ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian plants: Pomegranate
Main menu Main Index and Search Page History List of Dynasties Cultural chronology Mythology Aspects of Life in Ancient Egypt Glossary of ancient Egyptian terms Herodotus on the pharaohs Ancient Egyptian texts Apologia and Bibliography

Printout
  For best results save the whole webpage (pictures included) onto your hard disk, open the page with Word 97 or higher, edit if necessary and print.
  Printing using the browser's print function is not recommended.

-

Pomegranate

Pomegranate-     The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), a shallow-rooted shrublike tree bearing hard-rinded yellow fruit full of innumerable fleshy seeds, was introduced into Egypt during the early New Kingdom, possibly by Thutmose III. In Egyptian it was known by semitic loanwords, jnhmn or nhm, pointing to its probable origin in south-west Asia.
    The red seeds were a delicacy. An officer wrote to the Horus priest Panedjem in Edfu
As follows: I have sent (written) to you that you order 20 pomegranates to be brought to me and to make the messenger set out without delay to fetch them from the orchard, in a hurry.
After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website, I. Hafemann (ed.). Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Briefe => Briefe des Neuen Reiches und der Dritten Zwischenzeit => Verwaltung/Alltag => Briefe aus Theben => Briefe des Deir el-Medina Corpus (Auswahl) => pBM EA 75023 (Bankes) => Brief von Iqener(?) an Pa-nedjem
    Apart from being eaten raw, the juice of the fruit was possibly extracted, let to ferment and drunk as a fruit wine.[2] [4] The rind of the fruit was used for dying leather yellow. The scarlet flowers were appreciated by gardeners and bound into bouquets for offerings. Papyrus Ebers contains recipes with parts of the tree administered for belly complaints: roots let to steep in water rid the body of roundworm.
    The fruit was associated with sexuality. Its form inspired artisans to decorate implements with it; wooden hairpins for instance might have pomegranate-shaped terminals. [1] They are also mentioned in literature. A love poem contains the following lines: [3]
The pomegranate opens its mouth to say,
"My seeds are like her teeth, my fruits are like her breasts.
I am the foremost in the orchard, for I endure through every season.
The sister spends the day with the brother under my branches,
drunk with grape and pomegranate wine..."

Bibliography:
Anne K. Capel, Glenn Markoe, Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven, Hudson Hills, 1996
A. Lucas, J. R. Harris Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Histories and Mysteries of Mankind, London 1989
Lise Manniche, An ancient Egyptian herbal, University of Texas Press, 1989, pp.139f.
Lise Manniche, Sexual life in ancient Egypt, Routledge, 1987
Ian Shaw, Paul Nicholson, The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, The British Museum Press 1995
 
Footnotes:
[1] Capel & Markoe, 1996, p.75
[2] Lucas & Harris, pp.23f.
[3] Manniche 1987, p.83
[4] Shaw & Nicholson 1995, p.23
 

 
 
 -Home
-Index of Topics
-Ancient Egyptian Botanical
© 2002

CSE xhtml validated
-