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Out of the East : Spices and the Medieval Imagination



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Pub. Date:
Yale University Press
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This is the edition with a publication date of 3/3/2009.

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The demand for spices in medieval Europe was extravagant and was reflected in the pursuit of fashion, the formation of taste, and the growth of luxury trade. It inspired geographical and commercial exploration ,as traders pursued such common spices as pepper and cinnamon and rarer aromatic products, including ambergris and musk. Ultimately, the spice quest led to imperial missions that were to change world history. This engaging book explores the demand for spices: why were they so popular, and why so expensive? Paul Freedman surveys the history, geography, economics, and culinary tastes of the Middle Ages to uncover the surprisingly varied ways that spices were put to use--in elaborate medieval cuisine, in the treatment of disease, for the promotion of well-being, and to perfume important ceremonies of the Church. Spices became symbols of beauty, affluence, taste, and grace, Freedman shows, and their expense and fragrance drove the engines of commerce and conquest at the dawn of the modern era.

Author Biography

Paul Freedman is Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, Yale University. His previous books include Images of the Medieval Peasant, The Origins of Peasant Servitude in Medieval Catalonia, and Food: The History of Taste.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introduction Spices: A Global Commodityp. 1
Spices and Medieval Cuisinep. 19
Medicine: Spices as Drugsp. 50
The Odors of Paradisep. 76
Trade and Pricesp. 104
Scarcity, Abundance, and Profitp. 130
"That Damned Pepper": Spices and Moral Dangerp. 146
Searching for the Realms of Spicesp. 164
Finding the Realms of Spices: Portugal and Spainp. 193
Conclusion The Rise and Fall of Spicesp. 215
Notesp. 227
Bibliographyp. 245
Indexp. 259
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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