Sunday, December 04, 2016

Punic pomegranates?

PUNIC WATCH: In season: Pomegranates, the fruit of myths (Jeff Cox, The Press Democrat). This article deals in part with the historical use of the pomegranate and it mentions some interesting details. No ancient references are given and I have not verified the details, but I quote a paragraph here for whatever it is worth.
The Phoenicians established colonies around the Mediterranean, including at Carthage in North Africa. The Romans called Carthage Punis — a word derived from Phoenicia — hence “the Punic Wars.” They called the pomegranate mala punica, or “Carthaginian apple.” And punica became the name of the genus to which the pomegranate belongs. The gem we call garnet comes from “granate” in the word pomegranate, and is the color of the juicy seed sacs.
Another recent post on the ancient background of the pomegranate is here.