2 Reading 34-1 ized in the British west Indies as creole . 3 It was, however, once believed that Alexander the Great had come across sugar cane in the Indus valley in 325 B.C. Long before sugar cane was distilled and crystallized, honey was the great sweetener—the bee is a very ef f cient sugar concentrator. The f rst dated reference to honey bees is in Egypt in 5551 B.C., and there are many in Babylonian sources and throughout the Old Testament. In Egypt magical properties were at-tributed to honey. It was made into a syrup which was supposed to prolong active life in the aged; it was an ambrosia which was meant to tranquillize; and it was used as an aphrodisiac. It played a part in all sorts of ceremonies, both sacred and profane, in Ancient Egypt, Babylon, Ur, Persia, and India. Not surprisingly, Moses forbade the ceremonial use of honey, since it had acquired from the Egyptians the carnal overtones associated with the abuse of alcohol. In no ancient civilization before about 650 B.C. is there any evidencc of bee husbandry, de f ned by Vir-gil, among others, as control of swarming. Usually all honey was “hunted,” and stolen from wild bees. In Homeric Greece the process of honey making was not completely understood, and the character of the end
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HIST 302 taught by Professor Jensic during the Summer '10 term at Purdue.