About Honey



DEFINITION

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) honey is defied as a sweet substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honeybees. When it matures in the honeycombs, the honeybees seal it with a film of wax. Exact replication of honey under laboratory conditions has been impossible, although science is aware of honey's constituent elements.

HONEY AS PRIMARY FOOD

Today archaeologists have ample information concerning the practices of collection and consumption of honey during the prehistoric times. In the Cueva de Aranja of Valencia (Spain) there is an interesting cave painting dating from the Paleolithic period depicting collection of honey produced by wild bees. A stone relief from the area of Aboukir (Egypt, 2560-2450 BC) represents a series of apiculture activities, e.g. collection of honey from cylindrical clay hives. The sacred animals of Egypt and the scarabs of Pharaohs were fed with fresh honey. The Egyptians themselves believed that honey comes from the tears of a virtuous Pharaoh. There are tribes in Africa and India that still collect wild honey from rock crevices and tree hollows.

HONEY IN PREHISTORIC GREECE

The introduction of the apiculture in Greece is attributed to Aristaeos, a mythical figure, or to Solon who claimed to have been initiated in this art by the Egyptians. The Minoans were quite skilled in beekeeping and honey harvesting owing to the fact that they had established commercial relations with the Egyptians and other peoples of northern Africa. This is evidenced by the renowned piece of gold jewelry representing a complex of two bees and honeycomb that was found in the area of Malia (Crete). Notwithstanding the fact that apiculture demands skilled training, the Greeks, as well as other peoples, enjoyed honey by collecting it from hives made by wild bees inside tree hollows and caves. During the first centuries of the 3rd millennium we have information with regard to wax uses in Poliochne of Lemnos and ancient Troy. The wax was used to fashion molds for the construction of tools. The first ancient beehive (1628 BC) found in Greece comes from Akrotiti of Thera. This find is at least one millennium older than the earliest evidence we have about agriculture in Greece.

 

Honey