[Sca-cooks] Sugar and slaves

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Jan 3 11:55:49 PST 2007

On Jan 3, 2007, at 12:34 PM, Suey wrote:

> jenne at practicality wrote:
> "Slavery was uncommon, but not unknown.  In 1434, the Portuguese  
> introduced
> African slaves into Europe."
>     Someone else insinuated slavery practically ended in the 12th
> Century. I suppose we did not have emancipations of slavery until the
> 19th century in several European countries due to the fact court  
> systems
> around here are a little slow. . .

We have been known to be a little Anglo-centric, which could lead to  
some logical pitfalls, but I gather that in general, slavery was  
tolerated by European countries under some rather controlled  
circumstances past a certain point in the Middle Ages, and these  
circumstances certainly seem not to include slavery being an everyday  
economic expedient to the point where people living in population  
centers (say, a medieval town or a manor) owned actual slaves. There  
were serfs living in various forms of bonded obligation, but that's  
not the same as having slaves running your sugar plantation that  
isn't in your home country. There is also a fair amount of stress on  
people being free, but, again, this is not necessarily in  
juxtaposition to slavery.

>     I give up! Ok Romans did not exist, Romans did not have slaves,  
> they
> did not take them to their domains in their Empire

As far as I know, they did all of these things.

> nor did they find
> sugar in Egypt which they cultivated from the 3,000 B.C but then of
> course Egyptians did not exist either.

<shrug> You'd think they would have known about sugar, but Pliny  
_does_ assert that the people of Hind had this curious habit of  
making honey from reeds. Certainly sugar isn't mentioned by Cato,  
Apicius, or Columella, as best as I can recall.

>   Romans introduced nothing to
> Europe. Arabs did not invade Spain in 711 nor did they dominate  
> Spain or
> contribute anything to it for 700 years. As they did not have slaves
> they never thought of importing African slaves to cultivate  
> sugarcane in
> Andalusia by the 9th Century nor did they export slaves to any  
> European
> lord north of the Pyrenees. Sugar did not exist until the 12th and  
> then
> only in Cyprus although it originated in China because the English did
> not import sugar from the Canaries or Madeira from the Spanish. New
> Guinea did not exist in 7,000 B.C. so sugar could not have originated
> there.  Elizabeth I and all English countrymen in her era had 48  
> lbs per
> person per year, sure thing. . .

I don't think you'd be able to quote anyone who said, at any time on  
this list, any of the above. I know that I specifically mentioned one  
reference for Elizabeth and her countrymen averaging a total  
consumption of approximately one pound per year, and in spite of  
Elizabeth's mostly-16th-century reign perhaps not being typically  
medieval, it was mentioned specifically because your prior claim of  
[I think] half a teaspoon per person per week seemed like it might be  
an exaggerated manipulation of data.

>     Yes, that seems to be what google is feeding you.

Google is not feeding anyone any of this, as far as I know. Hillary  
Spurling and C. Anne Wilson, Pliny the Elder, etc., don't work for  
Google. Rather, most of what we're being fed is coming either from  
the very same, specific sources you mentioned, or others as good or  
better, and they don't seem to fully support what you're saying. I  
don't think anyone is claiming to be the world's foremost authority  
on this subject, but most of us _are_ reasonably capable of  
determining whether or not you've made an effective case for a  
statement you chose, voluntarily, to make.

> Google is good for
> some things but in this area it displays such total ignorance that the
> subject is not worthy of debate considering   manuscripts,  
> professional
> analogies and other reliable sources available.
> Susan

Well, it's kind of unfortunate if we've all read the same exchange  
and this is how you're interpreting it. I did not see any special  
reliance on Google for data, and you don't seem to be addressing some  
of the questions about the sources you've used or made anecdotal  
references to, and that does make it somewhat difficult to proceed on  


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