[Sca-cooks] Mint Water
t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jun 3 20:58:45 PDT 2007
> Terry Decker wrote:
>> Since mint derives from Old German probably from the Latin, menta, . .
>> .likely that
>> the Legions brought mint to England.
> My earliest reference to mint is in the Bible: Luke 11:42 "But woe to
> you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass
> justice and the love of God." As it is so commonly recorded,
> henceforth, not only by Pliny and Apicius but elsewhere I would hesitate
> to state that the Romans took it anywhere. I think it was just there
> throughout Europe.
The question was specifically about mint in Medieval Europe, so the biblical
reference has no particular validity in the response. The writings of the
Romans and the etymology of the word mint suggest that it was known in
Medieval Europe, which has been confirmed by a recipe calling for it.
I did say it was likely that the Romans brought the plant to England. You
seem to assume that I meant that the Romans spread it all over the Empire,
which was not what was stated. The Gospel of Luke is presumably a late-1st
Century text. Cato, who mentions mint in his writings, predates Luke by
almost 300 years. Pliny and Martial are contemporaneous with Luke. And, I
don't recall a mention of mint in Apicius, but I haven't checked as the text
is either 1st or 5th Century, depending on your opinions of the dates. The
facts presented here can not confirm or deny whether the Romans spread mint
over the Empire.
I suspect that mint in its many species and varieties was ubiquitous in the
Mediterranean Basin in Antiquity and that it's use was not confined to one
time, one culture, or one place. The derivation of mint from the Latin
suggests that the use, if not the plant, was introduced to the Germanic
tribes by the Romans, but without more evidence, that is an unproven
contention. Based on the physical isolation of the British Isles, the
introduction of other food stuffs by the Romans, and a lack of references to
mint prior to the Romans, the introduction of mint to England by way of the
Legions is a reasonable conjecture.
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