17 June, 2021

Solomon To Cheraman

On a different Spice Trail. Muziris, the lost port, and Kochi reimagined.

Sivaram V.
Solomon To Cheraman

And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheeba gave to king Solomon. (Bible: 1 Kings 10:10)

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22)

A tingle runs down your spine as you read the first of the verses. The awe the author reserves for it in these regnal chronicles reveal that spices occupied the same elevated position as gold and precious stones in 10th century BC, if not higher. The second verse gets more exciting as it proceeds to establish the trade links between Solomon’s kingdom (the Euphrates river in the north to Egypt in the south) and the ancient port of Muziris on the Malabar coast. Though the English verse is not exact about the location, etymological evidence exists in...

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