Pepper Lore and LegendDuring the Middle Ages, peppercorns were worth their weight in gold. Wealthy aristocrats kept stores of peppercorns as collateral, since all recognized their value as currency. Peppercorns were accepted as payment for rents and debts.
Original exploration voyages to the Far East were initiated in search of valuable spices such as pepper. Pepper was considered one of the five essential luxuries upon which foreign trade with the Roman empire was based, the others being African ivory, Chinese silk, German amber, and Arabian incense.
The term "peppercorn rent" is often used to denote a pittance, but in medieval times, a pound of pepper was the equivalent of a pound of gold or up to three weeks' labor for trade purposes.
When the king of the Visigoths put forth his demands for release of the city of Rome in 408 A.D., three thousand pounds of pepper were on his ransom note.
More About Pepper, Peppercorns, and Pepper Recipes:• Peppercorns and Pepper Selection and Storage
• Peppercorn Varieties
• Pepper Cooking Tips
• Peppercorns and Pepper History
• Pepper Lore
• Pepper Recipes
Peppercorns Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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