitute evidence of early European contact with New World agriculture. Based on the descriptive, ecological and geographical accounts of C. pepo subsp. texana in the wild, the idea is considered that the image was based on an offspring of a plant found growing along the Gulf Coast of what is now the United States.]

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:54:06 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons and Pliny long

 

Finally, back to this question. Jules Janick mentions "References to cucurbits are scattered in ancient literature, notably in three 1st century cetexts by Dioscorides, Columella and Pliny, which, remarkably, were written within 18 years of each other, and in compilations of Jewish laws, known as the Mishna and Tosefta, which are derived from rabbinical statements of the 1st century bce through the 2nd century ce. A number of ancient paintings, mosaics and sculpture depicting cucurbits from around the Mediterranean region pre- and post-date these writings." For Pliny he then says, "Cucurbits are described in Book 19, which is in volume 5, and Book 20, which is in volume 6, with translations by Rackham (1950) and Jones (1951), respectively." [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759226/]

 

In that same paper it reads:

 

"Pliny (Book 19, 24: 69?70) wrote that the cucumis and the cucurbita were similar in plant growth habit and had similar cultural requirements, adversely affected by cold but thriving when well irrigated on fertilized soil. He observed that their seeds were often sown during the spring or early summer. Although he considered 21 April to be the most suitable date, he noted that some preferred to plant the cucurbita on 1 March and the cucumis on 7 March. He wrote: These two plants both climb upward with shoots creeping over the rough surface of walls right up to the roof, as their nature is very fond of height. They have not the strength to stand without supports, but they shoot up at a rapid pace, covering vaulted roofs and trellises with a light shade. Owing to this they fall into these two primary classes, the roof-gourd and the common gourd which grows on the ground; in the former class a remarkably thin stalk has hanging from it a heavy fruit which a breeze cannot move. The gourd as well as the cucumber is made to grow in all sorts of long shapes, mostly by means of sheathes of plaited wicker, in which it is enclosed after it has shed its blossom, and it grows in any shape it is compelled to take, usually in the form of a coiled serpent. But if allowed to hang free it has before now been seen three yards long. Then there is a most telling description of the cucumis by Pliny: particulatim cucumis floret, sibi ipse superflorescens, et sicciores locos patitur, candida lanugine obductus, magisque dum crescit [The cucumber makes blossoms one by one, one flowering on the top of the other, and it can do with rather dry situations; it is covered with white down (lanugine), especially when it is growing]. Although both melons (Cucumis melo) and cucumbers (C. sativus) produce more than one flower per node, which usually do not reach anthesis at once, only the young fruits of Cucumis melo are densely covered with soft, white hairs, i.e. are downy. The young fruits of Cucumis sativus are glabrous except for tubercles and spines. Likewise, extraordinary length of the fruit can be achieved in C. melo but not C. sativus. Clearly, Pliny was describing snake-like melons, C. melo subsp. melo Flexuosus Group."?.

 

"Besides the commonly known cucumis and cucurbita, there was, according to Pliny, an epithet for another cucurbit, and this he defined clearly: Curious to say, just recently a new form of cucumber has been produced in Campania, shaped like a quince. I am told that first one grew in this shape by accident, and that later a variety was established grown from seed obtained from this one; it is called apple pumpkin[melopepo]. Cucumbers of this kind do not hang from the plant but grow of a round shape lying on the ground; they have a golden colour. A remarkable thing about them, beside their shape, colour and smell, is that when they have ripened, although they are not hanging down they at once separate from the stalk when ripe, although they do not hang from the stem, they separate from it at the stalk (Book 19, 23:67). Separation of the ripened fruit from the peduncle is a common characteristic of melon, Cucumis melo, not cucumber, C. sativus. Clearly, melopepo was a form of C. melo. It also differed distinctly from the long-fruited melons commonly grown and consumed by his contemporaries by its being grown only on the ground (never climbing), by its round shape and its being harvested upon attaining full maturity, when it changed colour. It can also be inferred that upon ripening and separating from the peduncle, the fruit was aromatic, a further characteristic distinguishing melons from other cucurbits."

 

"Another epithet used by Pliny probably to indicate a cucurbit was pepones. He used it twice, once apparently in reference to large melons: ? those of Moesia the largest. When they are exceptionally big they are called pumpkins [pepones] (Book 19, 23: 65). In the other instance (Book 20, 6: 11), the pepones were described as such: Qui pepones vocantur refrigerant maxime in cibo et emolliunt alvum. [The gourds called pepones make a very refreshing food, and are also laxative.] The description as very refreshing suggests watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai. Pliny followed this statement with medicinal applications of the fruit and root of this plant."

 

Earlier the text reads: "In the translation of Dioscorides by Beck (2005), there are six epithets which can be identified as cucurbits: ampelos leuke, ampelos melaine, kolokyntha, sikyos agrios, sikyos hemeros and pepon. ?.Pepon was mentioned in the same section as sikyos hemeros. The pepon was described as having a rind which can be applied to the top of a child's head. This suggests a large fruit with a firm exocarp. The word pepon has the connotation of ?ripe? or ?cooked?, particularly in reference to a cucurbit that is not eaten until ripe. Pepon appears to have been applied to watermelon as, according to Stol (1987), the Greek physician Galen (129?200 ce) specifically used the term sikyopepon (literally ?ripe cucurbit?) for watermelon."

 

So let's try Loeb and see what is there. Next post?

 

Johnna

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 21:19:16 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon mentions: 1

 

This is all very interesting Johnna and I certainly appreciate your taking the time to dig it up. But I hope it's clear that very little of it refers to watermelon, or specifically expands Dalby's references.

 

The Pliny reference is especially mystifying, since it cites chapters (69? 70) that go beyond any count I see for book 19 - the last chapter is 62:

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=IUoMAAAAIAAJ&dq=inauthor%3Apliny%20cucurbita&pg=PA203#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

One thing I've noticed in looking around on this question is that more than one writer posits a possible interpretation of a text, and then they or others treat that as settled, rather than provisory. For instance, some have cited Pliny's reference to a type of "cucumber" as referring to a melon (not a watermelon). Yet, first of all, Pliny says that this is shaped like a quince ("mali cotonei effigie"). Which is hardly true of most melons, beyond their being round (but much bigger). And another writer suggests that this refers to a pumpkin.

 

The NIH article also makes the rather strange claim that Anthimus must have been using "melone" to refer to a watermelon because he says to mix the seeds with the meat. But first of all, you can do that with a melon (I've done it; not pleasant especially, but it works). More to the point, why WOULD you do it with a watermelon? The seeds are already embedded in the flesh.

 

You have to do it with a melon because the seeds are in a separate seed

cavity.

 

Archaeology certainly shows, as it turns out, that watermelons at least

existed in Gaul in the early centuries of the Christian era. But I still don't see any clear signs that the four writers first cited were referring to this fruit.

 

Jim Chevallier

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 21:41:55 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons and Pliny continued

 

The Loeb Classical Library is online through Harvard and available through academic libraries.

Based on Janick and the request below, I was looking for

 

Pliny (Book 19, 24: 69?70) and In the other instance (Book 20, 6: 11), and also looking for "pepones."

 

PLINY THE ELDER Natural History

Africae, grandissimi Moesiae. cum magnitudine excessere, pepones vocantur. vivunt hausti in stomacho in posterum

 

Translated by H. Rackham.

LCL 371, Pages 462-463, 1 of 1 matches

 

This passage in translation from Book 19 [on pages 462-463 and 464-465 in the LOEB edition] reads:

 

XXIII. Belonging to the class of cartilaginous

plants and growing on the surface of the ground is the cucumber, a delicacy for which the emperor Tiberius had a remarkable partiality; in fact there was never a day on which he was not supplied with it, as his kitchen-gardeners had cucumber beds mounted on wheels which they moved out into the sun and then on wintry days withdrew under the cover of frames glazed with transparent stone. Moreover it is actually stated in the writings of early Greek authors that cucumber seed should be soaked for two days in milk mixed with honey before it is sown, in order to make the cucumbers sweeter. They grow in any shape they are forced to take; in Italy green ones of the smallest possible size are popular, but the provinces like the largest ones possible, and of the colour of wax or else dark. African cucumbers are the most prolific, and those of Moesia the largest. When they are exceptionally big they are called pumpkins. Cucumbers when swallowed remain in the stomach till the next day and cannot be digested with the rest of one?s food, but nevertheless they are not extremely unwholesome. They have by nature a remarkable repugnance for oil, and an equal fondness for water; even when they have been cut from the stem, they creep towards water a moderate distance away, but on the contrary they retreat from oil, or if something is in their way or if they are hanging up, they grow curved and twisted. This may be observed to take place even in a single night, because if a vessel with water is put underneath them they descend towards it a hand?s breadth before the next morning, but if oil is similarly near they will be found curved into crooked shapes. Also if their flower is passed down into a tube they grow to a remarkable length. Curious to say, just recently a new form of cucumber has been produced in Campania, shaped like a quince. I am told that first one grew in this shape by accident, and that later a variety was established grown from seed obtained from this one; it is called apple-pumpkin. Cucumbers of this kind do not hang from the plant but grow of a round shape lying on the ground; they have a golden colour. A remarkable thing about them, beside their shape, colour and smell, is that when they have ripened, although they are not hanging down they at once separate from the stalk. Columella gives a plan XI. of his own for getting a supply of cucumbers all the year round?to transplant the largest blackberry bush available to a warm, sunny place, and about the spring equinox to cut it back, leaving a stump two inches long; and then to insert a cucumber seed in the pith of the bramble and bank up fine earth and manure round the roots, so that they may withstand the cold. The Greeks have produced three kinds of cucumbers, the Spartan, the Scytalic and the Boeotian; of these it is said that only the Spartan variety is fond of water. Some people tell us to steep cucumber seed in the plant called culix pounded up before sowing it, which will produce a cucumber having no seed.

 

PLINY THE ELDER Natural History

clysteribus simul cum cumino infunditur. VI. Qui pepones vocantur refrigerant maxime in cibo et emolliunt

 

Translated by W. H. S. Jones.

LCL 392, Pages 8-9,

 

From Book XX or 20,

 

VI. The gourds called peponesc make a very

refreshing food, and are also laxative. Their pulp is used as an application for fluxes or pains of the eyes. The root is a cure for the hard sores, like honey-comb, which they call ceria. It also acts as an emetic; it is dried and pounded into flour, the dose being four oboli taken in hydromel, but after it has been drunk a walk of half a mile must be taken. This flour is also used as an ingredient in skin-smoothing cosmetics. The rind too serves as an emetic and clears the face of spots. The leaves also of any kind of cultivated gourd have when applied externally the same effect. The same, mixed with honey, also cure night rash,d and mixed with wine dog-bites and the bite of multipedes, an insect called sepse by the Greeks. It is rather long, with hairy legs, and is particularly harmful to cattle. The bite is followed by swelling, the wound suppurating. The cucumber itself by its smell revives those who have fainted. When peeled and cooked in oil, vinegar and honey, cucumbers are, it is firmly held, more pleasant to the taste.

 

Johnna

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 22:26:27 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] watermelons in ancient times

 

Earlier this evening, I came across this interesting explanation As to why the descriptions of watermelons differ and why there were problems in growing them? from

 

Ann Bot. 2007 Dec; 100(7): 1441?1457.

Published online 2007 Oct 10. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcm242

PMCID: PMC2759226

The Cucurbits of Mediterranean Antiquity: Identification of Taxa from Ancient Images and Descriptions

Jules Janick,1,* Harry S. Paris,2 and David C. Parrish3

 

"Watermelons, Citrullus lanatus, originated in south-western Africa (Bates and Robinson, 1995) and were anciently cultivated in Egypt, given the age of at least one depiction (Fig. 2A) and the longing of the Children of Israel for the avattihim they knew from Egypt (Numbers 11 : 5). Nonetheless, there are relatively few images of watermelons from ancient Egypt (Andrews, 1958). Even from the time of the Roman Empire, there are few depictions of watermelons, and they are not mentioned nearly as much as the fruits of Cucumis melo or Lagenaria siceraria in Roman and Jewish writings, apparently reflecting lesser appreciation for these fruits. This might seem odd, at first, because watermelons had the advantage over the others of being sweet. On the other hand, watermelons can cross spontaneously with non-sweet watermelons, known as citrons, that are used for pickling and preserves. Worse, watermelons can hybridize with the naturally occurring bitter colocynth, and it was almost unavoidable that these two often grew in near proximity to one another. Hybridizations with the citron and with the colocynth would have resulted in the frequent occurrence of non-sweet or bitter watermelons, and thus limited their popularity."

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759226/

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 22:35:16 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Watermelon mentions: 1

Message-ID: <EA42E21E-7B5D-494C-8DA5-DAEB022BC9FC at mac.com>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

 

I rather think we can trust the work of Professor Jules Janock which is why I included the abstracts from him regarding watermelons. He is the internationally well known expert in Horticulture from Purdue. We have never found anything wrong with his assertions in the past whenever his work has been brought up. https://ag.purdue.edu/hla/cv/JanickCV.pdf

 

Which NIH article are you referencing? There have been several mentioned.

 

Johnna

 

On Jul 26, 2015, at 9:19 PM, JIMCHEVAL at aol.com wrote:

<<< This is all very interesting Johnna and I certainly appreciate your taking the time to dig it up. But I hope it's clear that very little of it refers to watermelon, or specifically expands Dalby's references.

 

The Pliny reference is especially mystifying, since it cites chapters (69? 70) that go beyond any count I see for book 19 - the last chapter is 62: <snip>

 

Jim Chevallier >>>

 

 

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 23:09:15 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons and Pliny continued

 

Again, you've cited these references yourself. Is it unreasonable to ask you to provide the corresponding texts? If one had to write every author to track down their references, research would become a pretty intractable enterprise.

 

And again, I tried to find the Pliny reference and don't even see those

chapters. So if you're going to cite them as references, please, find them.

 

This really shouldn't vary by edition. Pliny's Natural History is divided into books which are then divided into chapters. The standard references are to the book and the chapter or chapters. So this isn't a problem of finding the right page number.

 

Jim Chevallier

 

<<< In a message dated 7/26/2015 7:53:40 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,

johnnae at mac.com writes:

 

When I locate them, I'll check the editions and actual citations in his bibliographies. Then once that is confirmed we can write to Dalby and ask about the references. Or perhaps you'd like to go ahead and ask him directly yourself >>>

 

 

Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:25:50 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons and Pliny continued

 

I've now checked Weber's translation of Anthimus (in English) and Stoll's (in German). Both (like Grant)translate "melones" as melons - and "cucumeres" as cucumbers.

 

The latter is important to note because, under "Melons", Dalby cites

Anthimus' statement on cucumbers - that they were not then found in northeastern Gaul - as applying to melons.

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=RXpm47Wr49EC&lpg=PA215&dq=inauthor%3Adalby%20melons&pg=PA215#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

In other words, he is saying that Anthimus uses "cucumbers" to refer to

"melons" and "melons" to refer to "watermelons"; and that the latter could be found in Gaul, but not the former. Which seems unlikely on the face of it. since in southern Gaul, at least, far more melon seeds have been found than watermelon seeds, and if anything one would expect the first to be more found.

 

It really makes more sense for cucumbers - a related but far more distinct fruit - not to exist in the same place as melons, than for watermelons to exist there, but not melons.

 

At the very least, if Dalby is going to present what he must know himself to be a minority view, one would expect a word of explanation, rather than his matter of fact, unqualified statements about these references.

 

Jim Chevallier

 

 

Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:21:47 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

"The Pliny reference is especially mystifying, since it cites chapters

(69?70) that go beyond any count I see for book 19 - the last chapter is 62:"

 

But 62 is not the last sentence. Dalby is a Classicist.  He appears to be working from a Latin text of Pliny in which each Book, Chapter, and Sentence is numbered.  Thus his reference more accurate than providing Book and Chapter.  You may also find references containing all three numbers.  The LacusCurtius transcription of Pliny

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Pliny_the_Elder/home.html

provides an example of the numbering system.

 

There is serious consideration that the "Cucumis" of Pliny is not a

cucumber, but the word is being used as we would use cucurbit.  The earliest reference making this point that I have encountered is Steven Switzer, The Practical Kitchen Gardener (1727).

 

The following passages lead me to agree that Pliny used "cucumis" in the general rather than the specific.

 

"The cucumber makes blossoms one by one, one flowering on the top of the other, and it can do with rather dry situations; it is covered with white down, especially when it is growing."   Pliny NH 19:24

 

The "white down" is botanically interesting.  Cucumbers are never hairy. Young melons are.

 

"African cucumbers are the most prolific, and those of Moesia the largest.  When they are exceptionally big they are called pumpkins."  Pliny NH 19:23.

 

Watermelons, perhaps? Incidentally, Moesia is a Roman Province in the

Balkans, so an African cucurbit is almost certainly a transplant.

 

"Curious to say, just recently a new form of cucumber has been produced in Campania, shaped like a quince. I am told that first one grew in this shape by accident, and that later a variety was established grown from seed obtained from this one; it is called apple-pumpkin. Cucumbers of this kind do not hang from the plant but grow of a round shape lying on the ground; they have a golden colour. A remarkable thing about them, beside their shape, colour and smell, is that when they have ripened, although they are not hanging down they at once separate from the stalk."  Pliny NH 19:23

 

The description suggests this is a round variant of the Canary melon or

possibly a Casaba melon.

 

For a far more detailed explanation and consideration of the period

cucurbits, I would suggest, The Cucurbits of Mediterranean Antiquity:

Identification of Taxa from Ancient Images and Descriptions

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/cucurbitsofmed.pdf .

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:23:04 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

Dalby himself appears to be using the Rackham edition (not available  

on-line):

https://books.google.com/books?id=KdR4jRJCxEsC&lpg=PA357&dq=inauthor%3Adalby%20pliny&pg=PA263#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Here is a Latin edition. The last chapter here for Book XIX is also 62.  

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k23627s/f466.image.r=.langEN

 

Whether  or not Dalby was including a sentence number (LacusCurtius says nothing about  doing so) he would still have to have a book and a chapter: "19, 67-68".  

 

All this has gotten remarkably complicated. The original point was that one should be able to find references to watermelon in Dalby's citations by looking at his sources. But just looking at his sources is clearly less than straightforward and one mainly comes up with speculative interpretations of various terms. The principal text in Pliny which MAY refer to a melon (and I forwarded it myself early on) may also refer to a pumpkin; the idea that a later one might mean watermelon is mainly based on its being "refreshing"; the standard reading of Anthimus' references to "cucumber" and "melon" is that those  terms mean what they would today; etc.

 

The pseudo-Apicius reference (which would be fourth or fifth century) is more definitive:

 

"[Book 3]  VII

[85] MELON-GOURD AND MELONS (PEPONES ET MELONES)

PEPPER, PENNYROYAL,  HONEY OR CONDENSED MUST, BROTH AND VINEGAR; ONCE IN A WHILE ONE ADDS  SILPHIUM."

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29728/29728-h/29728-h.htm#bkiii_chvii

 

[Note: Vehling pretty consistently mistranslates "liquamen" - usually garum - as "broth"]

 

"Pipones et melones

Piper puleium mel vel passum liquamen acetum  interdum et silfi accedit".

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=ikA8AAAAcAAJ&dq=inauthor%3Aapicius&pg=PT9#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

(Fish sauce with melons? Brrrr....)

 

Which leaves the Hippocrates reference, if anyone wants to entertain  

themselves tracking that down: R 55, Epidemics  5,71, 7, 115, al?

 

Note too that demonstrating that something existed in Classical times does not guarantee that it was known in the Middle Ages. Anthimus for instance says that cucumbers (or, per Dalby, melons) did not exist where he was, even though he clearly knew of them. So the surest evidence for watermelons in the Middle Ages comes later.

 

Jim Chevallier

 

 

Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:50:37 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

"The principal text in Pliny which MAY refer to a melon (and I  forwarded it myself early on) may also refer to a pumpkin;"

 

Pliny writes, " cum magnitudine excessere, pepones vocantur."  or "when

these are very large they are "pepones"."  "Pepones" translates to "large melons" or "pumpkins."  From various sources you can find that the word is used to refer to large round curcubits and the precise usage is dependent upon the time and place used.  Pumpkin in the modern usage is ruled out by being a large, round New World cucurbit.

 

While I agree it is difficult to demonstrate a continuous knowledge of a specific foodstuff, it is also worth noting absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.   The watermelon appears to have been well known around the Mediterranean from Antiquity into early Medieval. It shows up in Roman mosaics from the 6th Century BCE thru the 5th Century CE. There is a hiatus in images until about 1300 when an accurate illustration appears in the Tractus de herbis.  Maimonides references Syrian watermelons in the 12th Century as does the Andalusian physician Abu al-Kahyr al-Ishbili (11/12th Centuries).  Watermelon seeds have been discovered in Medieval Hungarian sites, one dating to the 12/13th Centuries.  I suspect that watermelon (and other melons) were grown where they could grow throughout the Medieval

period.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:28:52 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

Man, I can't get away from these things.

 

A Renaissance painting reveals how breeding changed watermelons

http://www.vox.com/2015/7/28/9050469/watermelon-breeding-paintings

 

An interesting detail here is that older watermelons seem to have had seed cavities, though roughly spiral shaped. This means the seeds might not have been embedded in the flesh as they are now.

 

This linked graphic is interesting too.

Here's what 9,000 years of breeding has done to corn, peaches, and other crops

http://www.vox.com/2014/10/15/6982053/selective-breeding-farming-evolution-corn-watermelon-peaches

 

Jim Chevallier

 

 

Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:34:15 -0400

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

In a message dated 7/29/2015 3:11:34 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  

StefanliRous at gmail.com writes:

<<< An interesting detail here is that older watermelons seem to have had seed cavities, though roughly spiral shaped. This means the seeds might not have been embedded in the flesh as they are now.  >>>

 

Thank you for posting this. Wow. a lot more rind in that  medieval watermelon. In only 500 years. That clarifies some of the earlier  discussion on the "Roman" melon and why that description may differ from what  we think of as watermelon.

 

Glad it's helpful.

 

Let me add quickly that I then went out and looked at various seventeenth century images of watermelon and found that there was a remarkable variety in the seed dispositions. Some had clusters of clear seed cavities; others had embedded seeds, but in a neat pattern; etc. So this was clearly very variable.

 

Of course it does mean that all the reasoning around Anthimus' use of melon as possibly meaning watermelon, because he mentions eating the flesh mixed with the seeds, has to be viewed under far more complex angles. The watermelon of his  time may no more have had seeds mixed into the flesh than the melons. Or not....

 

The Cambridge history of food says plainly that watermelons go back to  

Egypt. A woman (whom I know only under a pseudonym) is finishing a book on the  history of melons and essentially says that everything early is too uncertain to  make any definitive statements. (She also says that "pumpkin" was used to refer  to a variety of large gourds.) She's not convinced by Dalby on watermelon, but thinks he's right on "cucumeres" (i.e., it was a kind of snake melon).

 

What we need is more ancient seeds, and some good cloning.

 

Jim  Chevallier

 

 

Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:46:07 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] watermelons

 

There is a lot of variation in watermelons.  Here is a selection of modern cultivars including some that look like they might be similar to painting if cut across rather than length wise.

 

The same type of melon shows up in several paintings by Caravaggio, so it probably is a common watermelon of the day, but I doubt it is the only watermelon varietal around given some of the variants that show up in herbals.  It's possible the artists chose this melon for its artistic look.

 

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/caravaggio/08.html

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/caravaggio/15.html

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/caravaggio/16.html

http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_371031/%28after%29-Abraham-Brueghel/Still-Life-Life-With-Grapes%2C-A-Melon%2C-Figs%2C-Plums%2C-Peaches-And-Various-Flowers-In-A-Landscape

 

The seed structure is not unusual.  As far as I have been able to determine, six roughly circular seed grouping extend longitudinally through all seeded watermelons, but I haven't been able to verify this opinion.  The thick rind and spiral seed structure are similar to C. lanatus var. citroides.  The flesh color is that of C. lanatus var. lanatus.  Both subspecies are watermelons and can interbreed, so it is possible that the melon illustrated is a hybrid.  The culinary differentiation between the subspecies is generally that lanatus represents the sweet dessert watermelons that can be eaten raw while citroides are hard fleshed and somewhat bitter and are usually cooked, pickled or preserved.

 

The Egyptian melon of Antiquity and the early Roman melon are probably

citron melons (citroides).

 

Todd Wehner (NC State horticulturalist) points out that seedless watermelons are triploids (three sets of genes) which increases the genes providing taste and aroma giving you more of a good thing.  Insipid flavor in a seedless watermelon is a result of when they were harvested and how far they travelled.

 

Bear

 

<the end>



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