CANNABIS CULTURE –  Nepenthe was an historical natural infused wine, that seems in Homer’s well-known story The Odyssey. Its use to quell grief in a funerary setting has prompted many researchers to establish it with hashish.

The Odyssey of Homer (Ninth-Eighth century BC) describes the Nepenthes which got here to the Greeks from Egyptian Thebes:

“Then Helen, daughter of Zeus… forged a drug into the wine whereof they drank, a drug to lull all ache and anger, and convey forgetfullness of each sorrow. Whoso ought to drink a draught thereof, when it’s mingled within the bowl, on that day he would let no tear fall down his cheeks, not although his mom and his father died, not although males slew his brother or pricey son with the sword earlier than his face, and his personal eyes beheld it. Medicines of such advantage and so useful had the daughter of Zeus, which Polydamna, the spouse of Thon, had given her, a lady of Egypt, the place earth the grain-giver yields herbs in biggest loads, many which can be therapeutic within the cup, and lots of baneful. There every man is a leech expert past all human variety…”

The historian Diodorus Siculus, who lived within the 1st century B.C., famous that also in his time, greater than 7 centuries after the composition of Homer’s Iliad, “individuals say that the Egyptian ladies make use of the powder (of this plant, scil. the nepenthes) they usually say from historical occasions solely these ladies who lived within the ‘City-of-Zeus’ [i.e. Thebes, which was also known as Diospolis] had discovered medicines which remedy wrath and grief” (1, 97, 1-9; Eus. PE 10, 8, 9-12; cf. additionally Ps.Iustinus, Cohort. advert gent. 26e).

As Prof Carl Ruck has famous “It’s usually assumed that the drug, which Helen is meant to have realized in Egypt, was opium, however the results as described within the poem are way more like Hashish, which was additionally broadly employed in Egypt and all through the Close to East” (Ruck, et al., 2007). Quite a few researchers have seen nepenthe as a hashish concoction. An concept first put forth by the French Pharmacist Joseph Virey (1775—1846) who urged in 1813 that hasheesh was Homer’s nepenthe (Bulletin de Pharmacie). Many others have since concurred: “The opinions entertained by the realized, on the character of the Nepenthe of the ancients have been numerous. By Th. Zwinger, and… by Sprengel, in his historical past of botany, it’s imagined to be opium… However the most effective authorities, with whom our creator coincides, are of opinion that the Nepenthe was derived from the Hashish sativa of Linnaeus” (Christen, 1822); “the well-known nepenthe of the ancients is alleged to have been ready by decocting the hemp leaves” (Watt, 1853); “nepenthe which can moderately be surmised was bhang from the far east” (Benjamin, 1880). Because the authors of The Manners and Customs of the Historic Egyptians additionally concluded: “Nepenthes… Maybe the Bust or Hasheesh, a preparation of the Hashish sativa” (Wilkinson & Birch, 1878). See additionally (Walton, 1938; Burton, 1894; Lewin, 1931; Singer and Underwood, 1962; Oursler, 1968; Wills, 1998). It’s clearly the Nepenthe that Prof Richard Evans Schultes and Prof. Albert Hofmann are referring to once they wrote in a chapter on hashish “In historical Thebes the plant was made right into a drink with opium like results” (Schultes & Hofmann, 1979).

Coptic amphorae from Sˇaruma, which held black natural residues inside containing the pollen of hashish.

In A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Phrases and Phrases, Yuletide and Crooke word an attention-grabbing connection between a Coptic (Greek-Egyptian) time period and the nepenthe; “Bhang is often derived from Skt. Bhanga, ‘breaking,’ however [Sir Richard] Burton derives each it and the Ar. Banj from the outdated Coptic Nibanj, ‘that means a preparation of hemp; and right here it’s simple to acknowledge the Homeric Nepenthe’” (Yuletide, et al., 1903/1996). As Abram Smythe Palmer additionally notes in Folks-etymology: “Nepenthe, the drug which Helen introduced from Egypt, is doubtless the Coptic nibendj, which is the plural of bendj, or benj, hemp, ‘bang,’ used as an intoxicant” (Palmer, 1882). When one returns to the up to date Avestan time period for hashish, b’aŋ’ha, the similarity on this context, ne- b’aŋ’ha, brings us to an excellent nearer to the cognate pronunciation ‘nepenthe.’

One may word a similarity to the Indian time period ‘panga,’ which refers to a paste constructed from pounded hashish leaves blended with water (Watt, 1908). (It must be famous that by the point the pyramids have been constructed, there had already been giant cities in India’s Mohenjodaran-Harappan in India, [geographically close to Mesopotamia and Scythian southwest Asia], for some centuries). The Hebrew time period ‘pannag,’ which Dr. Raphael Mechoulam believes identifies a preparation of hashish (Mechoulam, et al., 1991) can also be similiar. Curiously, as nepenthe was a powder it’s notable that each of those phrases are believed to establish ready types of hashish as properly.

“At this place the Institute of Egyptology of the College of Tubingen is excavating a graveyard which was used from the sixth Dynasty till the Roman interval… Right here some wine amphorae have been excavated, from the underside of which we obtained samples of natural materials for pollen analytical investigations…. The helpful vegetation, Cerealia and Humulus/Hashish have been current.” (Rosch, 2004)

Nonetheless it must be famous that the samples remoted within the “black natural residues inside containing pollen” discovered on the backside of the amphora, may point out what was rising within the space, and characterize issues caught within the air, so at this level not conclusive proof of an Egyptian hashish infused wine. “Taking into consideration the low pollen focus and the composition with a excessive quantity of airborne pollen, we suppose that a big a part of the pollen content material displays contamination of the amphora throughout its filling or opening.”

Function Picture: Homer Odyssey Bk IV: Helen mixes wine w/ an “anti-sorrow drug” or νηπενθές [nepenthes], a pharmakon “that stilled all ache, quieted all anger & introduced forgetfulness of each in poor health” after seeing Menelaus,Telemachus & Nestor’s son Peisistratus weeping over the useless of the Trojan Conflict.