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Bisbese arabice macis Stephanus bisbasse scripsit.


Whole entry missing in p
Bisbese ABC fj | Biscege ms. e
bisbasse AC | bisbase B fj | bisbage e


Bisbese is Arabic for Latin macis {"the spice mace"}; Stephanus writes bisbasse.


Cf. Wehr (1976): ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺱ /basbās/, ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺳﺔ /basbāsa/ (eg.) "mace"; (maghr.) "fennel". Siggel (1950: 20): ﺑﺰﺑﺎﺯﺓ /bazbāza = ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺳﺔ /basbāsa/ ibid. ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺳﺔ /basbāsa/ Macis, Samenschale der Muskatnuß, Fr. v. Myristica fragrans Houtt.{"thickened coat of the nutmeg seed"}.

N.B. In the western part of the Arabic speaking world the meaning of this word is "fennel", as Siggel points out.

A vocalisation closer to Simon’s form Bisbese is found in Dozy (1887-81: I.83), s.v. ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺱ /basbās/ who states for /bisbās/ that "fenouil" is found “au Maghrib et en Espagne {'fennel, in the Maghbrib and in Spain'}" and he quotes as his sources the Glossarium Latino-Arabicum, Seybold (1900: 192), s.v. fenuclum [[1]] as well as Seybold (1900: 306) maratro [[2]];
the Vocabulista vocabulary/dictionary: ed. Schiaparelli (1871: 37): ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺱ /bisbās/ Feniculum [[3]]; ed. Schiaparelli (1871: 386): FENICULUM ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺱ ﻭﺑﺴﺑﺎﺳﺔ /bisbās wa- bisbāsa/ - ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺳﺔ /bisbāsa/ is the nomen unitatis, i.e. “one fennel” [[4]];
and finally Pedro de Alcalá (1883: 275) with a similar vocalisation ‘hinojo yerua verde en porreta’ bizbiça, bisbiç {“fennel, green leaves in leek”}: [[5]].

A vocalisation /bisbās/ is also recorded in Karbstein (2002: 70), but with the meaning "mace", s.v. Macis, Muskatblütenrinde {i.e. “mace, coat of the nutmeg flower”}, who records the form ﺑﺴﺑﺎﺳﺔ /bisbāssa/ occurring in the Spanish Morisco community in the early 17th c.

For further sources showing the /bisbās/ vocalisation see Corriente 1997: 51 s.v. *(BSBS) I.

Botanical remarks:

The spice mace is made out of the waxy covering of the seeds of nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans Houtt [[6]], [[7]]. This seed covering, called aril or arillus by botanists, is waxy and of a reddish colour. In the drying process it turns orangey or brown. Whole mace is known as 'mace blades'. For culinary use the blades are usually ground to powder. Not surprisingly it has a flavour similar to nutmeg.

WilfGunther 20/10/2013

For further information on nutmeg and the nutmeg tree see Nux miristica.

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