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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reminiscent of the era of Spice Trade

Source of image:  Pinterest - Iran

There was a time when spice trade was the world's biggest industry and nutmeg was worth more than gold by weight! 

Before the Christian era 4,000 years ago, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cassia, ginger, pepper, tumeric, cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, saffron, thyme etc. were widely used in the Middle-East and exported to Europe through camel caravans. Middle-Eastern merchants were secretive of the sources of these fascinating spices to their European clients. Mesmerizing fragrances of spices were often associated with charming tales that drew greater attention of buyers to the spice trade. Levant (Syria) was the most popular gateway for exporting spices to Italy and the rest of Europe. 

The Silk Road was an important trade route for spices that connected China with the Middle-East and the Mediterranean. Many conquerors battled to control the spice trade. Did you know that the word "salary" originated from "salt"? The amazing worth of spices in ancient times is evident from the historical reality that Roman soldiers were often paid their wages in salt. That also established the phrase "worth his salt." 

In the industrialized and unpleasantly complicated modern world, these alluring spices are taken for granted in every home. We seldom think how indispensable they are in our daily lives. The fact that they were once considered as precious as gold and silver sounds almost surreal. However, facts of history cannot be erased. In its time, spice trade was more valuable than oil today; and a world without spices would be far more devastating than the oil wells running dry.

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