Beekeeping FAQ directory

(For items on the varroa mite or other related topics try searching one of the search vehicles (Lycos, Yahoo, open Text, etc.) found in the file below.) ... Rest of file follows ... Some tidbits about bees and honey from prehistory to present (c. 80 Kb) (v. 1.1e 01/16/97) NOTE: now with links and Addendum: later contributed information The following is an INFORMAL compilation of gleanings about bees and honey in history primarily from on-line sources and postings. It provides some background information ONLY and is neither complete nor comprehensive; nor, is it intended to be. It is merely a possible starting point for anyone who might be interested in this rather large subject area. Some topics touched upon include toxic honey, bees in warfare, some databased references to honey and bees by ancient authors, and, bees used as symbols on coinage and stamps. This particular compilation is the result of the goodwill of many discussion lists, their generous posters and list managers or owners along with incredible on-line databases developed and worked on by so many. Many thanks to all. Some of the postings included were from list archives. Any editing and summarizing of postings was done for space considerations only. Errors, although unwanted, do seem to have the propensity to persist so corrections will be welcomed as will any additional information. This is for NOT-FOR-PROFIT use only with included postings being the property of each individual poster and database information the jurisdiction of its authoring host. Diane Cooper October 7, 1995 Lists used for postings and logs: AegeaNet Pre-Classical Aegean World list e-mail address: subscribe address: send this message: subscribe aegeanet listowner: John Younger <> ANCIENT-L History of Ancient Mediterranean list e-mail address: subscribe address: send this message: SUBSCRIBE ANCIEN-L yourfirstname yourlastname or SUB ANCIEN-L yourfirstname yourlastname Or, contact Jim Cocks at: either or JACOCK01@ULKYVM.bitnet ANE Ancient Near East list e-mail address: subscribe address: send this message: subscribe ane BEE-L Discussion of Bee Biology list e-mail address: BEE-L@UACSC2.ALBANY.EDU subscribe address: LISTSERV@UACSC2.ALBANY.EDU send this message: Subscribe Bee-L Do not include your name or address Classics list e-mail address: subscribe address: send this message: subscribe CLASSICS yourfirstname yourlastname list moderator: Linda Wright <> LATIN-L Latin and NeoLatin discussions list e-mail address: LATIN-L@PSUVM.PSU.EDU subscribe address: send this message: subscribe LATIN-L yourfirstname yourlastname list moderator: Linda Wright <> MEDIEV-L Medieval History list e-mail address: mediev-l%ukanvm.bitnet@vm1.mcgill subscribe address: send this message: subscribe MEDIEV-L yourfirstname yourlastname list moderator: Lynn H. Nelson <lhnelson@UKANAIX.CC.UKANS.EDU> Some pointers for electronic resources in Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology related fields (random order): Linda Wright's Home Page: or, specially, Classics list information: Maria Pantelia's "Electronic Resources for Classicists: The Second Generation": Outline of archaeological resources compiled by John Younger via Don Fowler's Oxford University's Classics page: Allen H. Lutins' "FAQ: Network resources of interest to anthropologists" (and archaeologists) archived at Anthroplogy Resources on the Internet: John Younger's home page with pointers to on-line archaeological resources: and Some general sites for information on E-Mail discussion groups (random order): or Mac specific: Some general search vehicles (random order): InfoSeek Lycos Open Text gopher:// Veronica Webcrawler Yahoo


Some useful URLs (in random order):

 Tufts University's Perseus Project:  

 The Tech Classics Archive at MIT:
 University of Pennsylvania's Classics Studies:
 ROMARCH List Home Page: 
 ROMARCH Archive:
 Dr. Raul Cano at California Polytechnic State:

 For a general search try Yahoo:

 APIS Newsletter archives: 
(For other links to APIS archives, try one of the search vehicles.

 Beekeeping Home Page at University of Washington:

 Beekeeping archives:

 Beekeeping FAQ - Directory at (Adam Finkelstein):
Beekeeping FAQ

 B-EYE: The World Through The Eyes of Bees:
 Bee GIF:

 International Bee Research Association:
 A useful honey listing:

 Mead-Making Web Page:

 Entomology on World-Wide Web (WWW) via Colorado State  University compiled   
 by L. B. Bjostad - also provides links to other related sites:


In Prehistory

The earliest evidence of bees found on-line was a c.30,000 million year old
extinct stingless bee in amber specimen:

Ancient Bee in Amber (46K JPEG Image)

Excerpt from

   ... Because of his previous success in isolating viable DNA from ancient 
   insects encased in amber, Cano believed it would be possible to revive a 
   complete single-cell organism millions of years old.
*      To prove it, he extracted material from the abdomen of an ancient  
   bee after thoroughly sterilizing the exterior of the amber in which it 
   was encased. He put the sample into a nutrient solution. Living bacteria  
   were then found growing in the culture dishes.
       By comparing DNA of ancient and modern bacteria, Cano showed 
   conclusively that the bacteria were growing from spores that had been 
   trapped in the amber millions of years ago, not from modern bacteria 
   that had contaminated the samples.
       While not the same, the revived bacteria were similar to "good" 
   bacteria that aid digestion and help fight disease in bees today. ...

[If you think that this reminds you of _Jurassic Park_ you are correct.]


The results from database searches are included mostly for those who 
can not do a similar search or do not have the time for same at present. 
Database search results may vary with updating. 

The following are the results of a quick search of the English translations
on-line at Tufts Perseus Project ( 
using the keywords:

  1.  bees      46 hits
  2.  honey     92 hits (some hits were for "honeysuckle")

[As the database is updated, these results will likely change.]
Try your own search of the English index at Tufts.

Found references to "bees" and "honey" were divided into the 
following categories for convenience: 	

   1. agricultural observations: bee behavior
                                 honey types, quality and value %          
                                 man-made honey %#
   2. comparisons: political organization
                   philosophical and life lessons
                   bee used as a symbol %%
   3. use as food
   4. medicinal uses $
   5. tactical uses: association with warfare, toxic honey * 
                     animal capture **
   6. customs and rituals: funerary applications + 
                           religious offerings                    

Results of the search at Tufts for "bees":   46 hits
(* indicates honey with apparent toxic effects on humans 
   also see search for "honey" results)   
   [1]Aeschylus Persians 126       [2]Aristophanes Clouds 947
   [3]Euripides Bacchae 140        [4]Euripides Iphigeneia in Taurus 165
   [5]Euripides Trojan Women 799   [6]Herodotus Histories 4.194.1
   [7]Herodotus Histories 5.10.1   [8]Herodotus Histories 5.114.1
   [9]Hesiod Theogony 590          [10]Hesiod Theogony 595
   [11]Hesiod Works and Days 230   [12]Hesiod Works and Days 305
   [13]Homer Iliad 2.85            [14]Homer Iliad 12.165
   [15]Homer Odyssey 13.105        [16]Pausanias Description of Greece 1.32.1
   [17]to[24] Pausanias Description of Greece 1.32.1 -2 hits, 9.23.2, 
       9.31.2, 9.40.2 - 3 hits, 10.5.9
   [25]Pindar Olympian 6.45        [26]Plato Critias 111c
   [27]Plato Ion 534b              [28]Plato Laws 708b
   [29]Plato Laws 843d             [30]Plato Meno 72b
   [31]Plato Meno 72b              [32]Plato Meno 72b
   [33]Plato Phaedo 82b            [34]Plato Republic 363b
   [35]Plato Statesman 293d        [36]Plato Statesman 301d
   [37]Plutarch Solon 23.6         [38]Strabo Geography 11.7.2
*  [39]Xenophon Anabasis 4.8.20    [40]Xenophon Cyropaedia 5.1.24
   [41]Xenophon Cyropaedia 5.1.24  [42]Xenophon Economics 7.33
   [43]Xenophon Economics 7.34     [44]Xenophon Economics 7.38
   [45]Xenophon Economics 17.14    [46]Xenophon Hellenica 3.2.28

A later search at Tufts for "bee":    23 hits
%% [1]Coin: Dewing 2193 
       Cyzicus   Arthur S. Dewing Collection
       silver tetradrachm Bithynia Late Classical
%% [2]Coin: Dewing 2267 
       Ephesos   Arthur S. Dewing Collection
       silver drachm Ionia Late Arch./Early Clas. 387 B.C.E.
%% [3]Coin: Dewing 2269 
       Ephesos   Arthur S. Dewing Collection 
       silver tetradrachm Ionia Late Clas./Hell.
%% [4]Coin: Dewing 2277 
       Ephesos   Arthur S. Dewing Collection 
       gold stater Ionia Hellenistic  87 B.C.E.
   [5]Aeschylus Persians 610
   [6]Pseudo-Apollodorus Library 1.9.9
   [7]Aristophanes Birds 745
   [8]Aristotle Metaphysics 980b [9]Aristotle Politics 1253a
   [10]Bacchylides 10.10
   [11]Diodorus Historical Library 17.75.7
   [12]Euripides Heracles 485    [13]Euripides Hippolytus 75
   [14]Euripides Hippolytus 560
   [15]Euripides Iphigeneia in Taurus 635
   [16]Isocrates To Demonicus 52
   [17]Pindar Pythian 4.60       [18]Pindar Pythian 6.50
   [19]Pindar Pythian 10.50
   [20]Plato Meno 72b            [21]Plato Phaedo 91c
   [22]Xenophon Economics 7.17   [23]Xenophon Economics 7.32

Results of the search at Tufts for "honey":   92 hits
This was modified to 89 hits as "honeysuckle" was found to be included.

    * indicates honey with apparent toxic effects on humans    
   ** honey method used in animal capture 
    $ medicinal uses of honey 
    % quality of honey
   %# man-mad honey
   %% bee used as a symbol
    + funerary applications

   [1]Aeschylus Persians 610
   [2]Pseudo-Apollodorus Library 3.3.1
   [3]Pseudo-Apollodorus Library e.7.15
   [4]Aristophanes Acharnians 1040
   [5]Aristophanes Acharnians 1130
   [6]Aristophanes Birds 905
   [7]Aristophanes Birds 1670
   [8]Aristophanes Knights 850
%  [9] to [11]Aristophanes Peace 250 - 3 hits: excellence of Attic honey
%  [12]Aristophanes Plutus 1120  esteem of honey ...dishes worthy of Hermes 
   [13]Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 505
   [14]Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 510
%  [15]Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 1190  comparison to Attic honey
   [16]Aristophanes Wasps 675
   [17]Aristophanes Wasps 875
   [18]Aristotle Metaphysics 1011a
$  [19]Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1137a
   [20]Aristotle Rhetoric 1370b
   [21]Aristotle Rhetoric 1378b
   [22]Bacchylides 1.50
*  [23]Diodorus Historical Library 14.30.1 toxic honey   
*,%[24]Diodorus Historical Library 14.30.2 toxic honey; valuable honey 
+  [25]Diodorus Historical Library 15.93.6 ...packed in honey
   [26]Diodorus Historical Library 17.75.6
%  [27]Diodorus Historical Library 17.75.7 value of honey
** [28]to[29]Diodorus Historical Library 17.90.2 - 2 hits: animal capture
   [30]Euripides Bacchae 710
   [31]Euripides Iphigeneia in Taurus 630
   [32]Euripides Ion 225
   [33]Euripides Orestes 115
   [34]Homeric Hymns 4.138
   [35]Herodotus Histories 1.193.4
   [36]Herodotus Histories 1.198.1
   [37]Herodotus Histories 2.40.3
   [38]Herodotus Histories 3.48.3
%# [39]Herodotus Histories 4.194.1 ref. to man-made honey    
%# [40]Herodotus Histories 7.31.1  ref. to man-made honey    
   [41]Homer Iliad 1.245
   [42]Homer Iliad 11.630
   [43]Homer Iliad 18.105
   [44]Homer Iliad 23.170
   [45]Homer Odyssey 10.230
   [46]Homer Odyssey 10.515
   [47]Homer Odyssey 11.25
   [48]Homer Odyssey 13.51
   [49]Homer Odyssey 13.105
   [50]Homer Odyssey 20.65
   [51]Homer Odyssey 24.65
   [52]Pausanias Description of Greece 1.18.7
   [53]Pausanias Description of Greece 1.32.1  ref. to tame bees
   [54]Pausanias Description of Greece 2.11.4
   [55]Pausanias Description of Greece 5.15.10
   [56]Pausanias Description of Greece 6.20.2
   [57]Pausanias Description of Greece 9.39.11
   [58]Pindar Isthmean 5.50 
   [59]Pindar Nemean 3.75
   [60]Pindar Nemean 7.51
   [61]Pindar Olympian 10.97
   [62]Plato Gorgias 493e 
   [63]Plato Ion 534a
   [64]Plato Letters 13.361b
   [65]Plato Laws 782c
   [66]Plato Philebus 47e
   [67]Plato Philebus 61c
   [68]Plato Republic 559d
   [69]Plato Republic 564e
   [70]Plato Republic 565a
   [71]Plato Timaeus 60b
   [72]Plutarch Theseus 22.5
   [73]Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 480
%  [74]Strabo Geography 6.2.2   Hyblean honey - excellent  
   [75]Strabo Geography 6.2.7      
%  [76]Strabo Geography 6.3.6   good honey
%  [77]Strabo Geography 7.3.3   Mysians: ate no living thing, cheese, milk,    
%  [78]to[79]Strabo Geography 9.1.23 - 2 hits: Hymettus best honey         
%  [80]Strabo Geography 10.5.19  good honey
%  [81]Strabo Geography 10.5.19  good honey
%  [82]Strabo Geography 11.2.17  bitter honey
   [83]Strabo Geography 11.7.2  
*  [84]Strabo Geography 12.3.18  toxic honey   
   [85]Thucydides Histories 4.26.8
*  [86]Xenophon Anabasis 4.8.20  toxic honey
*  [87]Xenophon Anabasis 4.8.21  toxic honey
+  [88]Xenophon Hellenica 5.3.19 ref. to funerary use of honey: 
                                 - place corpse in honey
  [89]Building: Poseidonia, Underground Shrine
        The interpretation of the building is disputed. The objects found
        within it suggest that cult activity of some type took place here: 
        six bronze hydriae were found, containing a molasses-like substance

References found for toxic honey:  *

In the honey listing at:
search for 
    Turkish honey can be poisonous, Anon. 1993, 
       Food Safety Notebook 4 (5):54.
Other useful search words: toxic honey, poison, selenium

Perseus Project: Xenophon Anabasis 4.8.18-21
   [18] Then the peltasts of the Arcadian division, who were commanded by 
   Aeschines the Acarnanian, getting the idea that the enemy were in 
   flight, set up a shout and began to run; and they were the first to   
   reach the summit of the mountain, while following close after them came 
   the Arcadian division of hoplites, under the command of Cleanor of 
   [19] As for the enemy, once the peltasts began to run they no longer stood
   their ground, but betook themselves hither and thither in flight. After 
   accomplishing the ascent the Greeks took up quarters in numerous 
   villages, which contained provisions in abundance.
   [20] Now for the most part there was nothing here which they really  
   found strange; but the swarms of bees in the neighbourhood were 
   numerous, and the soldiers who ate of the honey all went off their 
*  heads, and suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea, and not one of them 
   could stand up, but those who had eaten a little were like people 
   exceedingly drunk, while those who had eaten a great deal seemed like  
   crazy, or even, in some cases, dying men.
   [21] So they lay there in great numbers as though the army had suffered
   a defeat, and great despondency prevailed. On the next day, however, no 
   one had died, and at approximately the same hour as they had eaten the 
*  honey they began to come to their senses; and on the third or fourth day
   they got up, as if from a drugging.

Comments related to toxic honey posted August 17, 1995, on

1.  J. Blomqvist <>, 17 Aug 1995 on
    ... Xenophon, Anabasis 4.8.20 and Strabo 12.3.18. Both, regard events 
    in Asia Minor; the latter concerns Pompey's Roman troops. On poisonous 
    honey in general see Pliny, Naturalis Historia 21.74 ff. Unfortunately, 
    I have only one modern reference at hand: Tozer, History of Ancient 
    Geography, p. 118.

2.  Y. Roisman <>, 17 Aug 1995 on 
    ... where the mercenaries who ate the honey near Trapezus got very sick 
    or very "high". However, it appears from Xenophon's description that 
    they were all eventually recovered.

3.  M. J. Mills <>, 17 Aug 1995
    The honey of Trebizond acquires its quality of an irritant and 
    intoxicant narcotic, apparently, from the blossoms of Azalea pontica and 
    Rhododendron ponticum. There is a discussion of poisonous honies in 
    Pliny, Nat. Hist. XXI, xliv-xlv.

Also see item below under (On BEE-L <BEE-L@UACSC2.ALBANY.EDU>, 
Aug 4, 1995, Rick Fell <rfell@VT.EDU>) for more information concerning 
toxic honey. * 

Perseus Project: Diodorus Historical Library 13.29.6:14.30.1-3

   [6] When the natives gathered here against them, the Greeks overcame them
   in battle and slew great numbers of them, and then, seizing a strong 
   position on a hill, they pillaged the territory, gathered their booty on 
   the hill, and refreshed themselves plentifully.
   [1] There were found in the regions great numbers of beehives which yielded
*,%valuable honey. But as many as partook of it succumbed to a strange 
   affliction; for those who ate it lost consciousness, and falling on the 
   ground were like dead men.
*  [2] Since many consumed the honey because of the pleasure its sweetness 
   afforded, such a number had soon fallen to the ground as if they had 
   suffered a rout in war. Now during that day the army was disheartened, 
   terrified as it was at both the strange happening and the great number 
   of the unfortunates; but on the next day at about the same hour all came 
   to themselves, gradually recovered their senses, and rose up from the 
   ground, and their physical state was like that of men recovered after 
   a dose of a drug.

   [3] When they had refreshed themselves for three days, they marched on to
   the Greek city of Trapezus, which is a colony of the Sinopians and lies 
   in the territory of the Colchians. Here they spent thirty days, during 
   which they were most magnificently entertained by the inhabitants; and they
   offered sacrifices to Heracles and to Zeus the Deliverer and held a 
   gymnastic contest at the place at which, men say, the Argo put in with 
   Jason and his men.

Perseus Project: Strabo Geography 12.3.18
   [18] ... Now all these peoples who live in the mountains are utterly  
   savage, but the Heptacomitae are worse than the rest. Some also live
   in trees or turrets; and it was on this account that the ancients called
   them "Mosynoeci," the turrets being called "mosyni." They live on the 
   flesh of wild animals and on nuts; and they also attack wayfarers, 
   leaping down upon them from their scaffolds. The Heptacomitae cut down 
   three maniples of Pompey's army when they were passing through the 
*  mountainous country; for they mixed bowls of the crazing honey which
   is yielded by the tree-twigs, and placed them in the roads, and then, 
   when the soldiers drank the mixture and lost their senses, they attacked 
   them and easily disposed of them. Some of these barbarians were also 
   called Byzeres.

The following seemed interesting and were included with tactical uses of honey:

Perseus Project: Diodorus Historical Library 17.90.1-3      **

   [1] Odd phenomena were observed in these mountains. In addition to the  
   wood for shipbuilding, the region contained a large number of snakes 
   remarkable for their size; they reached a length of sixteen cubits.
       There were also many varieties of monkey, differing in size, which 
   had themselves taught the Indians the method of their capture.
   [2] They imitate every action that they see, but cannot well be taken by 
   force because of their strength and cleverness. The hunters, however, in 
** the sight of the beasts, smear their eyes with honey, or fasten sandals 
   about their ankles, or hang mirrors about their necks.
       Then they go away, having attached fastenings to the shoes, having 
   substituted birdlime for honey, and having fastened slip nooses to the 
   [3] So when the animals try to imitate what they had seen, they are   
   rendered helpless, their eyes stuck together, their feet bound fast, and 
   their bodies held immovable. That is the way in which they become easy 
   to catch.

References to man-made honey also seemed interesting:

Perseus Project: Herodotus Histories 4.194.1

   [1] Next to these are the Gyzantes, where much honey is made by bees,
%# and much more yet (so it is said) by craftsmen. It is certain that
   they all paint themselves with vermilion and eat apes, with which
   their mountains swarm.

Perseus Project: Herodotus Histories 7.31.1
   [1] ... on the latter the traveller must cross the river Maeander
%# and pass by the city of Callatebus, where craftsmen make honey out of
   wheat and tamarisks.

On funerary uses of honey:

Perseus Project: Diodorus Historical Library 15.93.6

   [6] Afterwards Tachos easily recovered the Egyptian kingship, and
   Agesilaus, as the one who single-handed had restored his kingdom, was
   honoured with appropriate gifts. On his journey back to his native
+  land by way of Cyrene Agesilaus died, and his body packed in honey   
   was conveyed to Sparta where he received kingly burial and honour.

Perseus Project: Euripides Iphigeneia in Taurus 630-635

   ... I will set much ornament on the tomb and quench your body with 
   yellow oil, and throw onto your funeral pyre the gleaming honey, that 
   streams from flowers, [635] of the tawny mountain bee.

On Bablylonian embalming customs:

Perseus Project: Herodotus Histories 1.198.1

+  [1] The dead are embalmed in honey for burial, and their dirges are
   like the dirges of Egypt.

In medicine:
Perseus Project: Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1137a

$  [1137a] ... Even in medicine, though it is easy to know what honey, wine   
   and hellebore, cautery and surgery are, to know how and to whom and when 
   to apply them so as to effect a cure is no less an undertaking than to 
   be a physician.

Results for "honey" of a mini-search of the on-line texts at MIT's The-Tech's
Classics ( ):  

Aeschylus [2 hits]    Apollodorus [2 hits]    Aristophanes [9 hits]
Aristotle [26 hits]   Euripides [3 hits]      Herodotus [6 hits]
Hesiod [1 hits]       Hippocrates [19 hits]   Homer [10 hits]
Plato [8 hits]        Plotinus [2 hits]       Plutarch [7 hits]
Thucydides [1 hits]   Virgil [5 hits]         Xenophon [2 hits]
    The Acharnians
          Pour honey over this tripe; set it before the fire 
          to dry....
    The Clouds
          First give me a honey-cake, for to descend down 
          there sets me all a-tremble; it...          
%   Peace
          ...cheese. Now let us pour some Attic honey into 
          the mortar.
          ...I beseech you! use some other honey; this kind 
          is worth four obols; be careful, oh! be careful...
          ...our Attic honey.
 the wine-shops, wine-cakes, honey, dried 
          figs, in short, dishes worthy of Hermes.
%   The Thesmophoriazusae
          ...god, what soft lips! like Attic honey. But 
          might she not stay with me?... 
    History of Animals, Book IX; 40
          ...material and stores it away, for honey is the 
          bee's food. This fact is shown by the 
%   History of Animals, Book IX; 43
          ...these cells is found an attempt at honey, of a 
          poor description. The tenthredon is like the...
%   History of Animals, Book V; 22
          and this they do in the summer and autumn;...
          ...the autumn honey is the better of the two. 
   (Aristotle's History of Animals has numerous references to how bees 
    function and honey.)
($) Metaphysics, Book VI; 2                ($)=oblique ref.
          ...or for the most part, e.g. that honey-water is 
          useful for a patient in a fever is true for the...
    On The Soul, Book II; 9
          ...taste to the smell of saffron or honey, 
          'pungent' to that of thyme, and so on.... 
          ...Clytemnestra's tomb a mingled cup of honey, 
          milk, and frothing wine; then stand upon the 

+    The History of Herodotus, Book I
          They bury their dead in honey, and have funeral 
          lamentations like the Egyptians. When a...
%#  The History of Herodotus, Book IV
 whose country a vast deal of honey is made 
          by bees; very much more, however, by the skill 
%#  The History of Herodotus, Book VII
          ...Callatebus, where the men live who make honey 
          out of wheat and the fruit of the tamarisk. 
    The History of Herodotus, Book VIII
          ...honey-cake. Up to this time the honey-cake had 
          always been... 

$   On Fistulae, Part 2
          ...days, and, mixing the water with honey, let the 
          patient drink it, fasting, to the amount of 
$   On Fistulae, Part 4
          ...director; and the sponge smeared with honey is 
          to be introduced with the index finger of the left 
$   On Fistulae, Part 9
          ...properly, having mixed vermillion with honey, 
$   On Fractures, Part 11
          ...(a composition from vinegar and honey?). But if 
          the case be not going to get worse, the...
$   On Hemorrhoids, Part 2
          ...sponge, is to be smeared with honey and 
          applied; and with the index finger of the left 
          hand the...
$   On Hemorrhoids, Part 6
          ...poured a small quantity of boiled honey on 
          these, and formed an oblong suppository, apply 
          until you...
$   On Regimen in Acute Diseases, Appendix Part 10
          ...together, in a draught; or galbanum in honey, 
          and cumin in a linctus, or the juice of ptisan. 
$   On Regimen in Acute Diseases, Appendix Part 11
          ...thin at first, mixing it with honey. If the 
          expectoration be easy, and the breathing free, 
          ...pine-fruit in Attic honey; and southernwood in 
          oxymel; make a decoction of pepper and...
 wine and honey; when given to act upon the 
          bowels, it should be drunk in...
$   On Regimen in Acute Diseases, Appendix Part 30
          ...sesames, and young almonds pounded in honey, 
          form into an electuary and give; and afterwards 
$   On Ulcers, Part 11
          ...the melilot and mixed it with honey, use as a plaster. For
          nerves (tendons?) which have been...
(there are many more references in Hippocrates)

    The Odyssey, Book X
          ...mixed them a mess with cheese, honey, meal, and Pramnian but
          she drugged it with wicked poisons...
          ...drink-offering to all the dead, first, honey mixed with
          milk, then wine, and in the third place... 
    The Odyssey, Book XI
          ...drink-offering to all the dead, first with honey and milk,
          then with wine, and thirdly with water, and I...

+   Agesilaus
          ...followers of Agesilaus, for want of honey, 
          enclosed his body in wax, and so conveyed him 
          ...dyeing the purple they made use of honey, and 
          of white oilin the white tincture, both which 
%         ...also produces the most delicious honey and the most deadly

+   Hellenica, Part 27
          ...sanctuary. And he was placed in honey and
          carried home, and received the royal burial.... 

A discussion on beehives:
On AegeaNet, L.A. Hitchcock <> posted two queries 
22 Mar95:

   1. Could someone, perhaps at Oxford, provide me with a full
   citation for Eleni Hadzaki's Oxford dissertation on the
   "Little Palace" at Knossos?

   2. On page 91 of the Festos II reports the following object found in    
   room 33 is described (please excuse my poor translation from the 
   Italian): a terra-cotta cylinder closed at the top, open at the bottom 
   with 2 opposite semi-lunate openings on the side. (the excavators 
   believe these are for holding convenience) The dimensions of the object 
   are as follows: H 42cm; Dia at top 39.5 cm; bottom 29 cm + 4 cm. to the 
   edge. The object is made of coarse ware and is 3 cm thick. There is a   
   picture of it, but I didn't note the fig. no. The excavators note a 
   similar object was found at H. Triada. They interpret it as stool which 
   they believed could be stood upon in order to reach the mouth of pithoi, 
   and that the openings on the side enabled individuals to drag it from 
   place to place.

   My question re. this object would be addressed to the potter experts out 
   there, and I confess my ignorance on the subject. Does the above 
   interpretation seem likely? If not, what would a plausible 
   interpretation of this object be? and why? This is a serious question 
   and should be re. as such. I would also appreciate any published 
   references to identical objects. I may wish to cite those who respond to 
   the question as pers. comm. in my dissertation. If this is 
   unsatisfactory please say so. Thanks very much.     Louise.
Reply 24 Mar 1995 from John Younger <> to above query
on AegeaNet:
[Also noted 11 Oct 1994, J.Younger to J.Younger: Aegeaneting & Classical 
apiarists & apiarophiles! Note: the * used below in "ideogram *168"is not 
a match for toxic honey.]

   Louise -- for your 2nd query (the cylindrical object), try  
   'bee hive': here's a bibliography.

   Hugh Sackett, "Country House at Vari", BSA in the 1980's?

   Ken Kitchell was right about an article by C. Davaras:
     C. Davaras, "A New Interpretation of the ideogram *168,"   
   Kadmos 25(1986) 38-43: Linear B *168 does indeed look like   
   one of the horizontal cylindrical beehives.  Vandenabeele 
   (Ideogrammes archeologiques du Lineaire B, EtCret vol. 24)  
   lists it (p. 281-2) as not identified, perhaps indicating 
   a word beginning with SE, since SE is often conjoined.  
   The ideogram seems to be something attached to toponyms 
   in the KN Pp series, and there are 217 of them.  But 
   Melena suggests a type of 'epinetra' and Duhoux suggests a 
   type of textile.

   And Paul Rehak was right about the Theran beehive:
     C. Doumas, "Thera. An Aegean Pompeii ..." fig. 19, a 
   rather large cylinder (H. ca. 82, D. ca. 52 cm) that 
   should rest on some base, like a table.  At the bottom 
   there is a little door (with detachable door leaf), and 
   inside is a horizontal sieve-like terra-cotta screen, about  
   15 cm. up from the bottom.  The top is ridged for 
   receiving a lid (Rehak thinks it's conical, but Doumas 
   doesn't publish the lid).  The outside is beautifully 
   decorated with crocus (ah, that saffroned honey!). 

   We should remember too that 'melissai' were the attendants 
   of Artemis and Zeus was nurtured by honey bees.
L.A. Hitchcock, 27 Mar 95 to J. Younger with cc to AegeaNet:

   ... I haven't had a chance to check the Vari reference yet,
   but did check the Thera illustration. I only had one other response 
   which seemed to prefer the stool interpretation. Although both seem
   entirely plausible, I still remain uncertain. The Phaistos object 
   doesn't have a little door and isn't as tall as the Thera object. I 
   am bothered by the context of the object which surely affects it's 
   meaning and function. Why would a beehive be in a magazine amongst
   pithoi. Was this a storage place for it's transshipment
   elsewhere? Was the manufacture of beehives an industry that
   took place at Phaistos?

   This particular magazine (33) had a stone pavement and window
   recesses in the facade indicate that it was lit. Would bees
   have gone in and out through the windows opening off the
   monumental entry way to the 'palace'? Rather than effecting
   'closure' to this discussion, I would prefer to keep the
   discussion of this object and hence the function of the room
   'in play' and once again ask for suggestions about the
   function of this object.             Cheers, Louise
Response from Ian Begg <> 28 Mar 1995 on AegeaNet:

   I would vote for the TC objects being stools primarily because of their 
   contexts. Not only is the Phaistos example in a pithos magazine but the 
   pithoi are of sufficient height that most people today, let alone the 
   supposedly shorter Minoans, would have some difficulty in being able to 
   reach down into a partly empty pithos. There might well have been wooden 
   stools or ladders normally available for this purpose. The other example 
   was found on the steps outside a pithos storeroom at Hagia Triada. It 
   might not be a coincidence that both Phaistos 33 and Hagia Triada 8 were 
   unusually well-appointed storerooms, having gypsum floors and dadoes.
   (Incidentally, it is not at all clear how storerooms were lit; the 
   windows restorable behind the recesses of Phaistos 33 should   
   theoretically be for the upper floor).

   Structurally, they could have served as chimneys but I don't think there 
   is any evidence for smoke. They don't appear conical enough to have been 
   intended as top-bar bee-hives and their holes appear shaped more for 
   hands than for bees; as such, they would be the earliest examples of    
   this type by at least a thousand years. (See Eva Crane, The Archaeology     
   of Beekeeping, London, 1983, esp.196-202; does anyone have a ref.for the   
   unpublished Isthmian vessels?)

   The vessel published by Doumas more likely belongs to a type with a 
   perforated bottom at the narrowest circumference of the vessel a few 
   inches above the base. They have been noted especially at Palaikastro   
   and Thera and are often decorated. They might have been used to strain,   
   filter, or perhaps even smoke any contents. They wouldn't appear to  
   belong to any known type of bee-hive.

   I hope this is of some use to you.          Ian Begg
J. Younger, 28 Mar 1995 on AegeaNet, on the same thread:

   The absence of the little door is bothersome, but toring beehives is 
   not.  I like the window in the magazine for letting bees go to & fro; 
   they nest in my garage which I use constantly, so I see no impediment to 
   them being in a storeroom.  The window, is it high up and small?  Joe 
   Shaw has a wonderful footnote about the little window in the wall of the 
   EM II house at Vailike being for cats, which I like.

Bibliography of Vergilian Scholarship at
showed matches for "bees" and "honey". 

* On BEE-L <BEE-L@UACSC2.ALBANY.EDU> Aug 4, 1995, Rick Fell <rfell@VT.EDU> 
  wrote in reply to D. Cooper's query on toxic bees and honey:

   In reference to your query I can offer a few comments since we have    
   recently done some work with honey containing naturally toxic compounds.   
   First, the reference to toxic bees may be somewhat misleading, unless 
   they are referring to the sting. However, honey bees have been used in 
   warfare, dating as far back as Roman times.  There are for example, 
   references to the Romans loading bee hives on catapults and firing them   
   at their enemies. Other records can be found from the Middle Ages, where   
   various armies threw bee hives at their attackers - especially off of 
   castle walls, and on up through World War I and Vietnam.  A good 
   reference for this topic is "Insects in Warfare" by John Ambrose
   (published in Army 24(12):33-38.)

   With regard to toxic honey, there is also a long history.  One of the  
   earliest references comes from the writings of the Greek Xenophon 
   (approx. 400 B.C.) who described the effects of soldiers eating a toxic 
   honey.  The incident occurred in what is now Turkey.  The soldiers were 
   returning to Greece from a campaign in the Persian Empire, encountered 
   the hives and robbed them of their honey.  Xenophon indicated that the 
   soldiers who consumed the honey lost their senses, and were inflicted 
   with "vomiting and purging".  A later reference indicates that the honey 
   of that region was also used against soldiers of the Roman army under 
   Pompey.  The Heptakometes left jars of the honey along the roadside as a 
   "tribute" to some of the advancing army.  The soldiers who ate the honey   
   lost their senses and were easily defeated by the Heptakometes.  The 
   source of this toxic honey in the Middle East is probably Rhododendron 
   ponticum, although R. luteum could also be a source.  A good reference 
   to the toxic honey of this region is Sutlupinar et al. 1993. Poisoning 
   by toxic honey in Turkey, Arch. Toxicol. 67:148-150.

   There are several references to toxic honeys in the US.  The earliest    
   record of which I am aware dates back to Philadelphia in 1790, when a   
   child died from eating honey.  There are also references from the Civil   
   War and from the 1940's and 1960's.  The most recent report is the one  
   we found here in Virginia.  A beekeeper became violently ill after 
   consuming some honey from his hives and ended up spending 6 days in the 
   local hospital. We were contacted   about the possibility of the honey  
   causing the problems and subsequently analyzed the honey.  We found two 
   grayanotoxins (primarily nerve toxins that lead to a prolonged 
   depolarization of the nerve) in the honey in sufficient levels to cause 
   very serious medical problems.  Based on the time of year, the area in 
   which the honey was made, and the toxins, we believe the source was 
   Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel).  This type of toxic honey is not 
   common but seems to be reported once about every 20 or
   30 years.

   There are a number of other plants that produce nectars with various  
   toxins.  Some of these include Yellow jessamine, tansy ragwort, and 
   Egyptian henbane. If you would like more information on plants and 
   specific toxins, please let me know. Hope this answers some of your 

On the basic sugar composition of honey:

The following was received in response to a query of mine posted about 
honey and tooth decay to Dentst-l. The query was prompted by a thread 
dens, dentis (about excavated teeth, dental hygiene, etc.) on Latin-l 
c. April-May 1995.

Dick Murphy <U14663@uicvm.bitnet>, <> replied:

   Honey contains glucose and fructose but not sucrose.  Thus, it does
   not support plaque FORMATION.  However, if plaque is already present
   or there is inteproximal material, and thus a conglomeration of
   bacteria at the tooth surface, these sugars can be  fermented and result
   in carious lesions.  Much will depend on the frequency of ingestion of
   the honey.  The saliva normally acts as a buffer and a supplier of
   phosphate to remineralize any demineralized enamel.  It will do this
   if the honey (sugar) is not ingested continually or too frequently.

On the thread of Bee Warfare in Mesopotamia on AegeaNet and ANE (obtained 
via J. Younger): 
May 24, 1995, Mark Rose posted a query because Adrienne Mayor was writing an 
article about poisonous honey in antiquity noting that apparently honey made 
from rhododendron pollen can cause paralysis, as something recorded by 
Xenophon and others. He recalled a bee warfare article and thought that it 
might make an interesting addition.  A. Mayor had found references to bee 
warfare in medieval Greece and in c. A.D. 500 Ireland. Replies gave suggestions
for Aineias Tacitus, Herodian, and Edward Neufeld's  Insects as Warfare Agents
in the Ancient Near East, Orientalia 1980, pp. 30-57 from Izak Cornelius

He noted:

   For the record Eva Crane (Archaeology of Beekeeping) doesn't talk about
   bee warfare. Elin Rand Nielsen, an authority on bees in ancient Egypt,   
   noted that they were apparently pacifists as there is no evidence of 
   their use in warfare. 

On Honey and winemaking on ANE (obtained via J. Younger), 
Troy Sagrillo <>, 22 Nov 1994 on ANE, suggested to 
Jeff Tigay's query, 22 Nov 1994 on ANE, on the above:
(Posting 1)
   Crane, Eva (ed.). _Honey: A Comprehensive Survey_. London: William 
   Heinemann Ltd. 1975.
   There is also a wonderful book called _The Archaeology of Beekeeping_
   which might be of use--its a good read in any event. ...

(Posting 2)
   Sorry for this second post, but do NOT include your name when subscribing
   to the BEE-L (your request will be returned otherwise).

Proper format is:

   Subscribe Bee-L 

Giovanna Barouch <>, 25 May 1995 on ANE, suggested:

   Jones, J.E., Hives and honey of Hymettus. Beekeeping in ancient 
   Greece. In: Archaeology, 29, 1976, pp. 80-91

   Neufeld, E., Apiculture in ancient Palestine (Early and Middle)
   within the framework of the ancient Near East. In: Ugarit-Forschungen 
   10, 1978, pp.219-247

On ANE (obtained via J. Younger)
Gregory William Munson <> posted 25 May 95:

   Note that Shamash-resh-usur, a governor on the Middle
   Euphrates in the early 8th century B.C., claimed to 
   have introduced apiculture to the area with imported
   bees (for a recent English translation, see Grant
   Frame, Rulers of Babylonia: From the Second Dynasty of
   Isin to the End of the Assyrian Domination [1157-612
   BC], RIMB 2 [Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 
   1995], p. 281 [S.0.1001.1 iv 13-v 6]).  Stephanie
   Dalley, in Mari and Karana, pp. 85 and 203 discusses
   this reference and early use of honey in the region.

On bees in Mesopotamia 
Peter D Manuelian <>, 25 May 1995:

   On the Egyptian side, I believe you will find some bee-keeping scenes in 
   the Saite tomb of Ankh-hor, published by Manfred Bietak (Austrian Academy
   of Sciences), and some other Saite tombs as well, which he probably cites.

On little poisonous flying creatures on ANE (obtained via J. Younger)
from Ellen Morris <>, 27 May 1995:

   This may or may not refer to bees, and it is only vaguely ANE 
   (a little late) but Herodian (Book 3, chapter 9, 5-6) records 
   that during the siege of Hatra by the forces of Severus in 197 A.D.,
   the citizens of the city were "making clay pots...filled them
   with winged insects, little poisonous flying creatures.  When these
   were hurled down on the besiegers, the insects fell into the Romans'
   eyes and all the unprotected parts of their bodies; digging in before
   they were noticed, they bit and stung the soldiers.

Mark Rose's summary of references on bees in warfare and related items on 
ANE, 8 Jun 1995: 

[The original summary has been split with the applicable part entered here 
for Ancient times and the other part entered under the Medieval to Present 
section below:]

   There isn't much to go on here. Edward Neufeld (Insects as Warfare 
   Agents in the Ancient Near East, Orientalia 1980, pp. 30-57) starts by 
   suggesting that certain biblical passages are references to bees/hornets   
   used in war. These are Ex. 23:28, Deut. 7:20, Josh. 24:12, and Isa. 
   7:18-20. One is somewhat convincing. He looks for parallels, but 
   basically finds none in Ancient Near East. On pp. 54-56, however, he has 
   some good bibliog. on classical and later examples of bee warfare (and 
   some similar uses of snakes). 
   Ex. 23:28: And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the
   Hivite, Canaanite, and Hittite from before you. 
   Deut. 7:20: Moreover the Lord your God will send hornets among them,   
   until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed. 
   Josh. 24:12: And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out 
   before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or  
   by your bow. 
   Isa. 7:18-20: In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly which is at 
   the sources of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee which is in the  
   land of Assyria. And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, 
   and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all 
   the pastures. 
   fourth century B.C. 
   The fourth-century B.C. author Aineias Tacitus (37.4) on preventing  
   sappers from undermining walls:  It has even been known for people to  
   release wasps and bees into the tunnel to plague men inside it.  From D. 
   Whitehead, Aineias the Tactician: How to Survive Under Siege, Oxford 
   (Clarendon Press), 1990, pp. 93, 199. 
   first century B.C. 
   Appian 12.78 says defenders of Bithynian Themiskyra used bees against  
   Lucullus in 72 (I don't have Appian, and NYPL copy is in a library annex 
   located in Siberia; this summary is from Whitehead s book on Aineias. 
   Also mentioned by Neufeld.) 
   second century A.D.
   Herodian (Book 3, chapter 9, 5-6) records that during the siege of Hatra   
   by the forces of Severus in A.D. 197, the citizens were  making clay 
   pots...filled them with winged insects, little poisonous flying creatures. 

   When these were hurled down on the besiegers, the insects fell into the 
   Romans  eyes and all the unprotected parts of their bodies; digging in 
   before they were noticed, they bit and stung the soldiers.  
   A.D. 500 
   Saint Gobnet of Ireland (patron saint of beekeeping there) used her bees 
   to repel marauding cattle thieves in ca. A.D. 500. Different versions of 
   the story exist; in one she changed the bees into soldiers and the beehive
   into a brass helmet, which was subsequently kept by the O'Herihy family 
   for centuries. 

From thread about Roman lawns on Latin-L, Alexander Ingle <>,
29 Aug 1995:
   Varro *Res Rusticae* 3. 16. 10 has two brothers who owned a single   
   *iugerum* of land (smallest landholding in the RR) surrounded by an   

Medieval to Present 

Lynn H. Nelson <lhnelson@UKANAIX.CC.UKANS.EDU>, 30 Aug 1995 on Mediev-l, 
suggested Michael Treitel's _The Great hunger of 1044: The Progress of a 
Medieval Famine_, Undergraduate History Honours Submission, University of 
Kansas, May 1992 which is available on-line at: 
   ftp cd   

This includes a brief examination of the role of bee pollination in the
life cycle of Medieval agriculture plus some discussion of the probable 
decline of the bee population under food shortage conditions due to poor 
weather conditions and to mice and rat scavenging. 

   In one isolated corner of northwestern Europe, a   
   chronicler's entry dated 1035, read, "and there was
   a grave famine in all this land, so that many died  
   unnoticed, for there was a flood of winter rains." And 
   in the same year, the Annales Altahenses  Maiores in 
   Bavaria read: "there was an unheard of mortality of 
   animals, and all of Bavaria was gravely afflicted by
   a deficiency of bees."   - Michael Treitel


   Historically, mouse and rat populations have exploded  
   from time to time.  Sometimes mice living in the wild  
   become so plentiful so as to become temporary  
   agricultural pests. Between 1790 and 1935, for example,   
   there were at least twenty mouse plagues in France, some 
   lasting several years. Given these three conditions--the 
   importance of honey bees to insect-pollinated crops, the 
   vulnerability of honey bee hives to mice, and the  
   explosive population potential of mice and rats--one  
   might ask if there could be a sequence of events 
   involving honey bees and mice that would adversely effect 
   the agricultural cycle.  - Michael Treitel

It may be interesting to note that it has been speculated that, without bees,
plants and crops as we know them would likely disappear within two or so year. 

On Bees in Campanella and Glaber's Leutard, 3 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l, Richard 
Landes <rlandes@ACS.BU.EDU>  posted:

   On Wed, 30 Aug 1995, Lynn H. Nelson wrote:

   > Merely as an historical note, the golden bees sewn on Napoleon'
   > coronation robe, which inspired his use of the bee as a symbol for his
   > family and government, had been uncovered in the 17th century in the
   > excavation of a Merovingian royal tomb in Tournai.

   Related footnote (alas not exactly in the "middle ages") the idea of
   bees as the symbol of social order was developed by Thomaso Campanella,
   first in a rather populist setting of the "city of the sun" and then,
   when he was wasting away in prison (for political sedition), he retooled
   the notion for imperial use. this prison work came to the attention of
   ideologues in Louis XIII's court and he was brought to Paris for his last
   years, where this ideology served as the "royal jelly" that produced the
   To shift the subject slightly, I have a problem with the symbolism of
   bees and Raoul Glaber's account of the heretic Leutard.  According to
   RG, this peasant fell asleep in the fields and a swarm of bees entered   
   his private parts (in eius corpus per secreta ingrederetur nature) and 
   stung him inside, coming out through his mouth and giving him his
   (apostolic/diabolic) mission.  The account is clearly influenced by
   Gregory of Tours' account of a peasant heretic (false Christ) who is
   driven mad by a swarm of flies.  I was under the impression that flies 
   are a symbol of bad and bees of good (especially being stung inside is an
   image of "compunction"). Is it significant, therefore, that Glaber
   has switched insect-agents in his tale, and that there may be a confused
   element of sympathy in his account of this mad heretic?

Michael F Hynes <mfh1@COLUMBIA.EDU> on bees in Campanella and Glaber's 
Leutard, 3 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l: 

   Don't forget Berbard de Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, 1723 which  
   exercised such an important influence on Smith's Wealth of Nations.

On bees in Campanella and Glaber's Leutard Eric Johnson 
<XEJOHNSON@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU> wrote, 4 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l:

   Can't remember source but it was actually crickets that were on    
   Merovingian robe that were mistaken for bees. The cricket was 
   believed to be a symbol of longevity and rebirth.

On Bees as Symbols:
Terry Lyden <jtlyden@EVANSVILLE.NET>, 4 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l:
      According to my trusty _Herder Symbol Dictionary (acquired, I might
   add, when I team-taught with a Jungian from the psychology department,
   in  a course on the thought of Joseph Campbell), the bee is,
   as several of the respondents to this thread have demonstrated, a
   ubiquitous symbol. Many of its uses pertain directly to the Middle
      The entry states the following: " It is an insect that primarily   
   symbolizes diligence, social organization, and cleanliness (since it 
   avoids everything dirty and lives from the fragrance of flowers).--In 
   Chaldea and imperial France, the bee was a regal symbol (for a long   
   time the queen bee was thought to be a king[more patriarchy?] ); it is 
   possible that the fleur-de-lis of the House of Bourbon developed from 
   the bee symbol.--In Egypt the bee and the sun were associated, and the 
   bee was considered to be a symbol of the soul.--In Greece it was 
   considered a priestly creature (the priestesses of Eleusis and Ephesus   
   were called bees, probably with reference to the virginity of the worker   
   bees).--The bee, which appears to die in winter and return in spring, is 
   sometimes a symbol of death and rebirth (e.g., of Persephone, Christ).  
   Because of its untiring work, the bee is a Christian symbol of hope. For   
   Bernard of Clairvaux the bee signifies the Holy Ghost. The bee is a 
   Christ symbol as well. Its honey represents Christ's gentleness and
   compassion; its stinger symbolizes Christ as judge of the world.
   --Since according to ancient tradition bees do no hatch their own
   young but collect them from blossoms, bees were symbols in the
   Middle Ages of the Immaculate Conception.--The bee is also symbolic
   of honey-sweet eloquence, intelligence, and poetry."

And, Karen L Green <klg19@COLUMBIA.EDU>, 6 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l, added in 
response to:

   > [more patriarchy?] ); it is possible that the fleur-de-lis of the House
   > of Bourbon developed from the bee symbol.

   That's interesting - I'd always heard that Napoleon chose bees because
   _they_ were an inversion of the royal fleur-de-lis!
   No one seems to have mentioned Vergil's Georgics yet, in connection with
   bees and their virtues - which certainly predates the Middle Ages.

Hans Broedel <broedel@U.WASHINGTON.EDU>, 7 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l, suggested: 

   Thomas of Chantimpre's _Boni universalis de apibus_ as the best
   source for bees in a Christian context and Johannes Nider's   
   _Formicarius_, a literal application of Proverbs 6:6, as he notes, and   
   another Dominican treatise in much the same vein, as a general  
   insect/bug reference.

Rick LaFleur <>, 3 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l, added:

   R. LaFleur, et al., "a re-examination of the mallia
   insect pendant," AJA 83 (1979) 208-12 and Plate 29.

On genealogy 

Robert Becraft <Wihtread@AOL.COM> is researching the surnames
Becraft, Beecraft, Beecroft, 4 Sep 1995, Mediev-l.
While, 5 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l, Paul Hyams offered:
     Ekwall, CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF PLACENAMES (or similar) s. vv.
     Ian Kershaw's book on the Estates of Bolton Priory for
   further references to, for example, beekeeping and apple orchards
W. Sayers <wsayers@ACCESS.DIGEX.NET>, 27 Aug 1995 on Mediev-l suggested:  
   _Bechbretha: An Old Irish Law-Tract on Bee-Keeping_, ed.
   (pages 38-49) for a useful discussion of 'Bee-keeping in early Ireland'    
   (with some consideration of Britain) plus Thomas Charles-Edward and 
   Fergus Kelly, Early Irish Law Series 1, Dublin: Dublin Institute for 
   Advanced Studies, 1983, for references to trespassing bees.

Cameron Shelley <>, 7 Sep 1995, recalls that some 
mention is made of bee cults by Robert Graves in _The Greek Myths_, 
but that references did not seem to appear in the index.

$ A medicinal lead:

John Sloan <JohnS426@AOL.COM>, 28 Aug 1995 on Mediev-l, remarked that a quick 
check of Frontinus and of Polyaenus produced no mention of the use of bees in
warfare but that he did recall reading somewhere of their use in mines warfare
where honey had important uses in the treatment of wounds. Also, he noted the
significant use of bees by Napoleon as he apparently had them everywhere.

Paul Hyams <prh3@CORNELL.EDU>, 5 Sep 1995 on Mediev-l, provided references to
seignorial apiaries with: 
   And while I am at it, here are a couple of references I happen to have
   to seignorial apiaries. In 1170, Gilbert Nep was supposed to keep the   
   apiary of Robert of Valognes, but was adjudged to have done so badly 
   enough to cause a loss of 9/8d which he had to repay, return to "Inquest 
   of Sheriffs", ENGLISH HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS, vol. II, no. 49. Cuxham had  
   a hive from 1350, Paul Harvey,  A MEDIEVAL OXFORDSHIRE VILLAGE, p. 63,   
   and other Merton College manors too I would guess. It would certainly be 
   sweet to collect all such references and see what they added up to.

(30 Aug 1995 on Mediev-l said she had a handwritten copy of the following 
item and provided it off-list, later agreeing to its posting to Latin-L for 

The following is believed to be from Stephanus Baluzus, *Capitularia Regum 
Francorum* vol 2. Venice: Antonius Zatta, 1773:

       Adiuro te, mater aviorum, per Deum regem caelorum, et per illum
   redemptorum filium Dei te adiuro ut non te altum levare, nec longe
   volare, sed quam plus cito potest ad arborem venire. Ibi te allocas
   cum omni tua genera, vel cum socia tua. Ibi habeo bono vaso parato,
   ubi vos ibi in Dei nomine laboretis, et nos in Dei nomine luminaria
   faciamus in Ecclesia Dei, et per virtutem Domini Nostri Iesu
   Christi, ut nos non offendat Dominus de radio solis, sicut vos
   offendit de egalo(?) flos. In nomine sanctae Trinitatis, amen.


This was posted for discussion to Latin-L since *mater aviorum* and *sicut vos
offendit de egalo(?) flos* is puzzling and thus far present somewhat of a
problem to translate. The following items were posted about this: 

Kenneth Kitchell <kitchell@HOMER.FORLANG.LSU.EDU>, 5 Sep 1995 on Latin-l, 
        I wonder if this is not a bee charm, designed to    attract bees to a
   person's property when they swarm.  The vase is either the vessel designed
   to be the hive (my first guess) or the bronze vessel which was struck in
   the (false) belief, as old as old can be, that bees were attracted by such
   sounds.  Thus, too, the flower would be one of the plants strewn around to
   attract the bees by its smell.
        I can not help with the flower name (you might try Albertus
   Magnus' De Vegetabilibus and I will look there later on) but the mater
   aviorum sounds for all the world like a queen bee flying, as they do,
   with her swarm (genera et socia).  Since aviorum is such an odd, if not
   impossible, form, I wonder if it might not be mater alvearum, "mother 
   of hives." 

Francisco Loaiza <floaiza@IDA.ORG>, 5 Sep 1995 on Latin-L, tended to 
question if this was actually about bees, suggesting: 

    If in fact this is about <bees> why not consider 
    <aviorum> as a phonetic variant of <apiarius> --> <apiariorum>.
    (Maybe by that time the <p> and the <v> were being mixed 
    up in some dialects(?))

Thomas Kaiser <tak@KAI.RHEIN-MAIN.DE>, 6 Sep 1995 on Latin-L, added:

     Kenneth Kitchell's "alvearum" for *aviorum* is a very sophisticated
   conjecture indeed, but with regard to the quality of the rest of the 
   text, I wonder if a simple *apium* might be possible as well. 
   Interesting to note, though, that the unemendated form yields some sort 
   of meaning, too, something like "mother of the swarm that has gone 
     It is very hard to make sense of *de egalo*. Apparently, if I 
   understand the simile correctly, it is something a flower puts bees to 
   shame with (or, if it read *floris*, a quality of the flower the Lord 
   puts bees to shame with), as He puts people to shame with a sunray  
   provided they do not make enough candles. But what that quality may be, 
   I do not know. Perhaps symmetry/proportion, i.e. *de aequali*?

Alan C. Lane <318ACL@PTSMAIL.PTSEM.EDU>, 7 Sep 1995 on Latin-L, remarked:

   It seems to me that the most obvious emendation for "mater aviorum" is
   simply "avium" the genitive of "avis," bird.  This seems in line with 
   the idea of lifting oneself high (in the air), with the verb "volare" in 
   the next line, and with the idea of coming to a tree to perch on, as 
   the rest of the species does.  Two possible explanations of the form 
   seem possible to me.  The first is that the author simply got confused 
   for a moment and wrote a second declension ending for the third 
   declension word.  Perhaps he was thinking of an adjective like "aviarus" 
   or some such thing.  The second is that, in the manuscript history, at 
   some time the form appeared as "avm" with a line over it to signify an 
   abbreviation.  Someone expanded it incorrectly (a typesetter, perhaps?) 
   as "aviorum" instead of the correct "avium". This seems to me the most 
   probable reason.  "Apium" is possible, and a good guess, since it needs 
   only the interchange of stop for fricative, but the references to trees 
   and lifting oneself high don't seem to make as much sense, at least in   
   my opinion.  A mistake in declension is also quite frequent, but I 
   think the manuscript expansion error seems the most reasonable.  Often 
   typesetters or copyists knew less Latin than the authors (usually? :-)) 
   and this leads to frequent mistakes in declensional ending. 
   In Du Cange's "Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis," tomus 
   tertius, p. 235,at the word "egalum", he writes:  "de egalo, id
   est, aeque, pariter, Gallice (that is, in French) "egalement",  Formula
   exorcismorum.  He then cites your text (!) as his reference. This may
   mean that this is just his guess at it, or perhaps he has other 
   examples as well which he does not cite.  In any case, it seems a good 
   guess, and you can't go far wrong citing Du Cange on such suppositions.   
   I hope that these suggestions may be useful to you.

Steve Gustafson <steve.gustafson@TFD.ORG>, 8 Sep 1995 on Latin-L, commented: 
   Allan C. Lane quoth:

   >The second is that, in the manuscript history, at some time the form  
   >appeared as "avm" with a line over it to signify an abbreviation.  
   > Often typesetters or copyists knew less Latin that the authors   
   >(usually? :-) ) and this leads to frequent mistakes in declensional   

   Something similar happened when many of the French Year Books
   (early English law reports) first got set in type.

   We now have very little idea what the first person plural ending
   of the verbs was in Law French.  The legal scriveners, copying the 
   reports and opinions, knew more etymology than they did French. They
   simply wrote the same squiggly that was the customary manuscript    
   abbreviation for -mus in Latin words at the end of every first person 
   plural form.  Given the non-legal manuscript evidence and the evidence
   of French historical linguistics, it is very unlikely that -mus is an   
   accurate representation of the Late Anglo-Norman French first person
   plural verb ending.

   So our printed Year Book texts contain forms like "nous avomus" (we   
   have) and "nous discomus" (we say.)  Lawyers wrote in this barbarous 
   jargon until the reign of Charles II.

Also note:
Holton, Frederick. "Literary Tradition and the Old English Bee Charm", 
JIES 21.1/2(1993) 37

From a found bibliography on bee related topics provided by A. Ingle 
(Original complier: Unknown) two older articles have been traced:
Betts, Annie D. "An Old Bee-Charm." Bee World 4(Nov. 1922a) 140.  

In an invocation, apparently of great antiquity, obtained by A.D. Betts from 
Sweet's _Anglo-Saxon Reader_, 1898 and discussed in the above article, bees 
are hailed as "sigewif" or "victorious women", which indicated to the article's
author that the charm originated from a time and people in which worker bees 
were recognized as female and in which a female had to do with war reasoning 
that it reminded one of the priestesses of the Earth-goddess. The writer 
indicated that she found interesting comparisons, especially in similarity of 
used phrases, between this invocation and a charm in 9th century German from 
the Codex of Lorsch, part of the Vatican library, and, felt both charms shared
an older common origin.   

The following is A. Betts' cited translation of the Charm from Sweet's 
_Anglo-Saxon Reader_:
   Against a swarm of bees. Take earth, throw (? stumble)
   with thy right hand under the right foot, and say: -  
    'I catch under foot, I found it. Lo! earth avails 
     against all creatures whatever, and against envy, and 
     against forgetfulness, and against the great tongue of   

   Throw over them sand when they warm and say: -

    'Sit ye, victorious women, settle to earth!
     Never ye wild to wood fly!
     Be ye as mindful of my good
     As be every man of meat and home.'

Betts also quoted the following from the charm from the Codex of Lorsch as 
displaying similarities to the charm recorded in Sweet's work:
       "Settle, settle, bee,
        St. Mary commands thee,
        Leave thou hast not,  
        To the wood fly not." 

There was a brief discussion of the possibility that the "(? stumble)" might 
parallel the old notion "in Bosnia, where it is believed that the bees will 
decamp if the owner stands upright, but will enter the hive if he crouches 
(cf. stumbles) on the ground and throw earth over them." This apparently stems
from the older belief that one obtained power from contact with Mother Earth.

Betts also reasoned that the tossing of sand, being a time old method of
settling bees, assisted the survival of charms such as these because of it 
would produce the desired effect and people would thus keep using them. Betts
was also interesting in trying to trace similar incantations from India and 
China for comparison purposes. 

In Vergil's Georgic IV: [86-87?]

[from gopher:// Vergil's Georgic IV pp. 105-6 of
138 on-line]

   Such fiery passions and such fierce assaults
   A little sprinkled dust controls and quells.

Dust is used to quell fighting.

Betts, Annie D. "Oxen-Born Bees." Bee World 5(Dec. 1923) 111-12.  

[From Mark Rose's summary posted on ANE, 8 Jun 1995, for sources for Medieval
times [see note above about M. Rose's summary being split up]: 

   According to Blue Guide, the defenders of the thirteenth-
   century Venetian castle at Kastello on the Aegean island  
   (Dodecanese) of Astipalaia fended off an assault on the 
   gates by dropping beehives on the attackers. No source is  
   Neufeld p. 55 and note 76: mentions a 1951 Spanish reference that 
   notes fragile earthen hives tossed at enemy ships in Syro-Palestinian  
   region during Greek and Roman period, a tactic later used in Aragon. 
   meanwhile, a few thousand miles away, Neufeld notes: 
   MAYA POPOL VUH lines 6899 ff: 
   And then Jaguar Quitze, Jaguar Night, Mahucutah, and True Jaguar had
   a plan. They made a fence at the edge of their citadel. They just made
   a palisade of planks and stakes around their citadel. 
   And then they asked Tohil about their plan.... 
   [Tohil speaks]  Do not grieve. I am here. And here is what you will use 
   on them. Do not be afraid, Jaguar Quitze, Jaguar Night, Mahucutah, and 
   True Jaguar were told, and then the matter of the yellow jackets and 
   wasps was set out. 
   And when they had gone to get these insects and come back with them, 
   they put them inside four large gourds, which were placed all around the  
   citadel. The yellow jackets and wasps were shut inside the gourds. These 
   were their weapons against the tribes. 
   And then they climbed up the mountainside, and now they were just a 
   little short of the edge of the citadel. 
   And then the gourds were opened--there were four of them around the
   citadel-and the yellow jackets and wasps were like a cloud of smoke when 
   they poured out of each of the gourds. And the warriors were done in, 
   with the insects landing on their eyes and landing on their noses, on 
   their mouths, their legs, their arms. The insects went after them 
   wherever they were. There were yellow jackets and wasps everywhere, 
   landing to sting their eyes. They had to watch out for whole swarms of 
   them, there were insects going after every single person. They were 
   dazed by the yellow jackets and wasps. No longer able to hold onto their 
   weapons and shields they were doubling over and falling to the ground 
   stumbling. They fell down the mountainside. 
   And now they couldn't feel a thing when they were hit with arrows and 
   cut with axes. Now Jaguar Quitze and Jaguar Night could even use sticks; 
   even their wives became killers. 
   This trans. is from Dennis Tedlock's book, Popol Vuh, New York: Simon & 
   Schuster 1985, pp. 194-196. The Quiche Maya text is a copy made by friar 
   Francisco Ximenez shortly after 1700. 
   Last Known Use (from Neufeld, p. 56, note 80): World War I, Germans in 
   East Africa (NYPL doesn't have the 1924 vol. of Bee World, so I don't 
   know any more about it). 

From Rhonda Wood <> off-list:  

   Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0EE, England, United Kingdom 
   (Tel 44 (01364) 64.33.01, FAX 44 (01364) 64.38.91)

Buckfast Abbey is where Brother Adam Kehrle, O.S.B., their eminent beekeeper,
developed the Buckfast bee.

Conrad A. Berube, presently working on a book on bees in culture and folklore,
is at <>. Here.

On a medicinal/antiseptic application of honey:
A small group of nuns living in an isolated settlement on Island Lake, Manitoba
told me that they had successfully used honey to treat a severe case of 
frostbite of the foot (c.1960's) when medical help could not be immediately 
reached; outside of waiting for help, the only other apparent option was to 
try an amputation. They decided to wait. Honey was said to be spread over the
injured foot which was blackening. The honey seems to have protected the 
injured area while it returned to normal body temperature. The skin apparently
did not greatly deteriorate or discolour. In a similar situation of not having
immediate access to medical assistance, recalling this tale, I tried honey on
myself on minor frostbitten areas on the face and wrists and noted that 
blistering and discoloration, which I had noticed can sometimes accompany even
mild frostbite, did not occur. !!! This is a comment only and is absolutely 
not to be misconstrued as a recommendation of any sort for anyone to try 
this as a treatment for frostbite. !!!
                                           Diane Cooper

And, note:

Valli, Eric and Summers, Diane. "Honey Hunters of Nepal," National Geographic,
Vol. 174(1988), 660-671.

Evidently, these two authors were in the process of publishing a book on this
topic at the time this article was printed. The honey bee in the above article
was Apis laboriosa, the world's largest honey bee.

Coins and stamps

The following contributions are responses to a query I posted to 
rec.collecting.stamps, 15 Oct 1995 - Stamps with bee image:

Michael Brinn <>, 15 Oct 1995:

   Hi! I collect ancient coins as well as stamps and noticed your 
   posting on the rcs. The bee was the city symbol of Ephysus. It 
   appears on the reverse of their coinage (ca.400BC). There is a 
   picture of one in a book - Coinage in the Greek World, by Carradice 
   and Price, published by B.A. Seaby Ltd., 8 Cavendish Sq. London, 
   England, W1M0AJ. You might be able to get it through your library.  
   Good Luck!  

Bert Hoflund <>, 17 Oct 1995:

   I think you should know about a thematic booklet pane with 10 stamps
   issued in Sweden in 1990. They depict the whole process from "Hunting
   for food" up to the "Honey Jar". The stamps are small but quite nice.

Andy Higgins <>, 19 Oct 1995:

   *****Scott #2281 is the most recent U.S. stamp with a Bee on it. This 
   issue is very collectable in that the printing process exhibits poor 
   "registration". This means that the Bee is found in many different 
   locations on different stamps. I have a copy whereby the Bee is seen 
   flying right off the edge of the stamp. Another has the Bee flying into 
   view from the opposite side; as well as others showing various positions 
   as the Bee comes in for a landing on the flower.

Michael Meadowcroft <>, 18 Oct 1995:

   Add a French 1979 issue, Yvert 2039, "Protection de la nature - 

   There is also a constant variety of a bunch of white dots on the classic 
   "laureated Emperor", 20 centimes blue, French stamp. The variety is 
   known and catalogued as "aux abeilles". It is Yvert 29Bc, catalogued, 
   used, at around 300 USDollars! ...

 Scott <>, 20 Oct 1995 

   Here's an anecdote ... those "killer" bees have made
   their way to San Diego county and were most recently
   sighted about 40 miles from my home.  They'll probably
   be here by next summer, and I'm allergic to bee stings.
   So, they're just about to spoil the nicest city I've
   ever lived in.

   On the stamp side, I have a few bee stamps from
   Sweden & Romania. ...  In volume 3, there is Hungary
   C139, Korea 302 (1960), Korea 1631 (1991) are the
   only ones I've actually seen.  There is also Mali
   550-53 (1987), and I'm sure there are others.

   In general, the topic of bees on stamps is a very
   limited one.  There will probably be less than 50

Rodney Knight <>, 23 Oct 1995

  Diane - a couple of Bulgarian stamps with bees

  SG 454 15st blue   beehive

  SG 472 30st orange beekeeping
  SG 473 30st dark green beekeeping (same picture)

These are all quite common stamps from around 1940 ...

And, finally, a little bee wit from Paul D. Buell <pbuell@HENSON.CC.WWU.EDU>,
27 Aug 1995 on Mediev-l in response to my 'bees in warfare query':

   Do you suppose ancient generals had to decide whether to "be or not to

Personally, I find this very amusing and appropriate especially if thought of
as 'to bee or not to be' and it is also a good reminder not to get overly
serious in one's labours of any sort. So, if this compilation of bee and honey
tidbits should end up, by the touch of a finger, falling off the edge of
cyberspace into that big honey-bucket, the mysterious bit-bucket where deleted
files go, then so be it. Or, if perchance it stings someone's inquisitiveness 
into a subsequent pursuit in some direction, then it will have served its 
purpose well. The little bee dance after the introduction will hopefully 
provide some directional pointers to useful resources for exploration.

And, sincere thanks to Jean Lindsay <>, for suggesting 
AegeaNet and J. Younger, Daniel P. Tompkins <>
for posting a comment on Latin-L, in Aug 1995, about toxic honey which piqued
my curiosity, Alex Ingle for generously providing a bee related bibliography
which he had acquired and all the listowners, moderators and managers, 
especially Linda Wright <>, Lynn H. Nelson 
<lhnelson@UKANAIX.CC.UKANS.EDU> and John Younger <>for 
assistance with searches and other helpful information. And lastly, thanks
to my host, CCN []. 

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