[Sca-cooks] maize and cubits

Sharon Palmer ranvaig at columbus.rr.com
Sat Nov 28 02:32:06 PST 2009

>Back on September 1, Bear said:
><<< Leonard Fuchs refers to maize as Turkische Ko:rn in his herbal 
>around 1543,
>but the best evidence is from Leonard Rauwolf who traveled between Tripoli
>and Baghdad in 1573-75.  Along the Euphrates, Rauwolf observed, "Indian
>millet (maize) six, seven or eight cubits high."
>Bear >>>
>Something doesn't seem right here. Looking up the length of a 
>"cubit" on the web I get varying measurements, but they range from 
>"about 17 to 22 inches (43 to 56 centimeters)". Even assuming a 
>conservative number of 17 inches that makes the shortest "Indian 
>millet (maize) 102 inches or 8.5 feet tall and the taller up to 136 
>inches or 11.3 feet tall.
>I know we've been breeding maize to be shorter and thus easier to 
>harvest, but these numbers seem awfully tall.

Why assume they were looking at maize and not millet?  A number of 
varieties of millet were used in India since ancient times.  I'm not 
familiar with growing millet, but I found a reference that says it 
can be up to 4 meters tall.  On the other hand, someone seeing maize 
for the first time might easily think it looked like millet.


More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list