BEES, HONEY AND HEALTH IN ANTIQUITY
AbstractIn antiquity bees and honey had a very special significance. Honey was indeed considered to drip from heaven as the food of the gods. As an infant Zeus was fed on honey in the cave of Dicte, by bees and the beautiful Melissa, whose name became the Greek word for “bee”. When the ancient Romans wished you luck they said “May honey drip on you!” and for the Israelites Palestine was a “land of milk and honey” (Forbes 1957:85-87). In his Georgics Vergil likened the inhabitants of the new Golden Age to an orderly swarm of bees (Johnson 1980:90-105), and the word “honeymoon” probably derived from the ancient custom of newlyweds to drink mead (honey-wine) for a month after their wedding (Hajar 2002:5-6). Allsop and Miller state that even today honey is popularly associated with warmth, nostalgia, goodness and flattery (1996:513-520).In this study the origins of apiculture (bee-keeping) and the status and uses of honey in antiquity are analysed – with emphasis on its assumed value as a health promoting agent.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).