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called “the Hesperian apple.” He does not say that it grew on the Mount Atlas cedar ; for who knew better than the King of Mauritania that such was not the case ? Nevertheless, the ignorant public thought so.
The kitrion is called the apple of the Hesperides.
and possesses the same virtues. Therefore the Median apple must grow upon the citrus. Such was the popular argument, and it was a plausible one. But the botanists did not fall into this vulgar error.
Oppius Chares, who lived about the end of the Republic, wrote in his book on forest trees : “There is the citrus apple-tree, and the Persian apple-tree ; one grows in Italy, the other in Media.” Apuleius (A.D. 160) makes the same distinction. Nevertheless, Galen, writing at the same period, tells us that no one ever talked about a .“ Median apple," but everyone styled that fruit kitrion (Vol. xii. p. 77, Kuhn's Edition).
The egregious error was perpetuated when the modern botanists adopted citrus as the generic name for the group of plants to which belong the orange, lemon, citron, and lime. It is too late to correct that mistake, but it is not too late to correct what I venture to think is equally a mistake, and that is the translation of citrus by "citrontree,” and citreum malum (or kirpiov uijor) by “citron,” which we find in most dictionaries and lexicons. It is that translation which has so obscured the history of the orange, and led many to suppose that the fruit was unknown to the Greeks and the Romans.
The word citrus should probably be translated (1) the Mount Atlas cedar ; (2) a popular term for the bitter orange-tree.
Similarly the expression citreum malum (Greek, kitplov uñor) should be rendered (1) the apples, or cones, of the Mount Atlas cedar ; (2) a popular term for the bitter orange.
I am quite willing to admit that the citron may have been included in the above denominations ; for if the ancients were acquainted with the bitter orange, there is no reason why they should not have been equally well acquainted with the citron, and vice versa. At any rate, they did not make any distinction between the numerous and closely allied species of the botanical genus, of which both the orange and citron are members.
But I contend that the ancient descriptions which have been left
of the Median apple, or kitrion, apply to the Seville orange rather than to the citron, and that “Seville orange " is the English equivalent for the above Latin and Greek names.
At the memorable banquet described by Athenæus (A.D. 228), the 'conversation happens to turn on the subject of the orange [hirpior], and whether that fruit was ever mentioned, or alluded to, by ancient writers, and one of the learned guests delivers his opinion on the point : “I am induced, my friends, by what Theophrastus says about the leaves of the tree, and its colour and fragrance, to believe that he is speaking of the orange, and do not any of you be surprised at his saying that the fruit is never eaten, for, until our grandfathers' time, nobody used to eat it, but they used to stow it away in their chests, along with their clothes, as though it were some great treasure.” He then proceeds to relate a marvellous but improbable story : “A fellow.citizen of mine, who was entrusted with the government of Egypt, sentenced some convicts to be given to the wild beasts, and as they were on their way to the theatre appropriated for the purpose, a woman, selling fruit at the roadside, gave them out of pity a bit of an orange which she was eating, and they ate it. Shortly afterwards they were exposed to the attacks of some great wild beasts, and bitten by asps, but suffered no injury. The governor felt quite at a loss to account for it. But when he learnt from the soldier, who had charge of the prisoners, that they had had a piece of an orange given to them, he ordered next day that some of them should have a piece of an orange served out to them, and others none. And those who had had the orange received no injury when bitten, but the others died at once. And after repeating the experiment, he discovered that the orange was an antidote for all kinds of poison. Now, if you stew a whole orange, together with its pips in Attic honey, until it is dissolved, and take a mouthful or two the first thing in the morning, you will never suffer any ill effects from poison."
When the other guests heard this, they began to attack a dish of oranges with such avidity that one would have supposed that they had had nothing to eat or drink all that day!
Palladius, who lived about 350 A.D., and was the author of a treatise in the nature of a “ Farmer's Calendar," mentions some orange-trees (citri), which were to be seen growing on his own estate in the Neapolitan territories of Sardinia, in a situation where the soil and aspect were moderately warm, and there was plenty of moisture, and he observes how his trees bore fruit continuously, just as they were said to do in Assyria. (Scriptores Rei Rusticæ, p. 940.)
And, lastly, we learn from the Saturnalia of Macrobius (Book III. ch. 19) that in the fifth century the kitrion, or “Persian apple” of Virgil, had lately become a product of Italian soil.
Such is the history of the bitter orange-tree, as gleaned from the works of ancient writers. At first, the yellow fruit was carried to Greece, ripening as it went ; but no man knew how it grew. Later on, attempts were made to raise it from seed, after the Median fashion, in earthenware pans. Pliny, writing in the first century, advises that the young orange-plants, which were sent from a distance to Italy, should be very closely packed while in transit ; and so we presume the growing tree was transferred with success from its native soil ; but, even then, it was only planted in flower pots, and used to adorn the houses of the wealthy.
Three centuries later, we first hear of the tree growing out-ofdoors in favoured situations; but in many places it required a covering in winter to protect it from the frost.
Where the Romans had failed the Moors succeeded. The latter people reintroduced the bitter orange-tree into Europe on their conquest of Spain, and it soon became thoroughly acclimatised. According to the historian Masoudi, it was brought by the Arabs from India, at a date somewhat subsequent to the 300th year of "the Flight,” which would correspond to the year of our Lord 912. In the ancient language of India, the fruit was termed nagrungo, and the naine survives in the modern Hindustani narungee. Westward spread the Indian fruit, and with it spread the name of naranj, which the Arabs had adopted from the natives of India. The tree was first raised from seed at Oman in Arabia. Thence it travelled to Syria and became a very common object in the houses of the inhabitants of Tarsus and other towns in Syria. It was also carried to Egypt, where it had never been known previously, but it was observed that the fruit lost much of the pleasant taste and rich colour which it possessed in India owing to changes of soil and climate.
In the well-known Arabian story of “ Ali Nur al-Din," which belongs to this period, a beautiful garden near Cairo is described, in which blood oranges, lemons, and citrons are represented as growing. And in that of the “ Three Ladies of Baghdad,” oranges are exposed for sale on the fruiterer's stall, but some caution is needed if we would treat such tales as historical evidence.
When the Moors conquered Andalusia they introduced into Western Europe this Indian variety of the bitter fruit, and also its Oriental name.
The old Roman name of citrus was entirely superseded by the Spanish term naranja, so far as concerns the orange, and was appropriated to its congener, the citron properly so called. The Romance languages softened the word into arangi, and the modern spelling, orange, was evidently suggested by a fanciful derivation of the name from or (aurum), gold.
There is reason to believe that the Arabs introduced some comparatively sweet varieties of the orange into the Levant, but the really sweet fruit—the parent of the oranges whose peel litters our streets during the winter months-was all this time flourishing unknown in far Cathay. When, in the sixteenth century, the old Portuguese navigators penetrated to the distant East, they brought home from China this most popular fruit. What was regarded as the first imported tree, planted in 1547, was to be seen growing at Lisbon two centuries ago, and, for aught I know, it may be growing there still.
Our old name of “ China orange ” lingers only in a proverb, but the Germans continue to call the fruit Apfelsine, that is, “apple of China,” and so commemorate its domicile of origin ; while the Italian name Portugallo points us to its discoverers. It is a noteworthy fact that the Arabs, while retaining the name naranj to signify the bitter orange which they brought from India, have themselves adopted the term bortukan to indicate the sweet variety which came to them from Portugal.
The first recorded appearance of the fruit in England is in 1290 (Edward I.'s reign), when a large Spanish ship arrived at Portsmouth with a cargo of fruit, out of which the Queen, Eleanor of Castile, purchased fifteen citrons and seven oranges. In her own country she must have been familiar with the latter fruit, and the yellow oranges may have served to remind her of her old home (Chambers's Book of Days, vol. ii.). The next notice is in the year 1399, when pomes d'orring figure among the dishes at the coronation banquet of Henry IV. (Harl. MSS. 279). In 1509 the oranges procured for the daily dinner of the Lords of the Star Chamber cost twopence; and some old household accounts for the year 1530, belonging to the Lestrange family of Hunstanton, contain the item, “Paid for oranges threepence.” For a banquet given by the Mayor of Norwich to the Duke of Norfolk and others in the year 1561, sixteen oranges were purchased for twopence (Leland, Itin. vol. v.). The orange is twice mentioned in Shakespeare's play of “Much Ado about Nothing," and Machyn's Diary informs us that on May-day 1559 the revellers at the Queen's palace at Westminster threw eggs and oranges at one another.
The tree itself was not introduced into England until a later date.
In a survey of the manor of Wimbledon made in the year 1649, an orange-house is described in which were forty-two large orange-trees planted in square boxes, and valued at £10 apiece.
Pepys's Diary, under the date April 19, 1664, contains the entry: “To the Physique garden in St. James' Parke, where I first saw orange-trees.” And on June 25, 1666, the writer continues: “Here” (at Lord Brooke's house at Hackney) "I first saw oranges grow, some green, some half, some a quarter, and some full ripe, on the same tree, and one fruit of the same tree do come a year or two after the other. I pulled off a little one by stealth (the man being mightily curious of them) and eat it, and it was just as other little green small oranges are, as big as half the end of my little finger.”
The same old gossip tells us elsewhere how, on one occasion, he regaled his guests with China oranges, “a great rarity since the war, none to be had”; and how, on another, he drank a pint of orange juice at a draught, but, "it being new," he was doubtful whether it might not do him hurt.”
Queen Mary, the consort of William III., began to collect exotic plants in 1690, and some of the orange and citron trees which formed part of her collection are still to be seen at Hampton Court Palace. The orange was symbolical of the Royal House, and many specimens of the tree were imported into England from Holland. But at Beddington, Surrey, there was, in 1691, a garden belonging to the Carew family, and containing what is described as being the finest orangery in England. The trees were said to be nearly a hundred years old, measured thirteen feet in height, and were covered with fruit.
It is hopeless to expect that a plant which is so fastidious as to its surroundings, and so susceptible to cold, and which grows with difficulty in many parts of Italy and Greece, can adapt itself to our inhospitable climate. An orange-tree must always remain to the English what it was to the ancient Romans, a delicate and curious exotic.
But its fruit, once so rare and precious, has become a most familiar object in every corner of the civilised world. No less than eighty distinct varieties of the orange have been produced by cultivation. Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australia vie with one another in supplying the world's demand for this most delicious fruit.
THOMAS H. B. GRAHAM.