In this post, I will discuss the first plant from the Mythological foldout, plant A1.

I propose to build high up on the Akherousian a great temple to the sons of Tyndareos for sailors out at sea to mark and reverence.

– Lykos, king of the Mariandyni in Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica.

mangoMNEM
Mnemonic

Like all plants on this foldout, the plant drawing has been mixed with an image from classical myth, as a mnemonic device. The image hidden in this plant is that of Castor and Pollux, the Dioskouri. These mythical twin sons of Zeus were revered as the protectors of travellers and sailors[1]. As such, they were particularly popular figures in the Eastern Hellenistic kingdoms.[2] A close visual match for our plant is found in many coins, like the one pictured above[3] (mirrored for easier comparison).

The root has eight “legs”. Four legs touch the ground, and the four on the right are raised. The raised legs form two pairs. Two straight, empty branches grow upwards at an angle. On the top left, two round objects grow from the plant. I take these to represent greenish fruits, since one of them is left white, and the other one is coloured in a rare shade of green, different from the leaves in other plants. Their shape also suggests more volume than one would expect of a leaf.

Just like in our root, we see eight legs: four on the ground and four rearing. The twins’ spears are represented by the two empty, straight branches. Finally, our plant’s fruit is a match for the riders’ billowing capes. After much trial and error with other possibilities, I have found out that it is this word that we will need for our mnemonic: the Greek word for cape is κάπα ‎(kápa).

Label

The label is the one to the plant’s bottom right, as the one to its left belongs with the jar. It reads KamangoLABELp or Kaip, ignoring the initial “o-“ as an article. This is a good match for our mnemonic word kápa.


Plant ID

mangoPLANTMango, more specifically the green, unripe variety, also called raw mango. Raw mango was used in cooking when the sweetness of the ripe fruit was not desired. Today it still knows many culinary uses.[4]

As we can see in the image[5] above, the fruit in the manuscript matches the shape – and even the colour to some extent – of unripe mangos. My interpretation as “green mango” and not just “mango” is additionally guided by the assumption that traders or travellers would prefer to stock an unripe version of the fruit.

The Hindi word for green mangos is kairi. The same word is retained as keri in Gujarati, the language spoken in the region where India borders Pakistan. Its ultimate origin is unclear, since most languages, including European ones, adopted a southern Indian word for the fruit. Possibly through a shortening of Sanskrit kapitthaphala, “a species of mango tree”[6].

So putting it all together:

The foreign word for this fruit is KAIPI. To remember this word, think of the fruit drawn as a KAPA (cloak).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castor_and_Pollux

[2] Ladislav Stančo, Greek Gods in the East: Hellenistic Iconographic Schemes in the Central Asia. Prague: Karolinum Press, 2012.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_VII_Sidetes

[4] See http://zesterdaily.com/world/unripe-fruit-for-vietnamese-green-mango-salad/ for some recipes.

[5] Edited from http://gardener-pro-ok.blogspot.be/2008/09/how-to-grow-mango-trees.html

[6] http://sanskritdictionary.com/kapitthaphala/49289/1

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