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Ancient Spice Trade
Transcript of Ancient Spice Trade
Foundations of the Modern Epicurean
The Spice Trade was the cultivation, preparation, transport, and merchandising of spices and herbs
It was an enterprise of ancient origins and great cultural and economic significance.
It was mainly by sea that the spice trade grew
The earliest recorded use of a spice - sesame seed - comes from an Assyrian myth. This myth claims that the gods drank sesame wine the night before they created the earth.
The first real evidence we have of spice use comes from the art work and writings of early civilizations.
The Book of Kings
An extensive spice trade route "the Golden Road of Samarkand" developed, stretching across the deserts of southern Asia and the Middle East between kingdoms.
Alexandria became the greatest commercial center of the world under Roman rule
3000 BC to 200 BC
The first Olympians in Greece celebrated victory wearing wreaths of bay and parsley.
Around 400 BC Hippocrates, the Greek physician, listed more than 400 medicines made with spices and herbs,
1453 BC-400 BC Greece
As their empire grew to dominance, Romans started sailing from Egypt to India to trade spices.
Contribution of Hippalus to maritime travel on trade routes
During Roman times, spices were available only to the upper class, who valued them as highly as gold.
200 BC - 1200 Rome
3000 BC - 200 BC Egypt
As European culture developed in the Middle Ages, the demand for spices was a key to expanding world trade.
Many of the world's most valuable spices came from China, India, and the Indonesian islands, including the Moluccas (or Spice Islands).
1200-1500 East Indies
In the late 13th century, Marco Polo's exploration of Asia established Venice as the most important trade port. Venice remained prosperous until about 1498.
Although the origins of spices were known throughout Europe by the Middle Ages, no ruler proved capable of breaking the Venetian hold on the trade routes.
The earliest recorded use of this spice comes from an ancient Assyrian myth
Taste: nutty and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes, and are available throughout the year
Highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity.
There is a famous phrase from the Arabian Nights—reflects the distinguishing feature of this spice which bursts open when it reaches maturity.
What is considered the oldest spice known to man?
The Ancient Spice Trade
At that time, the Portuguese and Spanish found spice prices so high that they began searching for their own route to the spice-producing lands.
Portuguese explorer, Vasco De Gama sailed around Africa's Cape of Good Hope to reach Calcutta, India. In 1498, Vasco da Gama and his crew arrived at Calicut after the first direct sea voyage from Europe to Asia.
Europe's ignorance of, and isolation from, the cosmopolitan intellectual and commercial life of Asia were ended forever. ---“For Christ and spices!”
The proselytizing part turned out to be disappointingly unnecessary. As far as spice went, De Gama and his crew were RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!!
What spice was Calicut known for?
Calicut's unusual twin monsoon, both phases of which bring heavy rain, was critical to this fickle crop.
It is added to almost any type of recipe imaginable
Comes from a plant that has smooth woody vines that can grow up to 33 feet in hot and humid tropical climates.
The plant begins to bear small white clustered flowers after 3 to 4 years and develop into berries which are then ground to produce this spice
Romans burned a year's supply of this spice at the funeral for Nero's wife.
This spice is fragrant, sweet, and warm
It is used for blood sugar control
derived from the dried inner bark of the cassia tree, a small evergreen
This spice can be characterized as spicy
Wars for control of the spice trade break out.
As the middle class grew during the Renaissance, the popularity of spices rose.
Conflict developed over who would dominate the prosperous trade. Wars over the Indonesian Spice Islands broke out between expanding European nations and continued for about 200 years, between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Spain, Portugal, England, and Holland all fought for control. Back and forth control by the Dutch and Holland
15th and 17th Centuries
The 17th to the 20th Century - Americans enter the spice trade.
Boston-born Elihu Yale, a former clerk of the British East India Company in Madras, India, began his own spice business. He made a fortune that he would one day use to start Yale University.
In 1797 Captain Jonathan Carnes sailed into Salem, Massachusetts from Indonesia with a large load of pepper. He had traded directly with Asian natives rather than going through European-held monopolies. As a result, Salem, Massachusetts became the center of spice trade in North America.
As their influence grew, Americans made many new contributions to the spice world.
17th and 20th Centuries: Americans enter the spice trade
What spice was used as a currency during Biblical Times?
Romans served it to avoid indigestion and flatulence.
Tastes great in everything from candies to liquors and medicines.
It is a flowering plant
Characterized as sweet and very aromatic
Application to Modern Society
Spices didn't just make merchants rich across the globe — it established vast empires, revealed entire continents to Europeans and tipped the balance of world power. If the modern age has a definitive beginning, it was sparked by the spice trade, some historians have argued.
Europe's ignorance of, and isolation from, the cosmopolitan intellectual and commercial life of Asia ended as a result of the spice trade. Established communication interculturally.