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‘Profits sprout like tropical plants’: a fresh look at what went wrong with the Eurasian spice trade c. 1550–1800

  • Stefan Halikowski Smith (a1)


There has been little in the way of fresh thinking on the Eurasian spice trade since the 1980s, partly due to the crisis in economic history, although recent work has both dealt with the agency of non-European actors and started to take Chinese demand into the equation. Starting with problems specific to the Portuguese re-export trade, this article highlights the role of consumers, using research undertaken on the structures of demand to present a theory of cultural demystification. The Portuguese, it is argued, by opening direct trading links to the sources of supply, broke what amounted to a spell that had sustained the trade from the time of Alexander the Great. In concrete terms, the performance of individual spices is disaggregated, and the appearance of rival pepper products brought under scrutiny. While African peppers failed to consolidate the consumer interest they had generated over the fifteenth century, capsicum peppers rapidly spread to southern Europe, where they were domesticated and hence became invisible to international trade. The success of the capsicum pepper was replicated in West Africa, India, and China.



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1 Lane, Frederic C., ‘The Mediterranean spice trade: further evidence of its revival in the sixteenth century’, American Historical Review, 45, 3, 1940, pp. 581–90; C. H. H. Wake, ‘The changing pattern of Europe’s pepper and spice imports, ca. 1400–1700’, Journal of European Economic History, 8, 1979, pp. 361–403; Niels, Steensgaard, The Asian trade revolution of the seventeenth century: the East India Companies and the decline of the caravan trade, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974; Boxer, C. R., ‘A note on Portuguese reactions to the revival of the Red Sea spice trade and the rise of Atjeh, 1540–1600’, Journal of Southeast Asian History, 10, 3, 1969, pp. 415–28.

2 Subrahmanyam, S., ‘The birth-pangs of Portuguese Asia: revisiting the fateful “Long Decade” 1498–1509’, Journal of Global History, 2, 3, 2007, pp. 261–80.

3 Previous work on the topic includes ‘A question of quality: the commercial contest between Portuguese Atlantic spices and their Venetian Levantine equivalents over the sixteenth century’, Itinerario, 26, 2, 2002, pp. 45–63.

4 Ken Albala asserts that capsicums remained ‘botanical curiosities’ rather than food: Eating right in the Renaissance, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002, p. 236. If this is true for most of northern Europe, then it is simply untrue for southern Europe. Albala uses dieticians and cookery books rather than botanical sources; trading sources are of little use here, as the product was rapidly import substituted.

5 F. Braudel, ‘The Mediterranean economy in the 16th century’. in P. Earle, Essays in European economic history, 1500–1800, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974, p. 17.

6 Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Capitolare Nr. II, fo. 12b; for a foreigner’s impressions, see Letts, M., ed., Pero Tafur: travels and adventures, 1435–1439, London: Routledge, 1926, ch. 20, pp. 163ff.

7 Stefan, Halikowski Smith, Portugal and the European spice trade, 1480–1580, Florence: European University Institute, 2001, Appendix 1; Jorge Pedreira, ‘Costs and financial trends in the Portuguese Empire, 1415–1822’, in D. Ramada Curto and F. Bethencourt, eds., Portuguese oceanic expansion, 1400–1800, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 56, table 2.1.

8 For example, Dietmar, Rothermund, Asian trade and European expansion in the age of mercantilism, New Delhi: Manohar, 1981.

9 Jan Kieniewicz, ‘Pepper gardens and market in precolonial Malabar’, Moyen Orient et Océan Indien, XVIe-XIXe siècles, 3, 1986, pp. 1–36; Boxer, ‘Note on Portuguese reactions’, pp. 418–19.

10 Godinho, V. M., Os descobrimentos e a economia mundial, 4 vols, Lisbon: Presença, 1982–7.

11 Gereffi, G. and Korzeniewicz, M., Commodity chains and global capitalism, Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.

12 Arquivo Nacional do Torre do Tombo (henceforth ANTT), Casa da Feitoria Portuguesa de Antuérpia (henceforth CFPA); Stadsarchief Antwerpen (Archives Communales d’Anvers), Natie van Portugal.

13 S. T. Bindoff, ‘The greatness of Antwerp’, in G. R. Elton, ed., The new Cambridge modern history, vol. II: the Reformation, 1520–1559, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969, p. 68.

14 V. M. Godinho, ‘Flutuações económicas e devir estrutural do século XV ao século XVII’, in Ensaios, vol. II: sobre história de Portugal, Lisbon: Sá da Costa, 1968, p. 189.

15 With regard to 1554, see H. Pohl, ‘Os Portugueses em Antuérpia (1550–1650)’, in E. Stols and J. Everaert, eds., Flandres e Portugal: na confluência de duas culturas, Antwerp: INAPA, 1991, p. 53; the letter patent of 1560 is in CFPA, caixa 3, no. 21 – m. A, no. 3; with respect to 1577, see W. A. Engelbrecht, Esboço das relações históricas entre Portugal e a Holanda, in Congresso do Mundo Português, Lisbon: Bertrand Irmãos, 1949, p. 426; idem, ‘Van’t consulaet van de natie van Portugal’, in Rechten ende Costumen van Antwerpen, Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1582, p. 24.

16 For general estimates regarding the size of the Portuguese community in Antwerp, see Hans Pohl, ‘Os Portugueses em Antuérpia’, in Everaert and Stols, Flandres e Portugal, pp. 61–2 and Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão, ‘A feitoria de Antuérpia’ in História de Portugal (1495–1580), Lisbon: Editorial Verbo, 1980, pp. 330–1 and n. 262. The registre communal is mentioned in Albert de Burbure de Wesembeek, La casa de Portugal d’Anvers, Brussels: Revue ‘Portugal Belgique’, 1953, p. 14; while the 1572 census is dealt with in J. A. Goris, Étude sur les colonies marchandes méridionales (Portugais, Espagnols, Italiens), à Anvers de 1488 à 1567, Louvain: Uystpruyst, 1925, pp. 614–16.

17 Duarte Gomes Solis, Alegación en favor de la Compañia de la India Oriental, commercios ultramarines, que en de nuevo se instituyo en el Reyno de Portugal, Madrid or Lisbon, 1628, vol. 2, p. 230.

18 The decree is reported by Vincenzo Quirini in E. Alberi, ed., Le relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti, Florence: by the author, 1863, p. 13; and by Leonardo da Ca’Masser, ‘Ordenazion del re di Portogallo’, in his Relazione di Leonardo da C.M. alla Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia sopra il commercio dei Portoghesi nell, India dopo la scoperta del Capo di Buona Speranza, n.p., 1845, pp. 29–30.

19 For source elucidation, see Halikowski Smith, Portugal, p. 88.

20 ANTT, CC, pte. I, m. 13, doc. 6. This contract was confirmed by royal alvará, or approval.

21 ANTT, CC pte. I, m. 9, doc. 78.

22 Guicciardini, L., Description de tovts les Pais-Bas autrement appelés la Germanie Inferieure, ov Basse Allemagne, Antwerpen: Plantin, 1582, pp. 495.

23 Halikowski Smith, Portugal, chs. 6 and 7.

24 W. S. Unger, Bronnen tot de geschiedenis van Middelburg in den landsheerlijken tijd, vol. 3, Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatien, 75, The Hague, 1931, no. 477; from Stadsarchief Antwerpen, SchepeNbrieven, no. 139, fo. 120r (no. 3642).

25 Gertrud, Susanna Gramulla, Handelsbeziehungen Kölner Kaufleute zwischen 1500 und 1650, Cologne: Bolau, 1972, p. 336, taken from K. I, II, nr. 701 and Brb. 95, 87.

26 Immanuel, Wallerstein, Modern world-system, vol. 1 (‘Capitalist agriculture and the origins of the European world-economy in the sixteenth century’), New York: Academic Press, 1974.

27 Douglas A. Irwin, ‘Mercantilism as strategic trade policy: the Anglo-Dutch rivalry for the East India trade’, Journal of Political Economy, 99, 6, 1991, pp. 1296–1314.

28 Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino, Lisbon, Índia, papéis avulsos, caixa 1, doc. 61.

29 Letter from Fernando de Morales to Simon Ruiz at Medina del Campo, dated 14 January 1575, in which São Tomé ginger is described as ‘una droga nueva’, in J. Gentil da Silva, ed., Marchandises et finances: lettres de Lisbonne, 1563–1578, vol. 3, Paris: SEVPEN, 1961, p. 4.

30 Brandônio, Diálogos da Grandeza do Brasil, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987, Diálogo 4, p. 221; for the heedlessness paid the order, see Stuart, Schwartz, Sovereignty and society in colonial Brazil, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1973, pp. 158–9.

31 Francisco Carneiro, Relação de todas as rendas da coroa deste Reyno de Portugal (1593), ed. Francisco Mendes da Luz, Boletim da Biblioteca da Universida de Coimbra, 53, 1949, p. 64.

32 Oliveira, Marques, ‘Um preçário de mercadorias e de câmbios de Hamburgo, do século XVI’, in Portugal Quinhentista: Ensaios, Lisbon: Quetzal, 1987, p. 216.

33 Brandônio, Diálogos, Diálogo 4, p. 209.

34 Stadtarchiv Frankfurt-am-Main, Jud. M 179.

35 Pliny, Historia naturalis, Bk. 12, ch. 14.

36 John, Gerard, The herball or generall historie of plants, first published 1597, Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1974, ch. 147, p. 1357.

37 Letter to D. Martinho (not dated), in A. de Albuquerque, Cartas para el-Rei D. Manuel, Lisbon: Cosmos, 1942, vol. 1, p. 468.

38 Gerard, Historie of plants, p. 1356.

39 Brandônio, Diálogos, Diálogo 4, p. 209.

40 G. B. Depping, Histoire du commerce entre le Levant et l’Europe depuis les croisades jusqu’à la fondation des colonies d’Amérique, Paris, 1830, vol. 2, pp. 273–4.

41 Leo, Africanus, A geographical historie of Africa, written in Arabicke and Italian, London: G. Bishop, 1600, p. 42; Gerard, Historie of plants, p. 1356.

42 Duarte Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de situ orbis, trans. and ed. G. H. T. Kimble, London: Hakluyt Society, 1937, p. 119.

43 Africanus, Geographical historie, p. 42;

44 J. M. da Silva Marques, ed., Descobrimentos Portugueses: documentos para a sua história, Lisboa: Instituto Nacional de Investigaçäo Científica, 1988, vol. 3, p. 207, doc. 200 and pp. 428–9, doc. 289.

45 R. Hakluyt, ‘First voiage of the Primerose and Lion to Guinea and Benin, A.D. 1553’, in The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques and discoveries of the English nation, first published 1598–1600, London: J. M. Dent, 1926, vol. 2, pt. 2ff.; Welsh, J., ‘A voyage to Benin beyond the country of Guinea’, extract in T. Hodgkin, Nigerian perspectives: an historical anthology, 2nd editionLondon: Oxford University Press, 1975, p. 143.

46 Ludwig Choulant, Macer Floridus De viribus herbarum una cum Walafridi Strabonis, Othonis Cremonensis et Ioannis Folcz carminibus similis argumenti, quae secundum codices manuscriptos et veteres editiones, Leipzig: Voss, 1832, p. 188.

47 Ca’Masser, Relazione, p. 19; ANTT, Chancel. de D. Manuel, Liv. 38, fos. 125r–126r.

48 Garcia d’Orta, Colloquios dos simples e drogas e cousas medicinaes da India, Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1872, Colloquio 19, p. 80.

49 ‘quas Indi in tanto habent pretio, vt non nisi coctas eas in terras alienas exportent’: Theodor de Bry, ‘Indiae Orientalis’, Great Voyages series, Frankfurt, 1601, part 15.

50 C. L. Reichard, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Apotheken, Ulm: Verlag der Stettischen Buchhandlung, 1825, p. 124.

51 Duarte, Barbosa, ‘List of drug prices at Calicut around 1516’, in The book of Duarte Barbosa, London: Hakluyt Society, 1921, pp. 384–5.

52 Castore, Durante, Herbario nuovo, Venice: Giacomo Hertz, 1684, p. 328.

53 Gerard, Historie of plants, pp. 1355–6; Orta, Colloquios dos simples, p. 173.

54 Pliny, Historia naturalis, Bk. 12, ch. 7.

55 Carta de Francisco Pessoa e Ruy Fernandes a D. Manuel, Antwerp, 24 March 1517, in Maria Themudo Barata, Rui Fernandes de Almada, diplomata português do século XVI, Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Históricos, 1971, doc. 11.

56 Orta, Colloquios dos simples, p. 174.

57 Lindley, J. and Moore, T., The treasury of botany, London: Longmans, 1866, ‘Chavica’.

58 Ibid., p. 1243.

59 Gerard, Historie of plants, vol. 2, p. 1355.

60 Lindley and Moore, Treasury of botany, p. 564.

61 V. M. Patiño, Plantas cultivadas en América equinoccial, Cali, Columbia, 1963, pp. 70, 213.

62 Hümmerich, F. , Die erste deutsche Handelsfahrt nach Indien, Berlin: Oldenbourg, 1922, p. 33; see also, Lúcio de Azevedo, Epocas de Portugal económico, Lisboa: Liv. Clássica, 1929, p. 78.

63 Published in L. Augusto Rebello da Silva, ed., Corpo diplomatico portugues, vol. 1, Lisbon: Academia Real das Sciencias, 1862, p. 97.

64 The Calliro Redolho contract of 1512 is reproduced, edited by Anselmo Braamcamp Freire in Arquivo Histórico Portuguez, 2, 6, 1904, p. 441, doc. 297.

65 Caspar Bauhinus spoke of ‘eines scharfen Geschmacks/aber lieblicher Geruchs’, in Neu vollkommen Krauterbuch: mit schoenen und kuenstlichen Figuren …, Basel, 1672, Bk. 3, p. 1319.

66 I. Elbl, The Portuguese trade with West Africa, 1440–1521, PhD thesis, University of Toronto, 1986, p. 507; Godinho, Os descobrimentos, vol. 2, p. 154.

67 See, for example, Bauhinus, Neu vollkommen Krauterbuch, Bk. 3, p. 1319.

68 This first reference to malagueta as pepper is recorded in W. Bosman’s Description of the coast of Guinea, London: Knapton, 1705, vol. 16, p. 285.

69 Cited by Flückiger, F. A. and Daniel, Hanbury, Pharmacographia, London: Macmillan, 1879, p. 591.

70 J. Mendes de Almeida, ed., ‘Portugal nás Cronicas de Nuremberg de Hartmann Schedel’, Arquivo de Bibliografia Portuguesa, 19–20, 1959, p. 214; ‘Scharf ist wie pfeffer’, commented Josua Maaler in Die teütsch spraach. alle wœrter, namen vnd arten zu reden in hochteütscher spraach…, Zürich, 1561, p. 315c.

71 ‘Carta de Quitação del Rei D. Manuel de 28 Maio 1514’ (Chanceleria de D. Manuel, liv. 15, fo. 90; liv. V de Misticos, fo. 119). Apud A.B.F., no. 9, vol. 1, carta 110, pp. 361–2. Ca’Masser reports that malagueta sold for 10 ducats a cantar around 1506: Relazione, p. 30, which confirms the accuracy of the quittance data.

72 Francisco Guerra, ‘Drugs from the Indies and the political economy of the sixteenth century’, in M. Florkin, ed., Materia medica in the sixteenth century, Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1966, p. 38.

73 L. de Sousa, ed., Anais de D. João III, Lisbon: Sá da Costa, 1958, vol. 2, p. 258.

74 Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa, Fundo Geral, 8457, fos. 100v–110.

75 Jean, Denucé, L’Afrique au XVIe siècle et le commerce anversois, Antwerp: De Sikkel, 1937, pp. 78–9.

76 Joannes de Laet, Iaerlyck Verhael van de verrichtingen van de geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie, Leiden, 1644, Appendix.

77 National Archives, London (henceforth NA), T/70/50, fo. 13 (letter to Gibson, 9 February 1692); Robin, Law, The English in West Africa, 1681–1683, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997, nos. 575, 578.

78 NA, T/70/50 fo. 54 (letter to Cleeves, 20 December 1692).

79 Plouvier, L., ‘Et les épices pimentèrent la cuisine européenne’, L’Historien, 76, 1985, p. 84.

80 Elbl, Portuguese trade, pp. 527–8.

81 Diego Alvarez Chanca, ‘La carta del Doctor Chanca, que escribio a la Ciudad de Sevilla’, in Cecil Jane, ed., The Four Voyages of Columbus, New York: Dover Publications, 1988; Peter Martyr, The decades of the Newe Worlde or West India, trans. by Richard Eden, London, 1555, from De rebus oceanis et orbe novo decades tres, Basel, 1533, repr. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1966. More generally, see Jean, Andrews, Peppers: the domesticated Capsicums, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1984.

82 Table 1, ‘World production of main spices in major producing countries’, in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (henceforth FAO), Spices: trends in world markets, Commodity Bulletin Series, Rome, 1962.

83 H. Staden, Viagem ao Brasil, originally published 1557, Rio de Janeiro: Academia Brasileira, 1930, p. 88; L. da Câmara Cascudo, História da alimentação no Brasil, São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1967, p. 127.

84 Jiang Mudong and Wang Siming, ‘Lajiao ai Zhongguo de Chuanbo Jiqi Yingxiang’ Zhongguo Nongshi, 24, 2, 2005, pp. 17–27.

85 Carol Clusius, Curae posteriores, Antwerp, 1611, p. 95.

86 Leonhart Fuchs, De historia stirpium commentarii insignes: maximis impensis et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae imitationem artificiosus effectis & expressis, Basel: In Officina Insingriniana, 1542. This seems to be the simplest explanation. Even if a number of these species are to be found growing wild in India today, and indeed are considered the everyday basis of Indian cookery, they were almost certainly unknown there at the time when Fuchs was writing. There does not appear to be any reference to them in ancient texts; indeed in India they are known, as in Spain, as ‘chilies’ (from where they came), and the nationalistic protest of the Indian Spice Board, which points to obscure Sanskrit references from the Vedas, is by all accounts dubious (‘Hot chile’, The Economist, 19 December 1998); they were most probably displaced at some later stage through the Portuguese imperial traffic between Brazil and the East.

87 In Samuel Eliot, Morison, Admiral of the ocean sea: a life of Christopher Columbus, Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1942, p. 435; Michele de Cuneo, ‘Letters on the second voyage, October 28, 1496’, in Samuel Eliot Morison, Journals and other documents on the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus, New York: Heritage Press, 1963, p. 155.

88 J. Nieuhof, Memorável viagem maritime e terrestre ao Brasil, ed. Jose Honorario Rodrigues, São Paulo: Livraria Martins, 1942; Georg Marcgrave, História natural do Brasil, São Paulo: Imprensa oficial do estado, 1942.

89 Durante, Herbario nuovo, p. 344.

90 N. Monardes, Joyfull newes out of the newe found worlde, trans. John Frampton, London, 1577, fos. 20–1.

91 FAO, Trade, commerce: a statistical synopsis, Rome, 1994, pp. 179–82, tables 79 and 80.

92 Sándor Bálint, A szegedi paprika, Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1962.

93 W. Loose, ed., Anton Tuchers Haushaltbuch, Tübingen: Litterarischer Verein in Stuttgart, 1877; Paul Behaim’s book of expenses at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg has been analysed by J. Kamann, ‘Aus Nürnberger Haushaltungs- und Rechnungsbüchern des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts’, Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg, 6, 1866, pp. 57–122 and 7, 1888, pp. 39–168.

94 E. Ashtor, ‘Essai sur l’alimentation des diverses classes sociales dans l’Orient médiéval’, Vie Matérielle et Comportements Biologiques, Bulletin no. 16 (1968), pp. 1017–53; Andrzej Wyczański, La consommation alimentaire en Pologne aux XVIe et XVlle siecles, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, p. 72; Maria Bogucka, ‘Z Badań nad Konsumpcją Żywnościową mieszczan warszawskich na przełomie XVI I XVII wieku’, Kwartalnik Historii Kultury Materialnej, 25, 1977, pp. 31–43.

95 Viennese Schatzkammer (inventory of 1750) KHM, inv. P. 996 and 1001.

96 Philippa, Glanville, Silver in Tudor and early Stuart England, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990, p. 483.

97 Jadwiga Żylińska, Piastówny i żony Piastów, Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1967, p. 273.

98 Stefan Halikowski Smith, ‘Demystifying a change in taste: spices, space and social hierarchy in Europe, 1380–1750’, International History Review, 29, 2, 2007, pp. 241–4.

99 N. Boileau, ‘Le Repas ridicule’, satire 3, line 119 (written 1664, completed 1665).

100 Jean-Louis Flandrin, ‘La distinction par le goût’, in Philippe Ariès and George Duby, Histoire de la vie privée, Paris: Seuil, 1985–87, vol. 3.

101 ‘Memorial de las mercaderías que entran en el Reyno’ (1554), in Hilario Alonso Casado, Castilla y Europa: comercio y mercaderes en los siglos XIV, XV y XVI, Burgos: Diputación Provincial de Burgos, 1995, p. 184.

102 Boyajian, James C., Portuguese trade in Asia under the Habsburgs, 1580–1640, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, p. 44.

103 P. Kriedte, ‘Vom Großhändler zum Detaillisten: der Handel mit “Kolonialwaren” im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert’, Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 1, 1994, pp. 11–36.

104 D. Ormrod, ‘Northern Europe and the expanding world-economy: the transformation of commercial organisation, 1500–1800’, in S. Cavaciocchi (ed.), Prodotti e techniche d’Oltremare nelle Economie Europee. Secc. XIII–XVIII, Prato: Istituto Internationale di Storia Economica, 1998, p. 681.

105 Schokkaert, E. and van der Wee, H., ‘A quantitative study of food consumption in the Low Countries during the sixteenth century’, Journal of European Economic History, 17, 1, 1988, pp. 131–58.

106 J.-L. Flandrin, ‘La révolution culinaire du XVIIe siècle’, introduction to F. de la Varenne, Le cuisinier français, Paris: Montalba, 1983; cf. Joan Corominas, Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico, Madrid: Gredos, 1954–7, ‘Gusto’.

107 Braudel, Capitalism and material life, 1400–1800, New York: Harper and Row, 1973, p. 122; Leibenstein, H., ‘Bandwagon, snob, and Veblen effects in the theory of consumers’ demand’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 64, 1950, pp. 183207.

108 Caption in an exhibition on paprika, Országos Mezőgazdasági Múzeum, Budapest, 1998, citing A. Szent-Györgyi, A vitaminok és a paprika, Budapest: Egyetemi Ny, 1934.

109 Max, Weber, Essays in sociology, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1948, p. 155.

110 Pliny, Historia naturalis, Bk. 3, ch. 10. More generally, see Albert, Deman, ‘Les épices et le merveilleux oriental’, in Saveurs de paradis: les routes des épices, Brussels: CGER, 1992.

111 Stefan Halikowski Smith, ‘The mystification of spices in the Western tradition’, European Review of History, 8, 2, 2001, pp. 119–36.

112 Royal College of Physicians of London, London Pharmacopeia, 2nd edition, 1618, repr. Madison, WI: State Historical Society, 1944. More generally, see William, Eamonn, Science and the secrets of nature: books of secrets in medieval and early modern culture, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994, especially ch. 6.

113 J. Le Goff, The medieval imagination, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992, p. 39.

114 J. P. Berjeau, ed. and trans., Calcoen: a Dutch narrative of the second voyage of Vasco da Gama to Calicut, printed at Antwerp circa 1504, London: B. M. Pickering, 1874.

115 Orta, Coloquios dos simples, p. 121.

116 Livre des simples medicines, ms. IV 1024, fo. 149, cat. 63, Bibliothèque Royale Albert I, Brussels.

117 Dioscorides, De materia medica, ii, 188.

118 The garden at Leyden is described in Peter O. Overadt, Hortorvm viridariorvmque nouiter in Europa praecipue adornatorum elegantes et multiplices formae ad vivum delineatae et aeri incisae, Cologne, 1655.

119 Adam Zaluziansky, Methodi herbariae, libri tres, Prague, 1592.

120 Historians of science concur that the most impressive example was Cesalpino’s De plantis libri XVI, Florence, 1583. Mats Rydén, interestingly, has argued that English natural history was distinctly non-classificatory, in contrast to continental endeavours: ‘Språk och Natur i Renässansens England’, in Kungl. Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala, áringrsbok, 1991–2, Uppsala: Swedish Science Press, 1992, pp. 123–42.

121 Gerard, for example, considered the ‘exotics’ in a lengthy section at the end of his Historie of plants.

122 Allen, Debus, The chemical philosophy: Paracelsian science and medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, New York: Science History Publications, 1977.

123 J. Worth Estes, Dictionary of protopharmacology: therapeutic practices, 1700–1850, Canton, MA: Science History Publications, 1990; G. E. Trease, Pharmacy in history, London: Baillière, Tindall & Cox, 1964, especially pp. 169ff.

124 Abel, W., ‘Wandlungen des Fleischverbrauchs und der Fleischversorgung in Deutschland’, Berichte über Landwirtschaft, 22, 1938, pp. 411–52.

125 See Fatti e idee di storia economica nei secoli 12.–20.: studi dedicati a Franco Borlandi, Bologna: Il Mulino, 1976.

126 Hugues Neveux concluded, reviewing fifteen years of international research on the subject: ‘Surtout, la consommation de viande connaît, à toutes les époques, une plus grande diversité qu’il ne le supposait, et les disparités apparaissent si fortes que l’on peut se demander si un indice de position a, dans ces conditions, quelque chance d’être encore significatif et s’il ne devient pas purement et simplement une inutile abstraction’, ‘L’alimentation du XIVe au XVIIIe siècle’, Revue d’Histoire Economique et Sociale, 51, 1973, 361.

127 ‘Freifrachtsregister’, beginning 1 September 1575, Das Katzenelnbogener Rheinzollerbe, 1479–1584, vol. 2, Wiesbaden: Historischen Kommission für Nassau, 1981, no. 218.IV.

128 Paul, Sharman and Jennifer, Billing, ‘Antimicrobial functions of spices: why some like it hot’, Quarterly Review of Biology, 73, 1, 1998, pp. 349.

129 J. Stannard and P. Dilg, ‘Observations on De theriacis et mithridateis commentariolus’, in F. Baron, ed., Joachim Camerarius (1500–1574): Beiträge zur Geschichte des Humanismus im Zeitalter der Reformation und seine Zeit, Munich: W. Fink, 1978, pp. 152–86; Richard Palmer, ‘Pharmacy in the Republic of Venice in the sixteenth century’, in A. Wear, R.K. French, and I.M. Lonie, eds., The medical renaissance of the sixteenth century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp. 100–17.

130 Michael McVaugh, ‘The Experimenta of Arnald of Villanova’, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1, 1971, pp. 107–18.

131 McNeill, W. H., Plagues and people, Oxford: Blackwell, 1976, p. 236.

132 For example, F. Unterkircher, ed., Tacuinum sanitatis in medicina Codex Vindobonensis Series Nova 2644 der Österreichiscen National Bibliothek, Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 2004; also Luisa Cogliati Arano, The medieval health handbook: Tacuinum sanitatis, London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1976.


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