[Sca-cooks] maize and cubits

t.d.decker at att.net t.d.decker at att.net
Sun Nov 29 07:17:52 PST 2009

> My memory is that _Maize in the Great Herbals_, by Finan, says that 
> Maize was called Indian corn not because of the Amerind connection 
> but because it was misidentified with an Indian corn described by 
> Pliny. I have no idea if that was a variety of millet or not. 
> -- 
> David/Cariadoc 

A lot of the problem is Columbus identifying the Caribbean islands with the islands off Asia and the question of how soon people were differentiating between the New and Old Worlds.

I have encountered Pliny's quote and that his Indian Corn is usually identified as a type of millet, but it and some Indian (sub-continent) carvings and paintings are used by Diffusionists to "prove" that maize arrived in the Old World before Columbus.  I think it was probably a type of millet.  While I haven't found any contemporary linkage between Pliny and New World corn, I'm quite willing to take Finan's comment at face value until disproven.

Just to add to the fun, there was apparently a botanical report that a plant native to China was a form of maize.  Outside of hearing about this report, I haven't located much on the subject.


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