Bakle alieudi

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Bakle alieudi .i. olus iudaicum exponit Avicenna quod est herbum sive orobum.


Bakle ABCD f | Balke vel bakle e

alieudi B | aliendi C e | aliende f | aliẽdi AD {'u' upside down > 'n'}

herebum ACD e | herbũ B | herbum f


Arabic Bakle alieudi, in Latin olus iudaicum {(lit.) "Jew’s vegetable"} is explained in Avicenna as herbum or orobum.

Commentary and botanical identification:

Siggel (1950: 21): ﺑﻗﻠﺔ ﻳﻬﻮﺩﻳﺔ /baqla yahūdīya/ = ﻗﺮﺼﻌﻨﺔ /qirṣaʕnah/, and (1950: 58): ﻗﺮﺼﻌﻨﺔ /qirṣaʕna/, ﻛﺮﺳﻌﻨﺔ /karsaʕanna/ e. Eryngium (Umb.) {i.e. an Eryngium species}.

However the Latin and Greek translations point to a different plant: Cf. Lewis & Short (1879): "a kind of pulse, the bitter vetch, ervum ervilia, Linn." Ervum ervilia L., syn. Vicia ervilia (L.) Willd. "bitter vetch", and ὄροβος /órobos/ id.

The wild strains of bitter vetch [[1]] are found in Anatolia and parts of the Middle East. The pulse belongs to the eight Neolithic founder crops and has been cultivated ever since, today mainly restricted to Morocco, Spain and Turkey.

Bitter vetch grain is used as fodder, and Dioscorides Longobardus, 2, 91, ed. Stadler (1899: 215), De herbo, states explicitly: Elixus et datus vobes pinguescere facit - "Boiled and administered it makes oxen fat". He also mentions its use in medicine. As for human consumption, due to their extreme bitterness the grains must first be processed. Split, when they resemble red lentils, and leached by several changes of boiling water they were mainly eaten during famine years.

Ervum - ὄροβος /órobos/ was known to the botano-medical authors of antiquity, but in their descriptions occasional confusion with lentil, other vetches and chickpea is likely to have occurred.

Wilf Gunther 02/12/2014

See also: Erbum

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