Geuz endi

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Geuz endi arabice nux indica magna est in duplici cortice in uno filtroso et alio durissimo quo quidam pocula faciunt.


Geuz (-uʒ jep) B ejp | Geum AC {“long ʒ” misinterpreted as “sideways m”} | Geura f {‘m’ misread as ‘ra’?}
indica | indiaca f
est om. j
duplici | dupplici p
filtroso | filtrosso f
faciunt | fatiũt j


Geuz endi is Arabic for Latin nux indica {lit. "Indian nut", i.e. "coconut"}. It is large and in a double covering with one layer being felt-like {i.e. the fibrous husk} and the other layer is a very hard shell so that some people use these as goblets.


Geuz endi:
Wehr (1976): ﺟﻮﺯ /ğauz/ "walnut". ﺟﻮﺯ ﺍﻟﻬﻨﺪ /ğauz al-hind/; ﺟﻮﺯ ﻫﻨﺪﻯ /ğauz hindiy/ "coconut(s)". Siggel (1950: 27): ﺟﻮﺯ ﻫﻨﺪﻯ /ğauz hindiy/, ﺟﻮﺯ ﺍﻟﻬﻨﺪ /ğauz al-hind/ Fr. v. Cocus nucifera, Kokosnuß {i.e. "fruit of Cocus nucifera, coconut"}.

Botanical and distributional data:

Botanically Cocus nucifera L. is a member of the palm family {Arecaceae), growing up to 30 meters. Its fruit, the coconut is - seen botanically - not a nut but classed as a drupe. The tree grows in tropical regions, which have both warm conditions and regular rainfall.

C. nucifera L. has its origin around the rim of the western Pacific. Recent research has established that there are two genetically distinct groups, which seem to point to two separate domestication attempts, one, the earliest, between Malaysia and New Guinea reaching back several thousand years, and the other along the south coast of India, approximately 3000 years ago. Their distribution today covers most tropical areas due to the light, buoyant and water resistant nature of the fruit that is carried along marine currents. But their distribution also seems to flank early human migration patterns, which must reflect the fact that they were deliberately carried along by sea-faring settlers and traders, and they were planted serving them for food, water and many other purposes like cooking oil, fuel, etc.

Earliest mention :

The earliest mention of the coconut in European literature is by Cosmas Indicopleustes, Greek: Κοσμᾶς Ἰνδικοπλεύστης, the 6th century Egyptian monk, who traveled to India. Here is his report:

Argellia----The Narikela of Sanskrit----Cocoa-nuts. The other tree [represented] bears what are called argellia, that is, the large Indian nuts. It differs nothing from the date-palm, except that it is of greater height and thickness and has larger fronds. It bears not more than two or three flower-spathes, each bearing three nuts. Their taste is sweet and very pleasant, like that of green nuts. The nut is at first full of a very sweet water which the Indians drink, using it instead of wine. This delicious drink is called rhongcosura. If the fruit is gathered ripe and kept, then the water gradually turns solid on the shell, while the water left in the middle remains fluid, until of it also there is nothing left over. If however it be kept too long the concretion on the shell becomes rancid and unfit to be eaten.

From Book XI, A description of Indian Animals, and of the Island of Taprobane. ed. McCrinde (1897: 362).

The coconut is also mentioned by Marco Polo in 1280 named "Indian nut" - nux indica, obviously translated from the Arabic ﻯﺪﻨﻬ ﺯﻮﺠ /ğauz hindiy/, the name that Simon also uses. Here is Marco Polo's report:

They have also great quantities of Indian nuts [as big as a man's head], which are good to eat when fresh; being sweet and savoury, and white as milk. The inside of the meat of the nut is filled with a liquor like clear fresh water, but better to the taste, and more delicate than wine or any other drink that ever existed.

From: The Travels of Marco Polo (1993: II) Book 3, THE KINGDOMS OF SAMARA AND DAGROIAN. Chapter X.

More recent history:

The Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and Europe either do not offer the rainfall pattern or the warmth the plant requires. But Arab traders, who had established a trading network with India and much of southern Asia from the 4th century onwards, made coconuts some part of their trade. However coconuts were not common in Europe during the Middle Ages, and it was only the Portuguese and Spanish voyages of discovery of the 15th and 16th centuries and the subsequent transplanting of C. nucifera to the New World that made them more easily available in Europe.

WilfGunther 02/04/2014

See also: Neregil

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