During antiquity both the Roman or mother caraway of the Orient, Cuminum Cyminum, L., and the common caraway were used as spices. In literature, e. g. in the translations of the Bible, both have been confused, not only the one with the other, but both with the seeds of the black caraway, the Nigella.4) According to statements in the Papyrus Ebers, cumin and caraway seeds have been found in Egyptian graves. Dioscorides5) describes both. In Spain both cumin and caraway were cultivated by the Arabians during the 12. century.6) Both are enumerated in the market ordinances of Brugge in Flandria of 1307,7) and of Danzig in the beginning of the 15. century.8) In 716 cumin seed is mentioned among the objects of tribute to be paid to the Norman monastery Corbie.9) During the early part of the 13. century, Edrisi, the geographer, mentions both fruits as products of Morocco and Algiers.10) Both were used in England toward the beginning of the 13. century,11) and in Germany in the 15. century.12)
1) Arch. der Pharm. 52 (1835), 114.
2) Liebig's Annalen 84 (1852), 351; Journ. f. prakt. Chem. 58 (1853), 226.
3) Berl. Berichte 14 (1881), 2485.
4) Isaiah, 28:25 to 27. - Rosenmuller, Handbuch derbiblischen Altertums-kunde. Leipzig 1830. Vol. 4, p. 100. - Plinii Naturalis historiae libri. Lib. XIX, cap. 8.
5) Dioscoridis De materia medica libri quinque. Editio Kuhn-Sprengel 1829. Vol. 1, 407.
6) Ibn-al-Awam, Livre d'agriculture, traduit par Clement-Mullet. 1864. Vol. 2, p. 242 and 244.
7) Warnkonig, Histoire de la Flandre. 1836. Vol. 2, p. 512 and vol. 4, p. 449. 8) Hirsch, Danzigs Handels- und Gewerbegeschichte. Leipzig 1858, p. 243. 9) Pardessus, Diplomata, Chartae, etc. Paris 1849, p. 307. 10) Edrisi, Description de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, traduit par Dozy et De Goeje. Leyden 1866. pp. 75, 97, 150.
11) Rogers, History of Agriculture and Prices in England. 1876. Vol. 1, p. 631 and vol. 2, pp. 543 - 547. - Riley, Monumenta Guildhalli Londoniensis. 1859. p. 224.
12) Thomas, Fontego dei Tedeschi in Venezia. 1874. p. 252.
The volatile oil of cumin is included in the price ordinances of Berlin of 1574, and of Frankfurt of 1582, also in the 1589 edition of the Dispensatorium Nor/cum.