[Sca-cooks] maize and cubits

t.d.decker at att.net t.d.decker at att.net
Sat Nov 28 06:00:42 PST 2009

-------------- Original message from Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>: -------------- 

> 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. 
> Stefan 

The cubit is the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger.  Maybe Rauwulf had short forearms.

What I suspect is that Rauwulf estimated the height rather than actually measured.  Most people tend to overestimate lengths, heights, etc.


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