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Foods and Culinary Utensils of the Ancients

The territories ruled by Chaldea


three territories may be roughly classed as the northern, or the region of the "ruddy men;" the central, the region of the "tawny men," and the southern, the region of the "blacks."

To the offspring of Japheth was allotted Garbia (the north)--Spain, France, the countries of the Greeks, Sclavonians, Bulgarians and Armenians. The offspring of Shem were given the central region--Palestine, Syria, Assyria, Samaria, Babel or Babylonia, and Hedjaz (Arabia). The sons of Ham received the southern division--Teman (or Idumea), Africa, Nigritia, Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Scindia and India.

Various causes scattered the posterities of the three brothers, and nations were founded in many parts of the world.

Ultimately six great monarchies were established, Chaldea, Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Media and Persia.


The territories ruled by Chaldea, Assyria and Babylonia were located almost entirely on the vast plains of Mesopotamia. Although (or rather because) these nations were continually at war with one another they may be considered, for present purposes, as one country.

Babylonia was the first to be settled, with Nimrod, the mighty hunter, as its monarch, about 2350 B. C.


Assyria advanced rather more in civilization than the other two, the constant warfare waged and the varying degrees of supremacy and subjection held by the three kingdoms necessarily resulted in much intermingling of their inhabitants and a consequent similarity of domestic manners and customs as they emerged from barbarism.

Agriculture soon became the most general industry. Wheat, barley, millet and sesame were largely raised. Other varieties of pulse and grains were plentiful also, as well as many excellent fruits, which have since been transported to our own countries with remarkable success.

The different grains were ground to varying degrees of fineness between two stones. The flour or meal was then moistened with water, kneaded in a dish or bowl, and either rolled into thin cakes or pressed by the hand into small balls or loaves.

The wheaten bread was generally preferred, but the poorer classes were perforce content with the cakes of coarse millet or durrha flour, eaten with milk, butter, oil or the fat of animals.

Dates formed an important article of diet amongst the people of Chaldea and Babylonia, although they do not appear to have been very favorably regarded by the Assyrians. Date groves flourished in many parts of the land, and the fruit was dried and pressed into cakes. These with goats' milk and such vegetables as gourds, melons and cucumbers helped nourish the great mass of the population.

Other fruits, some of them found in great numbers, were pomegranates, grapes, citrons, pineapples, oranges, pears, apples and many small berries.

Bread, wine and a kind of honey were made from the fruit of the palm tree.

King Sennacherib called Assyria "A land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil, olives and honey."

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