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The new materia medica of the Islamicate tradition: the pre-Islamic context.


A great many new substances entered the pharmacopoeias inherited from Graeco-Roman times when medieval Europe began to assimilate the work of the Arab-Islamic pharmacologists and physicians. These substances represent great changes that occurred, supposedly, in Islamic times, in both the medical practice and the diet of Europe and the Near East. Specialists in the history of pharmacology know of a vast array of substances introduced into the pharmacopoeias of the medieval world through the agency of Islamicate medicine. (1) Most of these new substances are products of lands beyond the frontiers of Islam, which were imported for use in the Islamic world. The bulk of these substances are plant products of South, Southeast, and Eastern Asia, but some animal substances are also included, most famously musk and ambergris. They include agricultural crops such as new varieties of citrus and sugarcane, drugs such as the myrobalans and rhubarb, spices such as nutmeg and cloves, and perfumes such as ambergris, camphor, and musk.

It is commonly accepted that the Near Eastern discoveries of these new drugs occurred in Islamic times, by way of the thriving Islamic trade with South and Southeast Asia and China.2 The exact chronology and other details of the introduction of many of these substances into the Near East, however, are much less clear than their later path into Europe. Some substances appear not only in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry but also in Late Antique Greek and Latin sources, confirming that while their use was canonized in Islamic medicine, they were known in the Near East prior to the rise of Islam. Thus, a causal relationship between the emergence of Islam and the introduction of these new materia medica is problematic. By the time the first extant large-scale pharmacological works in Arabic were prepared during the ninth century, the canon of substances in Islamic medicine was already essentially fixed, though there would be, of course, additions over the centuries.

Recently, scholars have been reexamining many aspects of agriculture and pharmacology in Islamic times. In a critical article about Andrew Watson's Agricultural Innovation in the Early Islamic World, Michael Decker argues that Watson overlooks evidence for the existence in pre-Islamic times of the crops that he attributes to the Islamic period. Decker focuses on a limited number of examples--durum wheat, Asiatic rice, cotton, and the artichoke--but he emphasizes the general importance of the pre-Islamic heritage in the so-called Islamic Agricultural Revolution. (3) This topic is germane to the present paper not only because the edible crops were discussed by the pharmacologists; it illustrates the importance of looking deeper into the pre-Islamic heritage for new botanical knowledge beyond the imported crops that had come to be cultivated in the Near East.

In order to examine this corpus of new drugs in more detail, I investigate in this article the terminology employed in the Arabic pharmacopoeias of the tenth century and then survey the earliest evidence for the spread of these new drugs into the Near East. Through consideration of the Arabic vocabulary used for these new substances, I hope to underscore the critical role the cosmopolitan culture of the Sasanian empire (224-651) played in their introduction into the Near East. I will also consider the chronology of the arrival of these new substances. I propose that the traditional narrative of an expansive Islamic society encountering new cultures in Asia and promoting trade on a hitherto unseen scale fails to adequately account for the centuries of pre-Islamic Persian experience in the Indian Ocean and Central Asia and for internal developments within South and Southeast Asia. Despite the relative paucity of sources for pharmacology in the period between Dioscorides and Galen and the beginnings of Islamic pharmacology in the ninth century, traces can be found in literature that muddy the simplicity of the traditional narrative and suggest that the adoption of many new substances of Asia by Islamicate medicine has roots stretching back into pre-Islamic times.

One other prefatory point is that I will be concerned with the medicine practiced under Islamic, particularly 'Abbasid, rule, and not specifically with medicine practiced by Muslims alone. (4) Many of the most important physicians of the eighth and ninth centuries were neither Arabs nor Muslims--they were Persians (and other Iranians) and Jews, working for Muslim patrons. (5) Likewise, the linguistic hegemony of Arabic within the sciences shaped the structure of pharmacological discourse in the Near East in Islamic times, and most of the pharmacological and medical works of the ninth century onward were written in Arabic, (6) or translated from Greek into Arabic by the Syriac- (Aramaic-) speaking Christians of Mesopotamia, whose culture had developed in a highly multicultural Mesopotamian setting under Sasanian Persian rule. (7) Thus, the so-called Islamic medical heritage has a complex background that is best described as Islamicate, to borrow Marshall G. S. Hodgson's term.


It would be difficult to catalogue all the elements in Islamicate culture that derive from Further Asia--both because these elements themselves are so diverse and because the sources that might be used for such a work are perhaps even more diverse--but pharmacological literature is one of the obvious places to look, as it draws upon a huge range of natural substances produced in specific locations. At the outset it must be noted that premodern pharmacological literature has a much broader scope than the modern conception of pharmacy would lead one to expect. In premodern societies all substances to be introduced into or around the human body were evaluated for their medicinal properties. This included not only what we would understand as drugs, but also food and beverages, and even cosmetics and perfumes. The goal of therapy was to maintain a proper equilibrium between the bodily humors; thus, substances were assessed according to abstract qualities of heating or cooling, or moistening or drying. Depending on the patient's physical condition, a physician would recommend a diet to balance out these humors. If, for example, a patient was suffering from an ailment that was believed to have its roots in the humor of phlegm, which was cold and moist, a regimen of heating and drying foods, aromatics, and drugs would be prescribed.

In such a system, it is obvious that the pharmacological literature would include a great deal of information on foods and aromatics as well as "drugs" narrowly conceived. This pharmacological literature is vast in scope and one of the greatest triumphs of Islamic civilization. It is built upon the foundation created by the Greek physicians, especially the master herbalist Dioscorides (fl. ca. 40-80) and the physician Galen (d. 215), as well as the large corpus of writings that circulated under his name. But its base is considerably more widespread. Martin Levey analyzed the pharmacological corpus along the lines of etymology in his study of al-Kindis Aqraihadhin. (8) He concluded that 31% of its names of materia medica derived from the legacy of ancient Mesopotamian pharmacology as transmitted by later intermediaries such as Aramaic or Persian; 23% came from Greek; 18% from Persian; 13% from Indie; 5% from Arabic itself; and 3% from Egypt. The etymological origins of the remaining 7% could not be determined. Levey's work covered the entire corpus of pharmaceuticals mentioned by al-Kindi, both substances known to ancient Greek medicine and later introductions. When we survey only the supposedly new introductions of Islamic times, a somewhat different pattern emerges and we see an even greater role for Persian culture. This should not be surprising, given the centuries of Persian rule in Mesopotamia and Persian influence even in Arabia itself.

The work of early medieval Islamic physicians consisted of much more than merely transmitting this corpus. They had to incorporate into it a vast number of substances unknown in Greco-Roman times. Rather than surveying this literature (the work of lifetimes), the present article makes use of a little treatise by an Andalusian physician named Ibn Juljul (d. 384/994), which catalogues sixty-one substances missing, as far as the author could tell, from the authoritative work of Dioscorides. (9) These substances are mostly plant products, but several animal and mineral substances are mentioned as well. Not all of the substances were unknown in classical times; confusion about the exact nature of some ancient plants already existed in medieval times. Indeed, a few substances bear Greek names that had shifted in meaning to refer to newly imported substances from Asia as well.

It is important to stress that most of these substances are attested in the earliest Arabic pharmacological and medical writings of the ninth century, including works by 'Ali b. Rabban al-Tabari (d. after 240/855), (10) Ibn Masawayh (d. 243/857), (11) Sabur b. Sahl (d. 255/869), (12) and Ya'qub b. Ishaq al-Kindl (d. after 256/870). (13) Many are also paralleled in the so-called Syriac Book of Medicines, a composite work of uncertain date and authorship that contains many parallels to Arabic pharmacological texts. (14)

In this article, these items of materia medica are numbered according to the numbers assigned in Dietrich's edition, which also contains detailed commentary on each of these substances. He gives extensive references to the relevant pharmacological literature both in his work on Ibn Juljul and in his other writings. In the interests of space, I have not reproduced his data on the identity of these substances but have followed his identifications in almost all cases. It is desirable to avoid too much precision in identifications because modern conceptions of species taxonomy do not allow for the sometimes general application of these names in medieval sources. Several different species in the modern conception may be referred to under a single term in Arabic; sometimes typological or geographical data enable a close identification, but not always. The reader should refer to Dietrich's book and to the regular literature on the Islamicate materia medica for more information.

The geography of the new materia medica

Let us first sort Ibn Juljul's sixty-one substances absent from Dioscorides according to their point of origin. (15) Some are in different categories and counted twice. Many of the plants listed in Table 1 entered into widespread cultivation in ranges beyond their origin during antiquity, late antiquity, or the early medieval period. Tracing the chronology and mechanism of this process is a vast subject beyond the scope of the present article. In these circumstances, the table is somewhat impressionistic and emphasizes both botanical point of origin, such as is known, and the area of cultivation during the late antique and early medieval periods. Scientific names have been eschewed both because of the unsettled taxonomy of some of these plants and because of the difficulty of ascertaining precise correspondences between plants as known in medieval pharmacy with modern species.

This list only covers the substances referenced by Ibn Juljul and does not necessarily reflect the full range of goods coming from these different lands in medieval times, or even of new introductions.

The vast majority of the new materia medica discussed by Ibn Juljul come from India, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Ocean lands. The next largest category includes substances of Near Eastern origin and some of Mediterranean origin; many of these were not truly unknown in antiquity. A few products come specifically from China and Central Eurasia (here regarded as the steppes and mountainous regions of the former Soviet Union, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongolia). This geographical distribution may be ascribed, at least in part, to the great variety of suitable natural products from the tropical lands. We may also suspect influence from the highly developed medical sciences of ancient India; there was less opportunity for detailed scientific contact between China and Islamic lands in the pre-Mongol period.

Etymologizing Ibn Juljul's evidence

These substances may be divided into different categories according to the etymology of their names. This procedure is suggestive of the cultural routes that these products took into Islamic lands. Here, I have divided them into the following three categories: I. Names of Near Eastern origin, including Semitic languages and Greek (Table 2); II. Names of Iranian origin (Table 3); and III. Names that passed into Arabic from Indie, Dravidian, or Southeast Asia through Persian (Table 4). A few items have been reserved for a special classification of substances that passed directly into Arabic from Indie languages or came through an uncertain path.

I. Category I

The first category consists of substances bearing names of Arabic or Semitic origin, as well as Greek and a few of unclear origin. For example, the cubeb was known as kababa, a good Arabic derivation related to kubba "ball" and, of course, kabab "kebab," originally referring to the round balls of meat cooked upon skewers. The round "berries" of the cubeb are aptly named with a word derived from the same root. (26) Even more clear is the case of tamarind, tamr hindi in Arabic, which means "Indian date." Many, but by no means all, of the products in the first category originate within the Near East itself.

2. Category II

The largest category of origin for the names of materia medica in Ibn Juljul's list is associated with the Iranian area, both direct borrowings of Iranian words and names of substances borrowed into Persian from other languages (usually Indie) before being transmitted to Arabic. This category is thus divided into two parts; the first consists of substances bearing names of Persian or other Iranian origin.

The first attestation in Persian, as far as is known to the present author, is also given. Some can be traced back to Middle Persian (Pahlavi) literature, but for many the first reference is in Abu Mansur Muwaffaq al-Harawi's classical Persian al-Abniyya 'an haqa'iq al-adwiyya of the first half of the tenth century. (33) There is a significant shortage of relevant early Persian-language sources for pharmacology and material culture in general before the tenth century, which makes the tracing of actual attestations of the Persian names a hit-or-miss proposition. Some of these words, and words in the following category, have long been recognized as loans from Persian by scholars of Arabic. They are also often the source of the terms used in Syriac. (34)

Some are patently Persian formations, such as nutmeg (jawzbu, lit. fragrant nut) and amaranth (bustan abriiz, lit. inflamer of the garden, so named because of its plumes of red inflorescences). Some names that first appear in the Iranian cultural area are accepted as Persian and have often been treated as loanwords from Persian into other languages even though their derivation is less clear, such as jasmine (yasman) and musk (musk).

Iranian goz ([waljnut) was borrowed by Arabic. (58) While it does not appear by itself in Ibn Juljul's work, two compounds based on it are present: jawzbu (nutmeg) and jawz hindi (coconut, lit. Indian nut). The coconut appears to have been known in the Sasanian period on the basis of Pahlavi literature. The term for it is anargillanargel in Pahlavi, hence Arabic narajil. The Husraw i Kawadan ud Redag-e includes a mention: anargil ka abag sakar xwarend pad hindug anargil xwanend ud pad parsig goz i hindug xwanend "the coconut when they eat it with sugar, which in Indian they call anargil and in Persian goz i hindug, the Indian nut." (59) Goz i hindug is also Arabicized to jawz hindi. Pahlavi anargil /anargel is ultimately derived from Sanskrit narikera (also narikela, nalikera). (60) Also derived from the Sanskrit is the Greek form [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] in the sixth-century Greek of Cosmas Indicopleustes. (61) However, this text really shows that the coconut was best known in Iran by its Indian name, since it is introduced with it and then the Persian equivalent is noted. The Arab use of a Persian form of the Indie is further testimony to the importance of Sasanian culture in the transmission of Asian products into Islamicate culture.

Not mentioned by Ibn Juljul is cinnamon, for cinnamon and cassia were known to Dioscorides. But the Arabic term for cinnamon (dar sini, Chinese wood) bears the Persian dar (tree, wood) and is a transcription of New Persian darcini. This term was borrowed into Syriac from New Persian in Islamic times. (62) Other plant names were borrowed from Persian into Arabic: banafsaj (violet; MP wanafsag), (63) nasrin (dog rose; MP *nasrinag, NP nasrin). (64)

Ward (rose) in Arabic reflects the Parthian ward and Syriac warda, ultimately derived from Old Persian *vrda-. (65)

3. Category III

This category consists of substances found in Ibn Juljul the names of which derive from Indian languages, both Indo-Aryan and Dravidian as well as one word of Kitan origin. As given in Table 4, all words appear to have passed through Persian on their way into the Near East according to rules of transcription. (66)


While Sanskrit forms are cited, in most cases the names of these materia medica are borrowed from Dravidian or Austroasiatic, and some may have come directly from Dravidian into the Near East. It is for specialists in the languages of India to investigate further. It is also likely that many names were transmitted through the vernacular Prakrits rather than from Sanskrit itself. But these Prakritic forms do not often seem to be attested. Fortunately, these are problems that are not relevant to the present discussion inasmuch as the words certainly originated in India (or Southeast Asia) and were borrowed into the Near East from there.

4. Leftovers

The next section includes words that do not fit into any of the preceding categories. Included in this category are also two plant products, the clove and the lemon, both of which may have entered Arabic directly from Indie. The lemon originated in India, and has taken forms of its name with it throughout the world. (96) Lemons (sg. limuna) first appear in Islamic literature as a specialty of Mansura in Sind. (97) They are mentioned in 'Abbasid poetry, (98) while Ibn Juljul's notice appears to be one of the first in pharmacological literature.

The banana was certainly known to classical botanists as a result of Alexander's campaigns in India, but no regular name for it passed with it then. (99) Finally, it seems plausible that the mung bean entered the Near East through Iran, but there seems no way to confirm this at present.


The largest category of the etymological classification of names of materia medica in Ibn Juljul's list consists of words that passed into Arabic through Persian or other Iranian languages (category III, shown in Table 4). There are several ways to trace this passage. First, medieval writers on Arabic philology such as al-Jawaliqi (d. 540/1145) identified many of these words as loanwords, although sometimes with a lack of precision as to the source; and second, some bear unmistakable traces of having passed through Persian--probably in Islamic times, although that does not mean that the development of interest in these plant products, let alone all of them, necessarily dates to Islamic times.

We may lament the general lack of documentation from Sasanian times and the fact that not one of the documents on papyrus, etc., that survive mentions materia medica, yet we are fortunate to have Middle Persian material at our disposal. Three major sources for these terms are preserved in Pahlavi, the form of Middle Persian written within the Zoroastrian tradition. Pahlavi works reached their final form only in Islamic times, so caution is in order with this literature. The first text is the Husraw i Kawadan ud Redag-e, the story of Khusraw, the Sasanian emperor, and his page-boy. (108) This text can be compared with a version recorded in Arabic around 1000 by al-Tha'alibl in his work on Persian history, Ghurar akhbar muluk al-furs wa-siyarihim, which is very different from the Pahlavi version and includes numerous Arabic terms. (109) Since none of this terminology is found in the Pahlavi original, it may be taken as a work in which no Arab-Islamic influence is present.

The second work is the Bundahisn, the most important extant cosmological text in Pahlavi. It contains lists of the various animals and plants of creation; these are very valuable for our understanding of the history of the natural sciences in Persia. While the Bundahisn reached its final form in Islamic times, there appears to be no Arab-Islamic influence upon the sections of the work used here, and the Bundahisn on the whole probably reflects later Sasanian tradition.

The third important source is the chapter on medicine in the third book of the Zoroastrian religious encyclopedia called the Denkard, composed in the Islamic period but reflecting Sasanian tradition. Table 6 shows each of the terms from Ibn Juljul found in these three texts.

Because Pahlavi texts reached their final forms in Islamic times and some texts were original productions of Islamic times, dating them is highly problematic. While much of the literature obviously reflects pre-Islamic tradition, the possibility of later contamination exists. Compositions certainly produced in Islamic times are excluded from Table 6. The late ninth-century anthology Wizidagiha-yi Zadspram, for example, includes mention of camphor, musk, and ambergris. With the exception of ambar, which probably passed into Persian from Arabic (or Syriac), (126) these Pahlavi words that are shared with Arabic are manifestly in Persian forms: the spelling indicates that they were not borrowed from Arabic.

The Middle Persian forms are the origins for the names of these materia medica in Syriac. (127) Table 7 shows the Syriac forms for the items in Table 6; this table could be expanded to encompass most of the Persian forms given above. (128)

As can be seen, the Syriac forms usually agree with the Middle Persian forms rather than the Arabic except in cases where the Persian sounds are incompatible with Syriac, for example, candal becomes sandal, as in Arabic. The physicians of Perso-Syriac Mesopotamia thus had their own distinct forms of the names of these products apart from Arab-Islamic pharmacology, which was in fact influenced by that older tradition. (132) But, while suggestive, a Persian form in a Pahlavi text is not by itself conclusive evidence of a pre-Islamic dating of these products. Other pre-Islamic traditions might help flesh out this picture. The sources used for Table 8 come from Greek and other languages, are clearly dated to pre-Islamic times, and thus provide a check on the Pahlavi sources.

Some of these plants, such as Lathyrus sativus and rhubarb (ribas), were well known in antiquity. Dioscorides even included rhubarb in his book. There is no doubt of the pre-Islamic presence of cloves in the Near East and Mediterranean world; although essentially unknown in classical Roman times, by late antiquity they were reasonably well known, as their mention in Cosmas Indicopleustes and other sources attests. (155)

Seven substances are found on both lists: ambergris, Semecarpus anacardium, camphor, citron, coconut, musk, and sandalwood. These substances appear in forms that indicate complex pathways of transmission. The terms for ambergris are so similar in Middle Persian and Greek that the Greek could have been borrowed from the Persian, or perhaps the Greek came directly from Arabic or Somali. Middle Persian baladur (Semecarpus anacardium) is different from the proper Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("heart-shaped"), which is descriptive of the nut. Greek [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] could be influenced by Persian or Arabic, or borrowed directly from Indie. For the coconut, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] parallels the Middle Persian anargel. Musk is widely attested in forms with both s and s. Greek [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (sandalwood), which diverges from the Persian, Syriac, and Arabic forms due to the presence of n, as in Indie, rather than the l of the Near Eastern languages, likely comes directly from Greek traders in India.

These sources confirm the pre-Islamic date of usage of these particular substances. While interpolations into one source are always possible, parallel interpolations into sources from entirely different traditions are much less likely--thus the independent confirmation of the pre-Islamic dating. These materia medica in Table 8 are simply the substances that happened to be attested; it is likely that more substances from Ibn Juljul's list also came into use in pre-Islamic times but went unmentioned in the existing sources. One additional, possibly pre-Islamic plant from Western Asia is jasmine, which is attested in the Nanfang caomu zhuang ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) of the fourth century as yesimin. (156) Laufer cautions that the Nanyue caomu zhuang contains interpolations and concludes that by itself the data of this source cannot confirm such an early date for the jasmine in the absence of West Asian sources. (157) However, as we have seen, jasmine does appear in the Pahlavi Bundahisn and Husraw i Kawadan ud Redag-e and in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry. The preponderance of evidence thus suggests a pre-Islamic date for the spread of the cultivation of jasmine.

The picture drawn from this evidence is thus of a complex set of circumstances for the introduction of these new substances to Western lands. The presence of Greek terminology, which could have come directly from the activity of Greek merchants in India and Sri Lanka, (158) suggests that the pathway for products such as Semecarpus anacardium, camphor, or sandalwood into the Mediterranean may have been distinct from the process of the introduction of these products into the Near East. The lifespan of Aetius of Amida (500-550) corresponds with the last phase of the flourishing of Byzantine trade in the Indian Ocean. (159) The ambergris, camphor, galangal, and musk that he mentions thus came into use at least by the early sixth century. Since Aetius studied in Alexandria, he was doubtless in touch with the latest drugs from India that passed through Egypt. Evidently camphor was still uncommon, for he urges its use alongside musk in a gynecological ointment formula "if enough is available." (160) Within the Near East, the linguistic hegemony of the Perso-Syriac sphere is evident because the Arabic terminology follows the Persian here, as in so many other cases that do not have an attestation in pre-Islamic times.

Thus, we have linguistic evidence placing the introduction of many of these substances to the Near East within the sphere of Perso-Syriac culture, and we have chronological evidence suggesting that these substances were known in pre-Islamic times. Let us turn to the historical background to this situation.


In late antiquity, when some of these substances are first attested, the Near East was divided between Byzantine and Persian spheres of influence. It is the Persian sphere, bordering on Central Asia and India, that interests us here. Since the third decade of the third century the Iranian Plateau and Mesopotamia had been ruled by the powerful Sasanian dynasty. (161) The Sasanians were ethnically Persians originating from the old Achaemenid imperial center in Fars.

The role of the Iranian peoples in the cultural history of exchanges between Asia and the Near East was most famously elaborated by Berthold Laufer in his Sino-Iranica of 1919. Laufer's work focused on the numerous plants of western Asian origin introduced into Chinese culture; using Iranian philological evidence he was able to greatly clarify the spread of these plants. Indeed, largely thanks to his pioneering work and that of Paul Pelliot (162) and the later Edward Schafer, (163) the history of foreign elements in Chinese culture is on the whole much better known than the role of Further Asian elements in Near Eastern culture.

From the earliest days of the empire, the Sasanians were as active on their eastern frontiers as on their western frontier with the later Roman empire. The Sasanian empire was a powerful state with an aristocracy possessed of an appetite for a luxurious lifestyle. We know much about the role of the Sasanians in the silk trade and the consumption of silk textiles by the Persians. (164) We must assume, especially given the linguistic evidence of the Sasanian role in other aspects of Eurasian and Indian Ocean trade presented above, that these interests extended to other exotic commodities of Further Asia.

Most of the new introductions must have come by way of the Indian Ocean. Since Sasanian relations with the Indian Ocean lands have been studied by a number of scholars, we need not retread the same territory with the same detail. (165) The first Sasanian king, Ardashir, had a strategy of maintaining control in the ports of the Persian Gulf by the establishment of forts. (166) This strategy was motivated by the need to keep control of regions from which possible rebellions against his authority might come, but it also had the effect of turning the Persian Gulf--effectively the gateway to the Indian Ocean and long seen as such by the peoples who visited it--into a truly Persian body of water. (167) In addition, this strategy surely fostered trade in the Indian Ocean. (168) By the middle of the third century, Mani was able to sail to Daybul, the major port of Sind. (169) While in Furat, in the land of Meshan at the head of the Persian Gulf, he met a merchant named Og and found that "merchants were about to go [by] ship to Persia [and] India, and they had sealed his goods, [but had not yet put to sea]...." (170) Mani took this ship and traveled to India.

By the fourth century, trade between Mesopotamia and lands further east is attested. Ammianus Marcellinus (d. after 391) describes the town of Serugh (Batnae) on the Euphrates frontier as having an annual trade fair at which "a great crowd of every condition gathers ... to traffic in wares sent from India and China (the Seres), and in other articles that are regularly brought there in great abundance by land and sea." (171) In Book 23, Ammianus describes the Sasanian empire's lands from west to east, and mentions that past the land of the Sogdians and the Sakas "a very long road extends, which is the route taken by the traders who journey from time to time to the land of the Seres." (172) Persian merchants (173) in the Indian Ocean pepper-producing lands are attested by a Latin version of Palladius in the fourth century. (174) By the sixth century, Cosmas Indicopleustes wrote of Ceylon: "Acting as an intermediary, the island receives many ships coming from all parts of India, from Persia, and from the Ethiopians, and it sends them forth likewise." (175) He then goes on to describe the commodities received in Ceylon, singling out silk, aloes[wood?], cloves, clove tree wood ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), and sandalwood. Significantly, three of the four are materia medica et aromatica. Procopius states that the Persians acquired their silk by sailing to the ports of India, to which the silk came from China itself. (176)

The Church of the East, commonly called the Nestorian Church, had an active presence throughout the Indian Ocean lands. (177) The large geographical extent of the church likely paralleled the trade networks, with missions stretching along the trade routes among the merchant communities of Further Asia. Cosmas notes a Persian Christian church in Ceylon. (178) A Syriac passage written by Ishoyahb III (647 or 650-657/8) describes the sphere of influence of the church as extending from the "marit[i]me borders of the Persian kingdom to the country called QLH, which is the distance of one thousand and two hundred parasangs." (179) This source dates from a time when the Islamic conquest of the Near East was still ongoing and certainly reflects the Sasanian-period expansion of the Christians.

Chinese sources of the late fifth and sixth centuries onward speak often of bosi or Persian merchants, who brought West Asian products such as frankincense, myrrh, pistachio, and Semecarpus anacardium by way of the sea. Laufer argued on the basis of phonology and some of the products they carried--alum, lac, and ebony, none of which is Persian--that at least some of these bosi merchants were Southeast Asians. (180) But for others, bosi are exclusively Persian and Laufer's "Malayan Posse" of the first millennium is a myth. (181)

Little evidence exists of specifically Sasanian sailors east of Ceylon. Hourani famously rejects any idea of direct sailing between the Near East and China in pre-Islamic times, (182) but other scholars are not so doctrinaire. (183) While the actual presence of Sasanian sailors so far east may be controversial, a web of commerce was connecting southern China, Southeast Asia, India, and Ceylon with the Sasanian empire during this period.

Following Procopius' account of the commercial competition between Persian and Byzantine merchant sailors, (184) scholars have argued repeatedly that the commercial competition between these powers in the Indian Ocean was an intense and defining characteristic of the sixth century. (185) During the sixth century their influence extended also into Yemen, which was conquered in the 570s under Khusraw I. The rationale for these conquests has been tied to the competition over the silk trade between the Byzantine and Sasanian empires. (186) Recent scholarship places these events in a broader context and rejects the idea that purely commercial ambitions drove the politics of the Red Sea region. (187)

There was a close connection between the India trade and control of Yemen in the minds of the Sasanians and later Islamic writers; al-Tabari, for instance, states that after subduing Yemen, the Sasanians turned their attention to the conquest of Sarandib (Ceylon), "the land of jewels." (188)

As noted, Procopius testifies to the importance of Ceylon in Sasanian trade, but so far the archaeological evidence has been unimpressive. (189) Sasanian objects are claimed among the artifacts recovered at the Funanese site of Oc-Eo. (190) Sasanian coins excavated in southern China--many dating from the fifth century through the end of the Sasanian age (191)--are thought to have come by way of the Indian Ocean trade rather than overland. Rather than declining in late antiquity, the Indian Ocean trade continued, if not expanded, both with regard to the Sasanian and Byzantine spheres of the Near East. (192) The evidence of the arrival of new materia medica suggests an expansion in trade, or at least in the types of commodities available on the market especially during the sixth century.

We need not be surprised, then, at the terms borrowed by Arabic for aspects of seafaring and navigation. (193) Such terms include nahkhuda ("captain") and rahnama ("navigational treatise"). An island of the Andamans also received the Persian name khushnami ("of good repute"). (194) The maritime commerce of the Islamic period is thus at least in part a continuation of the maritime commerce of Sasanian times. Even if the written monuments about this trade are in Arabic, the writers were often either of Persian background or living in the ports of the Persian Gulf; the most famous examples are Buzurg b. Shahriyar and Abu Zayd al-Sirafi, from the Persian Gulf port of Siraf. (195)

Whitehouse and Williamson (1973) stated that the maritime trade of the Sasanians was ripe for consideration in comparison with the work that had been done on Sasanian overland trade. But paradoxically, the written source material for the overland trade is much poorer, even though there is considerable numismatic and archaeological evidence. (196)

The use of Sasanian coins as a medium of exchange was common in Central Eurasia, even into East Asia, where indigenous precious metal coinage was lacking. The Sogdian contract from Turfan for the purchase of a slave girl in the year 629 specifies payment in "120 drachms of very pure Persian struck [coins]." (197) Quite a few specimens of Sasanian coinage that somehow survived melting down for their precious metal are known from East Asia. (198)

Archaeological evidence suggesting that silks from China traveled the overland route dates to the first and second centuries (there are far earlier instances as well); silk becomes even more abundant during the third century and later. (199) A great surge in Sasanian "commerce" with China seems to date to the period of the fifth and sixth centuries, when Sasanian relations with the Hephthalites encouraged commerce by sending Sasanian money into Central Eurasia, resulting in increased numbers of Sasanian coins in China. (200) Sasanian and Levantine glass likewise became known in China via the overland routes and ultimately spread as far as Korea and Japan. (201) There are also excavated and thesaurized examples of metalwork from Sasanian times. (202) The examples of Sasanian and extra-Sasanian metalwork excavated in China cluster in the sixth century; later Chinese metalwork was influenced by the imports of this period. (203)

Based on the evidence of written sources and archaeological evidence, a thriving Sasanian commerce with the lands of the Indian Ocean, Central Eurasia, and China can be identified especially from the sixth century. (204) It is during this period in general that the first references to the imported goods under discussion begin to appear in the non-Persian sources listed in Table 7. One conclusion would be that the Sasanians played a key role in the introduction of these substances to the Near East and Mediterranean worlds. It is appropriate, however, to see this Sasanian commerce in spices, drugs, and aromatics in the context of the commercial history of the age. As the preponderance of newly imported trade goods came from India and Southeast Asia, we must question why they came to be introduced in this period rather than in earlier ages, during which maritime commerce also existed.

We must not view the expansion of Sasanian commercial interests in the western Indian Ocean lands in isolation. The Sasanians were not the only peoples actively participating in trade networks during this period--long-distance voyaging was becoming big business in Southeast Asia as well. Maritime routes connected China with Southeast Asia and Southeast Asia with India, by which routes many of the trade goods we have discussed arrived in the Near Eastern lands. (205)

While northern India suffered disruptions as the Gupta empire collapsed in the face of Hun invasions in the fifth century, southern India gradually entered into maritime relations throughout the Bay of Bengal and with Southeast Asia, which was itself changing in ways of great importance to trade. (206) References to trade with Southeast Asia are found in the Tamil classics, and the spread of the Tamil Grantha script within Southeast Asia in this age shows the influence of Tamil culture. (207) Contact between Southeast Asia and South India and Ceylon meant that it was the southern Indian forms of Indian culture, script, religion, and architectural style that became influential in Southeast Asia.

Major changes in the patterns of interregional and foreign trade also occurred in Southeast Asia during the first half of the first millennium. At its start, Southeast Asian sailors were familiar with navigation in the Indian Ocean and in the South China Sea. Some products from Southeast Asia were known in India and China by this time, but many of the products sought in China came instead from the Near East and were transshipped through Southeast Asia or via the overland routes. Within Southeast Asia, traders landed on the coasts of the Malay peninsula and had their goods transported rather than employing a sea route the entire distance. The key polity involved in this process was the kingdom of Funan, located in the lower Mekong Delta, which profited from trade by operating portage across the Isthmus of Kra, sparing voyagers the long and dangerous journey around the Malay peninsula. (208)

Southeast Asia became an increasingly active participant in the lucrative trade in spices, drugs, and aromatics during Sasanian rule in the Near East. From the second to third century, a commercial network emerged in the Java Sea that focused on the exchange of aloeswood, sandalwood, and spices, including cloves. (209) The focus of this network was on the entrepot of Koying, located north of the Sunda Strait area. (210) This location enabled the exchange of the goods of the Java Sea area with the Indian Ocean, contributing towards their westward flow. By the fifth century, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Faxian was able to return to China utilizing an established network of merchant ships by way of Java. (211)

A second commercial advance followed from the increasing appetite for Java Sea goods around the fifth century. (212) Sumatra was increasingly brought within this network, and this led to the rise of the eastern coast of Sumatra in trade. The Strait of Malacca now became the major route for trade through Indonesia and portage across the Malay peninsula declined along with Funan. The ultimate beneficiary of this process was the emerging state of Srivijaya, which would dominate Southeast Asian trade until the early eleventh century. The reorganization of the Southeast Asian maritime networks and the emergence of Srivijaya thus occurred precisely during the later Sasanian period.

The rise of Srivijaya is connected in part to the pioneering uses of indigenous Southeast Asian products to replace Near Eastern products in the trade with China in the fifth or sixth century. Probably as a byproduct of the exploitation of benzoin and pine resin, which replaced West Asian bdellium and frankincense respectively, other Southeast Asian products came into use around the same time. According to Wolters, this is exactly when Southeast Asian camphor begins to appear on the market in the West. (213) It seems likely that the enterprising merchants of this period would be scrutinizing locally used products for potential exports beyond the examples that Wolters cites.

Thus, great changes occurring in South and Southeast Asia provide essential background to the expansion of the Late Antique pharmacopoeia. The peoples of Southeast Asia were themselves reorganizing and prioritizing trade, becoming an ever more important part of the maritime network of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. At the same time, they introduced many of their own plant substances into this trade, at first, perhaps, as substitutes for hard-to-find exotics, but later, surely, for their own qualities. The Sasanians and their subjects, including the Syriac Christians of Mesopotamia and the Gulf, were the immediate Western beneficiaries of this situation. While Byzantine maritime commerce certainly existed in the Indian Ocean, its scope was curtailed by the Sasanians.


It is evident that the greatly extended corpus of materia medica of Islamic times dates at least in part to the pre-Islamic period of Near Eastern history. I have identified a complex set of factors in the introduction of these new spices, drugs, and aromatics into the Near East, and have singled out the positive role of the Syro-Persian culture of the Sasanians and the flourishing of the trade of South and Southeast Asian societies during late antiquity. But even these two factors cannot account for the increased richness of the varieties of trade goods during this period. Some, such as ambergris, had been known but had not elicited much interest. Changing patterns of taste in food and perfumery can help to account for its rise, as well as other substances such as coconut.

The Near East on the eve of Islam was thus an environment that had already begun to encounter and utilize new drugs, perfumes, and foods from Further Asia. The cosmopolitan Sasanian empire with its population of Syriac-speaking Christian physicians and scholars introduced these substances into the Near East, while the Greek Byzantine world pursued its own pharmacological discoveries in the Indian Ocean. The work of the physicians of the early Islamic period synthesized the new drugs into medicine systematically. The prescriptions of the formularies of the ninth century would be hard to imagine without the new drugs of the East, and it was this body of knowledge that was transmitted to medieval Europe.

Anya King

University of Southern Indiana


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This article is based in part on a paper delivered at the World History Association annual meeting in Salem, MA, in 2009. I would like to offer my thanks to Christopher I. Beckwith, who read a draft of this paper, and to the JAOS readers for their helpful comments, which have improved the paper considerably. All errors remain my own responsibility.

(1.) Riddle 1965, Scarborough 1984. The literature on Arabic-language pharmacological sources is vast; some of the most useful recent works of reference are Dietrich 1988, 1991. 1993; Lev and Amar 2008; Schonig 2002.

(2.) E.g.. Ullmann 1978, 106; Pormann and Savage-Smith 2007; 53: "The wide and varied geographic horizons of Islamic writers, however, brought them into contact with new drugs." Warmington (1974: 220) gives a list of plants, including many that are discussed below, as introductions by the "traffic" of the "Arabians"; he apparently believes (correctly) that this process need not have occurred subsequent to the rise of Islam.

(3.) Decker 2009: 187-208. See also the comments of Bulliet 1994: 69-70.

(4.) Cf. Ullmann 1978: xi.

(5.) On the importance of patronage, see Gutas 1998.

(6.) Even when a Persian-language pharmacology asserted itself in the work of Abu Mansur Muwaffaq al-Harawi (tenth century), it did so in a form deeply impacted by the Arabic pharmacological heritage.

(7.) Pormann and Savage Smith 2007: 24-27. The Persian heritage in the scientific works in Syriac is well known. See Ciancaglini 2008: 15-16, 41-42.

(8.) Levey 1966; see Levey 1973: 63.

(9.) Ibn Juljul 1993. Its importance has been signaled by Pormann and Savage-Smith 2007: 53.

(10.) Al-Tabari 1928, Schmucker 1969.

(11.) Ibn Masawayh 1936-37; tr. Levey 1961.

(12.) Sabur b. Sahl 1994; tr. Kahl 2003; see also Kahl 2009.

(13.) Levey 1966.

(14.) Budge 1913. See the important review by Brockelmann 1914 and the series of studies by Gignoux: 1998, 1998-99, 2009a, 2009b, 2011a, 2011b.

(15.) The literature upon which Table 1 is principally based comprises Burkill 1966, Ghazanfar 1994, Hooper 1937, Laufer 1919, Lev and Amar 2008, Newcomb 1963, Watt 1908.

(16.) The numbers are those of Dietrich's edition (Ibn Juljul 1993).

(17.) Zohary et al. 2012: 146, on the Indian and Southeast Asian origin of the citrus fruits.

(18.) Burkill 1966: 1327-28.

(19.) Noted in Islamic times as a product of China by Ibn Khurradadhbih 1889: 70. In T'ang times it was produced in western Lingnan and Hainan; see Schafer 1967: 194-95.

(20.) King 2007.

(21.) Foust 1992; see also Haneda 1989, Lev and Amar 2008: 259-60.

(22.) Laufer 1913, 1916; Ettinghausen 1950: 111-42; King 2013.

(23.) Laufer 1919: 300-1.

(24.) Hooper 1937: 91, Lev and Amar 2008: 114-15.

(25.) Hooper 1937: 84, Ghazanfar 1994: 16.

(26.) Worterbuch der klassischen arabischen Sprache 1957-, 1: 16. It should be noted that Shir 1987-88: 131 and Levey 1966 suggest it is Persian; cf. also Vullers 1885 (1962, 2: 789). 1 can find no evidence for an Iranian origin of this word, while the Arabic derivation seems much more plausible. Laufer 1915 does not rule on the derivation of kababa.

(27.) Ar. filfil is ultimately from Indie.

(28.) Some authorities, including recently Lev and Amar (2008: 507), identify this with the yew.

(29.) See Low 1881: 156-57.

(30.) Reinisch 1902: 59, Ferrand 1925, Pelliot 1959, 1: 33. Gignoux (201 lb: 20) regards the Syriac form as a loan from Middle Persian.

(31.) Ruska and Plessner; but cf. MP almas (Mackenzie 1971: 7) and Ciancaglini 2008: 107.

(32.) There is tremendous confusion about the original application of Akkadian kurkanu, a possible ancient source for this word. CAD (8: 560-61) leaves its identification uncertain. Thompson (1949: 157-62) had "turmeric"; but see Landsberger 1966: 260 n. 56. Mayrhofer (1956-80, 1: 219) gives "saffron." Other scholars regard MP kurkum, Ar. kurkum, and Syriac kurkma as a loan from Sanskrit kuiikumam: Ciancaglini 2008: 194. Gignoux (1998-99: 199) suspects Middle Persian; cf. al-Tabari 1928: 19. Mayrhofer considers the Indian word a loanword.

(33.) Al-Harawi 1371, ed. Bahmanyar.

(34.) Ciancaglini 2008, Gignoux 2011b.

(35.) Al-Jahiz (1968, 1: 20) considers khiyar Persian. The MP attestation of xiyar has been rejected by Porouchani 1991, but is followed by Azarnouche 2013: 126. The arrival of the cucumber in the Mediterranean is post-classical, according to Zohary et al. (2012: 155), but cucumber seeds have been found from ancient Egypt as well as Nimrud ('Iraq); see Murray 2000: 635.

(36.) Cf. Ibn Juljul 1993: 30.

(37.) Burhan 1963, 2: 800.

(38.) Ciancaglini 2008: 136.

(39.) Ciancaglini 2008: 177.

(40.) Ciancaglini 2008: 156.

(41.) Ibn Juljul 1993: "Behenwurzel"; Gignoux (1998: 729) suggests varieties of sweet marjoram (marjolaine).

(42.) Gignoux 1998: 729. Reference is to the Wizldaglha-yi Zadspram (Gignoux and Tafazzoli 1993: 48-49), which is a late ninth-century text in Pahlavi.

(43.) See Dietrich 1988: 521 n. 5.

(44.) Gignoux 1998: 728, Ciancaglini 2008: 181.

(45.) Ciancaglini 2008: 107.

(46.) Schmucker 1969: 519-20.

(47.) Thus the manuscript; the editor has emended to harnuwand.

(48.) Shapira 2005: 183. For this plant, see Farhangnama, 1190-91.

(49.) Pakzad 2005: 219; for the manuscript, see TD2, 119.11. See also Nawabi 1975, Choksy 1986: 203-42.

(50.) Siddiqi 1919: 20, Ciancaglini 2008: 188, Shapira 2005: 179-80, Pakzad and Schapka 2008: 263, with discussion of the forms; Azamouche 2013: 152; Mackenzie (1971: 97) has yasaman.

(51.) Durkin-Meisterernst 2004: 197.

(52.) Pakzad 2005: 213, Anklesaria 1908: 117.8.

(53.) Pakzad 2005: 173-74, Anklesaria 1908: 96.13, etc. See also King 2007: 30-31.

(54.) Dietrich 1988: 585, Burhan 1963, 3: 1318, Shushtari 1347: 419, Lughatnama, 17: 137. The word is an abbreviation of khun-i siyavushan, after the legend that the spilled blood of Siyavush produced the dragon's blood plant.

(55.) References in Lughatnama, 3: pt. 3, 191; see also p. 203 for bakam. Baqqam is noted as the Arabized (mu'arrab) form.

(56.) It appears in the compound xiyar-wadrang (which Azarnouche 2013 translated as cucumber). See her note p. 126.

(57.) Dresden 1966: 250, de Menasce 1973: 311. Also attested in a text of Islamic date: Williams 1990: ch. 64, para. 3.

(58.) Al-Jawaliqi 1966: 99.

(59.) Azarnouche 2013: 130, [section]50. See also Monchi-Zadeh 1982: 55, 74.

(60.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 2: 155; the word is probably Dravidian in origin.

(61.) Cosmas Indicopleustes 1968-73: XI. 11. For recent discussions of Cosmas, see Bowersock 2013: 22-33, Kominko 2013.

(62.) Ciancaglini 2008: 22.

(63.) Eilers 1971: 596, 628, Shapira 2005: 182, Azarnouche 2013: 159.

(64.) Ciancaglini 2008: 217.

(65.) Ciancaglini 2008: 38.

(66.) Siddiqi 1919, al-Jawaliqi 1966.

(67.) Laufer 1913: 581, Ciancaglini 2008: 162, Azarnouche 2013: 126.

(68.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 3: 581-82.

(69.) Gignoux 1998-99: 197, Ciancaglini 2008: 129, Gignoux 2011b: 30.

(70.) Cf. Mayrhofer 1956-80, 3: 218.

(71.) Ciancaglini 2008: 108, Gignoux 201 lb: 20.

(72.) Laufer 1913: 581.

(73.) Gignoux 1998-99: 198, Ciancaglini 2008: 250, Pakzad and Schapka 2008: 268-69.

(74.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 1: 136.

(75.) Gignoux 1998-99: 199-200, Ciancaglini 2008: 192: *xwalingan.

(76.) Laufer 1913: 545, Levey 1973: 61; Mayrhofer (1956-80, 1: 237) suggests that the Sanskrit is a loanword from the same uncertain source that provided khulanjan to Arabic.

(77.) Burhan 1963, 1: 425, Dietrich 1988, 1: 644. Pupal is absent from al-Harawi; the Lughatnama (4: 499) gives a verse from the eleventh-century poet Farrukhi that may be the oldest Persian attestation of it.

(78.) Cf. Laufer 1913: 584.

(79.) See Ciancaglini 2008: 185, Burhan 1963, 1: 515.

(80.) Laufer 1913: 582, Low 1967, 3: 62; Mayrhofer (1956-80, 1: 495) notes the original Austroasiatic origin of this word.

(81.) Unattested in Pahlavi, where orange is wadrang (citron). See Eilers 1971: 603, Ciancaglini 2008: 105.

(82.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 2: 153-54.

(83.) Mackenzie 1971: 16, Ciancaglini 2008: 128, Gignoux 2011b: 30.

(84.) Laufer 1913: 482, Schmucker 1969: no. 137, Bos 1996: 229; Mayrhofer (1956-80, 2: 484) notes that this word is not originally Indo-Aryan.

(85.) Ciancaglini 2008: 189. The Sogdian form is kp'wr, see Gharib 1995: no. 4792, Grenet 1996: 73. See also Farhangnama, 254-56.

(86.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 1: 175, Mahdi 1999: 216-20.

(87.) Fraenkel 1886 (cited after rpt. 1962: 139); Laufer 1913: 581, Eilers 1971: 603, Shapira 2005: 181, Pakzad and Schapka 2008: 260, Gignoux 2011b: 17. The citron originated in India and passed into southwest Asia via Persia in antiquity; see Zohary et al. 2012: 146.

(88.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 2: 620-21.

(89.) Pakzad and Schapka 2008: 264.

(90.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 1: 264, with references.

(91.) Eilers 1971: 607, Ciancaglini 2008: 245; see also Farhangnama, 248-49 for NP references.

(92.) Mayrhofer 1956-80, 1: 373; the word is originally Dravidian. On sandalwood, see McHugh 2012.

(93.) Khutu came into the Islamic world in the tenth century; see King 2013. Its exact identity is complex and may include walrus and narwhal ivory, as Laufer 1913 proposed, as well as other sorts of horn and ivory from northern and northeastern Asia.

(94.) Ciancaglini 2008: 120.

(95.) Mayrhofer (1956-80, 3: 186) states that the Sanskrit word, as well as the Persian, is a loanword from another source.

(96.) Laufer 1934, Glidden 1937, Watson 1983: 46.

(97.) Al-Istakhri 1967: 83.

(98.) See Vire 1993.

(99.) Probable descriptions of the banana can be found in Theophrastus 1968: IV.4.5. See Bretzl 1903: 199-200. Cf. also Pliny (XII.24), who describes a fruit called pala, which is interpreted by Warmington (1974: 217) as the banana. Andre and Filliozat (1986: 359 n. 150) interpret Pliny's passage as a reference to the chempedak. See also Watson (1983: 172 n. 8) on supposed and real early references to the banana.

(100.) Donkin 2003: 55.

(101.) Cf. Glidden 1937:387.

(102.) References in Farhangnama, 248.

(103.) Later forms transformed the k into g; cf. Hindi sagon. See also Hobson-Jobson: 910-11, Casson 1989: 285.

(104.) The Vatican manuscript of Cosmas Indicopleustes contains an illustration of an antelope standing between two trees, one of which is said in the caption to be moza; see Cosmas Indicopleustes 1909: 337 n. on 72 1. 25; Cosmas Indicopleustes 1968-73, 1: 366. This word appears nowhere in the text of Cosmas Indicopleustes and is probably due to a later source, but if this caption is genuinely by Cosmas, it would be a sixth-century attestation of the name of the banana in Greek.

(105.) Attested in Arabic as early as al-Tabari and Ibn Masawayh.

(106.) The Lughatnama (29: 1, s.v.) cites verses from Nasir-i Khusraw (eleventh century).

(107.) Laufer 1913: 585. This term may very well have passed into Arabic directly from Indie.

(108.) Ed. by Azarnouche.

(109.) Cf. King 2007.

(110.) Dresden 1966: 127, de Menasce 1973: 165. This passage specifies the halilag-i kabulig or Kabuli myrobalan, Ibn Juljul's no. 2. Cf. Azarnouche 2013: 126-27.

(111.) Pakzad 2005: 215, TD2, 118.6.

(112.) Pakzad 2005: 217, TD2, 119.1.

(113.) Pakzad 2005: 219, TD2, 119.11.

(114.) Pakzad 2005: 209, TD2, 115.7.

(115.) Dresden 1966: 127, de Menasce 1973: 165.

(116.) Pakzad 2005: 213, 218, TD2, 117.8, 119.6.

(117.) Pakzad 2005: 173, TD2, 96.13.

(118.) Pakzad 2005: 273, TD2, 153.6.

(119.) Pakzad 2005: 215, TD2, 118.7.

(120.) Pakzad 2005: 211, TD2. 116.12.

(121.) See Azarnouche 2013: 153-54; Monchi-Zadeh (1982) reads getik.

(122.) Pakzad 2005: 213, TD2, 117.8, Shapira 2005: 178.

(123.) Pakzad 2005: 215, TD2, 118.6.

(124.) Pakzad 2005: 181, TD2, 101.1.

(125.) Pakzad 2005: 213, TD2, 117.9. See also Pakzad and Schapka 2008: 264.

(126.) Cf. Ciancaglini (2008: 107), who considers MP ambar the source of Syriac ambar.

(127.) This subject has been explored in great detail in the cited works of Gignoux.

(128.) See Ciancaglini 2008 and Gignoux 2011b, from which these forms are derived.

(129.) The change MP k to the q of Arabic and New Persian was mediated by Syriac; see Gignoux 1998-99: 198-99, Ciancaglini 2008: 250.

(130.) Gignoux 2011b: 51, 80.

(131.) Gignoux 2011b: 18.

(132.) There is a dearth of clearly pre-Islamic pharmacological literature in Syriac. I have not tracked down the first occurrence of each term in Syriac, but I suspect that few terms are attested in demonstrably pre-Islamic Syriac literature.

(133.) Aetius 1935-50:I.131; LSJ 336a.

(134.) Imru' al-Qays 1998: 46. For aromatics in pre-Islamic poetry, see King 2008.

(135.) Anthimus 1996: 52.

(136.) Cosmas Indicopleustes 1909: XI.15 (1968-73, 3: 344-45). Caryophyllon is mentioned by Pliny (XII. xiv.30) and described as similar to pepper; cf. Dalby 2000: 50. See also Warmington 1974: 199-200 and 371 n. 29 for early Greek and Latin references; he doubts the identity of Pliny's caryophyllon with the clove. Miller (1969: 49-50) seems to believe that Pliny's plant is indeed the clove proper.

(137.) So Dalby 2000: 78, 100 and some older literature cited in Riddle 1965: 191. I cannot verify the passage Dalby cites in Daremberg's edition of Book XI of Aetius (contained in his edition of Rufus of Ephesus, Paris 1879, 85-126); Riddle notes that he could not confirm zedoary in Aetius either.

(138.) XI.11 (1968-74, 3: 336-37).

(139.) 1878-79, 2: 282-83; 1933-37, 3: 230; Bos 1996: 230.

(140.) Imru' al-Qays 1998: 422, al-A'sha 1928: 43 (no. 6 1. 13): both have zanbaq.

(141.) Quoted in al-Dinawari 1973: 346 (yasmun) and a variant in al-A'sha 1928: 201 (no. 55) (yasmin).

(142.) Book XVI (Aetius 1901: 163 II. 10-11); LSJ 932b, which also cites Aetius 12.63 (unavailable to me) and the interpolation to Galen 14.76. Cf. Scarborough 1984: 224-26 and Wolters 1967: 149 on early Western sources on camphor.

(143.) al-A'sha 1928: 230 (no. 80 1. 6); Imru' al-Qays quoted by al-Hamdani (1966, 2: 290).

(144.) Jerome in Patrologia latina, 23: 311. Musk is also attested in Aetius and Alexander of Tralles, as well as in the Talmud; see King forthcoming.

(145.) Ryckmans et al. 1994: 65-66, 102-3.

(146.) 1901: 130. Cf. Dalby 2007: 53.

(147.) 'Urwa b. al-Ward 1966: 67.

(148.) Dioscorides I.115.5, Lev and Amar 2008: 147.

(149.) XI.15 (1968-73, 3: 344-45). See also Dalby 2007: 56.

(150.) Saj (teak) is thought to be described by Theophrastus (V.4.7) and Pliny (XVI.221), though without a specific name. The Periplus has sagalinon which is from the Indie for teak; see Casson 1982; 1989: 258. See also Warmington 1974: 214.

(151.) III.2.

(152.) LSJ 1562b, 1569b, 1567b. These words are borrowed from Iranian; cf. Laufer 1919: 548.

(153.) See Zohary et al. 2012: 95-96 for archaeological evidence of Lathyrus sativus. Theophrastus (Enquiry, VIII.3.1) and Dioscorides (IV. 166) appear to describe a different plant than Lathyrus sativa in their discussions of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; see Amigues 2003: 190.

(154.) Wars is a well-known dye plant, Flemingia grahamiana, from Yemen; see Schonig 2002: 297. Pre-Islamic verses mentioning wars are cited by Grohmann 1922, 1: 266, and see Schonig 2002: 300. Wars has a number of synonyms in early Arabic literature: al-Biruni says that the qandir mentioned by al-'Asha is wars. For hadith, see examples in Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya 1978: 444.

(155.) Warmington 1974: 199-200, McCabe 2009: 282-84.

(156.) Laufer 1919: 329.

(157.) Laufer 1919: 330-31.

(158.) Mango 1996: 155-57; see Power 2012 for a provocative approach to the commerce of the Red Sea in late antiquity. See also McCabe 2009 for the incorporation of these new substances into Byzantine pharmacology.

(159.) See Power 2012: 189ff. On Aetius, see Scarborough 2008: 38-39.

(160.) Aetius 1901: 163, Donkin 1999: 106.

(161.) For an overview, see Daryaee 2009a.

(162.) See especially the posthumous Pelliot 1959-73.

(163.) Schafer 1963.

(164.) On Sasanian commerce in general, see Frye 1992. For silk, Bier 2013.

(165.) In particular Whitehouse and Williamson 1973. See also Whitehouse 1995, Wink 1990: 48-51.

(166.) Piacentini 1985, 1992. On Sasanian relations with the Gulf, see Daryaee 2009b.

(167.) Salles 1994: 165-87.

(168.) Cf. Whitehouse 2009: 98.

(169.) Sundermann 1981: 56-57.

(170.) Cologne Mani Codex, quoted in Sundermann 1986: 12.

(171.) XIV.3.3. In XXIII.6.11 he describes the Persian Gulf: "All along the coast is a throng of cities and villages, and many ships sail to and fro."

(172.) XXIII.6.60.

(173.) Not explicitly ships as in Whitehouse and Williamson 1973, but presumably they came in ships.

(174.) Text in Coedes 1910 (cited after rpt., 1979: 101). This passage is not present in the Greek original as published by Derrett 1960 and Berghoff 1967.

(175.) XI.15. Cosmas' evidence is cited by scholars such as G. F. Hourani (1995: 46-50).

(176.) Procopius, Wars, I.20.12; cf. Wolters 1967: 147.

(177.) Fiey 1969, Colless 1969, Gropp 1991.

(178.) XI.14.

(179.) Colless 1969: 21. Colless identified qlh with the Kalah of the Arabic geographers, a place most likely in the Malay peninsula. See Tibbetts 1979: 118-28.

(180.) Laufer 1919:468-87.

(181.) Pelliot 1959-73, 1: 87, Wolters 1967: 130, 140-45. Wolters (146-47) attempts to clarify this problem by arguing that the term originally meant Persian, but was transferred to people of the Indonesian archipelago when Indonesian products came to substitute for the original Near Eastern imports, which were very costly as an import in China. He argues that the actual shippers of the Persian goods and their Southeast Asian substitutes were Southeast Asians, and that Persians did not sail past Ceylon in the sixth century. See also Wink 1990: 49.

(182.) Hourani 1995: 46-50.

(183.) See G. Van Beek and G. F. Hourani's exchange in JAOS 80:2 (1960); Potts (1990: 339-40) cites Ibn Habib's notice of "China traders" (not necessarily Chinese) at Dabba.

(184.) Procopius, Wars, I.20.9.

(185.) Hannestad 1955-7, Frye 1992: 63.

(186.) Daryaee 2009b: 62, de la Vaissiere 2005: 228-29. Morony (2002) provides a survey of the economic relations between Arabia and the Sasanians, concluding that the economic expansion of early Islam owed much to the earlier Sasanians. For views that the decades before Islam witnessed a decline in Arabia under the Sasanians, see Kennet 2007, Power 2012: 196-97.

(187.) Power 2012; cf. Bowersock 2013: 106-8.

(188.) Al-Tabari 1964-65, 1: 965; tr. Bosworth 1999: 264. The conquest is, of course, fictitious.

(189.) J. Carswell 1991, Frye 1992: 76-77. On the supposed Sasanian bulla found at Mantai, see Walburg 2008: 36.

(190.) Lamb 1964. A glass object depicting a man in what appears to be Iranian costume is illustrated in Manguin 2004: 299. Other examples of figures wearing apparently Iranian headwear from South and Southeast Asia are identified with Sogdians by Grenet 1996.

(191.) XiaNai 1974, Daryaee 2009a: 138-39.

(192.) Cf. Wink 1990: 49-51, who argues against a decline of the India trade in late Roman times.

(193.) Ferrand 1913-14: 1-3; 1924; Agius 2008; but cf. Sauvaget (1948: xxxv), who regards these words as useful only for understanding the Persian contribution of the Islamic period. See also Wink 1990: 49.

(194.) Sauvaget 1948: [section]9.

(195.) On which, see Whitehouse et al. 2009, which contains references to the earlier literature and archaeological reports.

(196.) For a survey see Frye 1993.

(197.) Frye 1993: 77.

(198.) Thierry 1993, Skaff 1998.

(199.) Bivar 1970: 1-2; Raschke (1978: 625) has a list of sites in the Near East from which ancient silk was located with detailed references. For some silk textile finds in Iranian lands, see Kawami 1992: 14, 15, and see Bier 2013; art. Abrisam, in Encyclopaedia Iranica.

(200.) Thierry 1993, Skaff 1998, de la Vaissiere 2005: 111-12.

(201.) Bivar 1970: 5, Liang 1992.

(202.) Rawson 1992: 140-44 has a listing.

(203.) Rawson 1992: 144.

(204.) Cf. Power (2012), who identifies an age of Persian hegemony in the Red Sea from ca. 570-630.

(205.) Wang 1958. Bellina and Glover (2004) argue for the antiquity of the maritime relations between Southeast Asia and India.

(206.) Thapar 1966: 179-80. See also Champakalakshmi 1996: 113-17.

(207.) Champakalakshmi 1996: 115-16; Guy 2011.

(208.) Hall 2011.

(209.) Hall 2011: 31-32.

(210.) Wolters 1967.

(211.) Legge 1886.

(212.) Wolters 1967, Hall 2011. See also Manguin 2004: 301.

(213.) Wolters 1967: 122-23.
Table 1. Commodities by Geographic Origin

I. India

 l. (l6) chebulic myrobalan (halllaj asfar)
 2. Kabuli myrobalan (ihlJlaj kabull)
 3. black myrobalan (ihlllaj aswad)
 4. seeds of purging cassia (lubb al-khiyarshanbar)
 5. tamarind (tamr hindl)
 6. belleric myrobalan (balilaj)
 7. emblic myrobalan (amlaj)
 9. greater (black) cardamom (qaqulla kabir)
13. zedoary (zurunbad)
14. great leopard's bane (darawnaj)
18. tabasheer (tabashlr)
19. betel nut (fawfal)
20. betel pepper leaves (tanbul)
22. harnuwa
26. orange (naranj) (17)
23. little peppercorns (fulayfila)
25. coconut (jawz al-hindi)
26a. lemon (laymun)
28. Semecarpus anacardium (baladhur)
38. sandalwood (sandal)
40. teak (saj)
42. banana/plantain (mawz)
43. cucumber (khiyar)
45. corundum (yaqut)
46. diamond (hajar al-mas)
50. kamala (qanbll)
56. eggplant (badhinjan)
57. mung bean (mash)
60. Cyperus spp. (habb al-zalam)
62. turmeric (kurkum)

II Southeast Asia

 4. seeds of purging cassia (lubb al-khiyarshanbar)
 8. galangal (khulanjan)ls
10. nutmeg (jawzbu)
11. cubeb (kababa)
12. cloves (qaranful)
18. tabasheer (tabashlr)
32. camphor (kafur)
34. ambergris ('canbar)
36. pandanus oil (duhn al-kadhi)
38. sandalwood (sandal)
39. brazilwood (baqqam)

III. China, Central Eurasia, and Northeast Asia

 8. galangal (hulanjan) (19)
33. musk (misk) (20)
44. Khutu (22)
47. bezoar (hajar al-bazahr)
54. rhubarb (ribas) (21)

IV. Southwest Asia and adjacent oceans

15. white behen (bahman abyad)
16. red behen (bahman ahmar)
17. buzidan
21. barberry (amirbans) (24)
24. Primus mahaleb (mahlab)
25. coconut (jawz al-hindl)
27. amaranth (bustan abruz) (25)
29. zarnab
30. jasmine (yasmiri)
31. wild myrtle (khayzuran)
34. ambergris ('anbar)
35. citron oil (duhn al-turunj)
37. dragon's blood (shayyan)
41. mush darabandi
43. cucumber (khiyar) (23)
51. manna (jawzjandum)
52. shajarat al-kaff
53. fishberry Anamirta cocculus (mahlzahra)
55. Lathyrus sativus (julubban)
58. spinach (isfanakh)
59. tarragon (tarkhun)
60. Cyperus spp. (habb al-zalam)
61. wars (wars)

Table 2. Names of Semitic, Greek, or other Near Eastern origin

5. tamr hindi (tamarind)              Ar. ("Indian date")
11. kababa (cubeb)                    Ar.
23 .fulayfila (little pepper)         Ar. filfil ("pepper" in
                                        diminutive) (27)
24. mahlab (Prunus mahaleb)           Ar.
29. zamab (?) (28)                    Ar. (?)
31. khayzuran (wild myrtle)           Ar. or Aramaic (29)
34. 'anbar (ambergris)                Ar. or Somali (30)
45. yaqut (corundum)                  Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
46 hajar al-mas (diamond)             Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
                                        ASCII.] + Ar. hajar ("stone")
48. hajar al-baht (eagle-stone)       Ar.
49. hajar al-khall (vinegar-stone)    Ar.
52. shajarat al-kajf (finger-herb)    Ar.
55. julubban (Lathyrus sativus)       Ar. (?)
59. tarkhun (tarragon)                Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
60. habb al-zalam                     Ar habb ("seed") + zalam (?)
61. wars (wars)                       Ar.
62. kurkum (turmeric)                 Semitic (?) (32)

Table 3. Persian and other Iranian, and words partially formed with
Persian words

Source   Ibn Juljul                 Etymology

4.       khiyarshanbar (purging     MP khiyar (cucumber) (35) +
         cassia)                    MP cambar (circle, hoop) (36)
                                    Cf. NP khiyarcanbar (37)

10.      jawzbu (nutmeg)            MP goz (38) ([waljnut) + boy

13.      zurunbad (zedoary)         NP zurunba and zurunbad38 (39)
                                    (Ar. zadwar)

14.      darunaj (leopard's bane)   MP *dronag, NP darunak (40)

15.      bahman abyad (white        MP wahman (42)
         behen) (41)

16.      bahman ahmar (red behen)   same

17.      buzidan (orchid root) ?

18.      tabashir (tabasheer)       MP *tabag-sir NP tabashlr (44)

21.      amirbarls (barberry)       MP *ambarbaris (45)

22.      hamuwa (fruit of aloes-    MP *harbuwand
         wood) (?)                  Cf. also Syriac harnuwah
                                    or harnuh (voweling
                                    unknown) (46)

25.      jawz al-hindl (coconut)    MP goz (nut) (MP goz-i

27.      bustan abraz (Celosia)     MP boyestan abroz 48

30.      yasamin (jasmine)          MP yasman/yasaman/
                                    yasminl yasimin (50)
                                    MMP j'smn (51)

33.      misk (musk)                MP musk

37.      shayyan (dragon's blood)   NP shayyan

39.      baqqam (sappanwood)        NP baqqam, bakam

43.      khiyar (cucumber)          MP xiyar

47.      hajar al-bazahr (bezoar)   MP padzahr

51.      jawzjandum (manna)         MP gaz (tamarisk) +
                                    gandum (wheat)

53.      mahizahra (fishberry)      MP mah (fish) +
                                    zahr (poison)

54.      ribas (rhubarb)            MP rewas\ NP ribas

58.      isfanakh (spinach)         NP isfanakh

Source   Persian

4.       al-Harawi, 132-33:

10.      al-Harawi, 94: jawzibuwwa

13.      al-Harawi, 172-73: zurunbad

14.      al-Harawi, 157: darunaj

15.      al-Harawi, 66: bahman


17.      al-Harawi, 66: buzidan

18.      al-Harawi, 220: tabashir

21.      al-Harawi, 9: anbarbiris

22.      al-Harawi, 343: harbuwand (47)

25.      Husraw, ([section]) 50

27.      Bundahisn, 16a2 (49)

30.      Husraw, ([section][section]) 69, 93
         Bundahisn, 16.13 (52)

33.      Bundahisn, 13.21 (53)

37.      No early reference (54)

39.      Minuchihri (eleventh
         century) (55)

43.      Husraw, ([section]) 45 (56)

47.      Denkard, 3.335 (57)

51.      al-Harawi, 93

53.      al-Harawi, 327

54.      Bundahisn, 14.6;
         al-Harawi, 163

58.      al-Harawi, 8-9

Table 4. Words that passed through Persian from India and elsewhere

Ibn Juljul                         Persian form

 1. halilaj asfar (chebulic        MP halilag (67)

 2. ihlilaj kabuh                  (derived from halilag; the
    (Kabuli myrobalan)             Arabic spelling is usually halilaj
                                   in this compound)

 3. ihlilaj aswad                  (as above)
    (black myrobalan)

 6. balilaj (beleric myrobalan)    MP *balilag (69)

 7. amlaj (emblic myrobalan)       MP *amalag (71)

 9. qaqulla (cardamom)             MP kakulag (73)

 8. khulanjan (galangal)           MP *xwalinmhan (75) (?)

19. fawfal (betel nut)             NP pupal (77)

20. tanbul (betel pepper leaf)     NP tanbul (79)

26. naranj (orange)                NP narang (81)

28. baladhur (Semecarpus           MP baladur (83)

32. kajur (camphor)                MP kapur (85)

35. [duhn al-]turunj (citron       MP wadrang; NP turunj;
    toil])                         utrunj (87)

36. [duhn al-]kadhi (Pandanus      MP kedag (89)

38. sandal (sandalwood)            MP canda (91)

44. khutu (horn)93 94              NP khutu

56. badhinjan (eggplant)           MP. *badingan (94) NP badinjan,

Ibn Juljul                         Etymology

 1. halilaj asfar (chebulic        Skt. Haritakah (68)

 2. ihlilaj kabuh
    (Kabuli myrobalan)

 3. ihlilaj aswad
    (black myrobalan)

 6. balilaj (beleric myrobalan)    see above or Skt. vibludakah
                                   via Prakrit ? (70)

 7. amlaj (emblic myrobalan)       Skt. amala (72)

 9. qaqulla (cardamom)             Skt. Kakkolah (74)

 8. khulanjan (galangal)           Skt. Kulanjah (76)

19. fawfal (betel nut)             Skt. pugiphalam or pugaphala,
                                   via Prakrit (78)

20. tanbul (betel pepper leaf)     Skt. Tambulam (80)

26. naranj (orange)                Skt. Narangah (82)

28. baladhur (Semecarpus           Skt. bhallatah, bhallataka (84)

32. kajur (camphor)                Skt. karpurah, ultimately from
                                   Proto-Austronesian (86)

35. [duhn al-]turunj (citron       Skt. Matuluhga (88)

36. [duhn al-]kadhi (Pandanus      Dravidian, cf. Tulu kedai, Tam.
    [oil])                         kaitai, etc. (90)

38. sandal (sandalwood)            Skt. Candanah (92)

44. khutu (horn)93 94              Ch. guduo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
                                   IN ASCII.], ultimately Kitan

56. badhinjan (eggplant)           Skt. Vatinganah (95)

Table 5. Uncertain path or borrowed directly into Arabic

Ibn Juljul                    Notes

12. qaranful (clove)          Borrowed into Persian from
                              Arabic (?)

26a. limun (lemon)            (tenth century via Sind)

40. saj (teak)                NP saj (102)

42. mawz (banana)             NP muz; Ar mawz (104)

50. qanbll ("kamala") (105)
    Mallotus philippensis

57. mash (mung bean) Vigna    NP mash (106)

Ibn Juljul                    Etymology

12. qaranful (clove)          Dravidian, cf. Tamil kirampu,
                              etc. (100)

26a. limun (lemon)            Skt. nimbii; vernaculars
                              some-times begin with l (101)

40. saj (teak)                Skt. sakah, Pali saka (103)

42. mawz (banana)             Skt. mocah and Pali moca

50. qanbll ("kamala") (105)   Skt. kamalam
    Mallotus philippensis

57. mash (mung bean) Vigna    Skt. Masa (107)

Table 6. Substances from Ibn Juljul attested in Middle Persian texts

           Arabic                      Middle Persian

l.,2.,3.   halllaj (myrobalan)         halilag

9.         qaqullah (cardamom)         kakolag

25.        jawz. al-hindi (coconut)    MP. goz (nut) + Ar. Hindi
                                       (= MP goz-i hindug)

25a.       narajil, anargil            anargil/anargel

27.        bustan abruz (amaranth)     boyestan abroz

28.        baladhur (Semecarpus        baladur

30.        yasamin (jasmine)           yasimin/ yasman

33.        misk (musk)                 musk

34.        canbar (ambergris)          ambar

32.        kafar (camphor)             kapur

35.        [duhn al-]turunj            wadrang

36.        [duhn al-]kadhi (Pandanus   ketig
           [oil])                      kedag

38.        sandal (sandalwood)         candal

43.        khiyar (cucumber)           xiyar

47.        [hajar al-]bazahr           padzahr

54.        ribas (rhubarb)             rewas

62.        kurkum (turmeric)           kurkum

           Arabic                      Source

l.,2.,3.   halllaj (myrobalan)         Hus raw, ([section][section])
                                       45, 46 Denkard, 3.157 (110)

9.         qaqullah (cardamom)         Bundahisn, 16.21 (111)

25.        jawz. al-hindi (coconut)    Husraw, ([section]) 50

25a.       narajil, anargil            Bundahisn, 16.26 (112)
           (coconut)                   Husraw, ([section]) 50

27.        bustan abruz (amaranth)     Bundahisn, 16a.2 (113)

28.        baladhur (Semecarpus        Bundahisn, 16.2 (114)
           anacardium)                 Denkard, 3.157 (115)

30.        yasamin (jasmine)           Husraw, ([section][section])
                                       69, 93 Bundahisn, 16.13;
                                       16a2 (116)

33.        misk (musk)                 Bundahisn, 13.21 (117)

34.        canbar (ambergris)          Bundahisn, 24d21 (118)

32.        kafar (camphor)             Husraw, ([section]) 76
                                       Bundahisn, 16.21 (119)

35.        [duhn al-]turunj            Husraw, ([section]) 45
                                       Bundahisn, 16.9, etc. (120)

36.        [duhn al-]kadhi (Pandanus   Husraw, ([section]) 71 (121)
           [oil])                      Bundahisn, 16.13 (122)

38.        sandal (sandalwood)         Bundahisn, 16.21 (123)

43.        khiyar (cucumber)           Husraw, ([section]) 45

47.        [hajar al-]bazahr           Denkard, 3.335

54.        ribas (rhubarb)             Bundahisn, 14.6, etc. (124)

62.        kurkum (turmeric)           Bundahisn, 16.13 (125)

Table 7. Syriac Forms of the Middle Persian Names in Table 6

           Arabic                           Middle Persian

1.,2.,3.   halilaj (myrobalan)              halllag

9.         qaqullah (cardamom)              kakulag

25.        jawz al-hindi (coconut)          MP. goz (nut) + Ar. Hindi
                                            (= MP goz-I hindug)

25a.       narajil, anargil                 anargil

27.        bustan abruz (amaranth)          bostan afroz

28.        baladhur (Semecarpus             baladur

30.        yasamin (jasmine)                yasaman

33.        misk (musk)                      musk

34.        canbar (ambergris)               ambar

35.        [duhn al-]turunj (citron oil)    wadrang

32.        kafur (camphor)                  kapur

36.        [iduhn al-]kadhi (Pandanus       kedag

38.        sandal (sandalwood)              candal

43.        khiyar (cucumber)                xiyar

54.        ribas (rhubarb)                  rewas

62.        kurkum (turmeric)                kurkum

           Arabic                           Syriac

1.,2.,3.   halilaj (myrobalan)              hlylq'

9.         qaqullah (cardamom)              qqwlg (129)

25.        jawz al-hindi (coconut)          [gwz]

25a.       narajil, anargil                 nrgyl

27.        bustan abruz (amaranth)          [bwstn']

28.        baladhur (Semecarpus             bldwr

30.        yasamin (jasmine)                ysm'

33.        misk (musk)                      mwsk

34.        canbar (ambergris)               'mbr

35.        [duhn al-]turunj (citron oil)    'trwg'

32.        kafur (camphor)                  k'pwr/kpwr/kpwr (130)

36.        [iduhn al-]kadhi (Pandanus       --

38.        sandal (sandalwood)              sndl

43.        khiyar (cucumber)                kyr (131)

54.        ribas (rhubarb)                  rybs

62.        kurkum (turmeric)                kwrkm'

Table 8. Substances attested in non-Persian pre-Islamic texts

       Substance     Source (century)

8.     galangal      Aetius (sixth) (133)

12.    clove         ImnP al-Qays (sixth), (134) Anthimus
                     (sixth), (135) Cosmas (sixth) (136)

13.    zedoary (?)   Aetius (sixth)? (137)

25a.   coconut       Cosmas (sixth) (138)

28.    Semecarpus    Alexander of Tralles (sixth) (139)

30.    jasmine       Imru' al-Qays (sixth) (140)
                     al-A'sha (d. 5/625)

32.    camphor       Aetius (sixth), (142) Arabic poetry (sixth) (143)

33.    musk          Jerome (fifth), (144) Arabic doc. (third?) ((145)

34.    ambergris     Aetius (sixth), (146) 'Urwa b. al-Ward
                     (sixth) (147)

35.    citron        Known in antiquity (148)

38.    sandalwood    Cosmas (sixth) (149)

40.    saj           Periplus Maris Erythraei (first) (150)

54.    ribas         Dioscorides (first) (151)

55.    L. sativus    Known in antiquity (153)

61.    wars          pre-Islamic poetry, hadith (154)

       Substance     Name

8.     galangal      Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

12.    clove         At. qaranful
                     L. cariofilus
                     Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

13.    zedoary (?)   zador (?)

25a.   coconut       Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

28.    Semecarpus    Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

30.    jasmine       Ar. zanbaq
                     Ar. yasmun, yasmin (141)

32.    camphor       Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]; Ar. kafur

33.    musk          L. museus', Ar. 'mskn

34.    ambergris     Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]; Ar. 'anbar

35.    citron

38.    sandalwood    Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

40.    saj           Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

54.    ribas         Gk. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (152)

55.    L. sativus

61.    wars          Ar. wars
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Date:Jul 1, 2015
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