Caesar’s favourite herb was the Viagra of ancient Rome. Until climate change killed it off

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, May 16, 2022.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Last edited: May 16, 2022
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  3. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Seriously, "climate change"? What clickbait. Everyone knows what led to it going extinct, not "climate change" but human destruction of the environment and spread of the Sahara. Same is true of the wheat growing regions in North Africa. Humans have enlarged deserts and destroyed temperate regions forever. Yes, we know that. Yes, we should try to undo this environmental damage we done and continue to do. We are, at this moment, destroying Lake Chad, the only major lake in the Sahara and enlarging by overgrazing all around the Sahara.

    I just objected to "climate change" in the title, because that only has one meaning in modern thinking. Humans have damaged the environment in untold ways around the world not in regards to CO2 at all. Look at the Aral Sea. How about we fix these, shrink the Sahara, reroute water and replant trees. Gee, they suck up CO2 and cool the earth at the same time as well. Lots and lots of ways to heal the earth from what we have PROVABLY done, but IMHO we ignore praying to the CO2 elimination altar.

    Sorry, end rant.
     
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  4. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah, I always understood that the plant was wiped out do to over-harvesting. What's climate change got to do with that?
     
  5. nerosmyfavorite68

    nerosmyfavorite68 Well-Known Member

    Didn't ancient historians claim that it silphium was wiped out on purpose, to avoid extra taxes?

    When I was choosing my Solidus of APsimar the admiral, one of the silver coins featuring Silphium (I forget the denomination) was one those in contention.

    I guess 'climate change' could have done it. The Carthage area was once a wheat growing area. How soon after the Muslim invasion did that change? I can't remember where I read it, but I read somewhere recently that the Vandals let a lot of land go fallow.
     
  6. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Well-Known Member

    @robinjojo Thank you for posting about this!
    Here is the original referenced study:
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2021.785962/full

    Reading the article reveals several issues:

    1. The discussion of classification covers many similarities with existing plant but cannot reconcile the obvious differences.

    2. The discussion on climate is thorough but has to gloss over/ignore some contradictory findings.

    3. Overcultivation and overgrazing are listed in ancient sources as the major contributing factors as also mentioned in the article and probably played a major role.

    4. While silphium reportedly had multiple medical uses. Pliny the Elder, in Natural History, called this extract “among the most precious gifts presented to us by Nature.” Multiple sources describe its use as a condiment and medicine. The ancient sources are indirect for an aphrodisiac (poem by Catullus) as stated in the Guardian article, but its real value may have been that it was used as an contraceptive and/or abortifacient. Soranus, the Roman gynecologist, wrote that women looking to prevent conception or “destroy any already existing” should take a chick-pea-sized dose of silphium. Besides this oral contraception method, Soranus also lists an alternative method that involves inserting a tuft of wool soaked in silphium juice into the vagina.

    Ancient references state the Battid dynasty was very strict in controlling silphium harvesting and protecting it to maximize profits and sustainability. But Roman officials looking to maximize profits promoted overharvesting and did not protect the land. I wonder if the Roman Senate was the first administration to blame changes in climate as a deflection from the real cause of government corruption, mismanagement and neglect?

    Here are some additional sources regarding the medical properties, appearance and history of silphium, including:
    Peretz, M. "Silphium: the wonder drug from Cyrenaica" Pharm hist 2005 Sep;35(3):45-7:
    https://publikationsserver.tu-braun...te_00044310/Pharmaceutical-historian-2005.pdf
    Asciutti, V. "The Silphium plant: analysis of ancient sources" thesis 2004.
    http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/3166/1/3166_1191.pdf
    Miski, M. "Next Chapter in the Legend of Silphion: Preliminary Morphological, Chemical, Biological and Pharmacological Evaluations, Initial Conservation Studies, and Reassessment of the Regional Extinction Event" Plants (Basel). 2021 Jan; 10(1): 102.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825337/

    One of my favorite representations of silphium in my collection:
    jt851.jpg
    Kyrene - Euhesperides alliance AR tetradrachm
    480-435 BC 17.18 gm, 27 mm
    O: silphium plant, type Ic; [Σ] - Ε / [Ε] - V around
    R: head Zeus Ammon right; ΚΥΡ upward to right
    cf BMC 60e (VII:19)
     
  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a beautiful coin!

    I am still learning about the uses and commercial value of this plant in the ancient world. Like so many of our present day natural resources over exploitation and habitat degradation pose serous current and long term threats to the health and well being of our planet. The story of silphium and its fate is a lesson to be heeded.
     
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  8. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor Supporter

    Just finished lecturing on the climate and biomes earlier today. Here are 2 great programs from NASA that are interactive, meaning that you can change different outlooks and possibilities over time using previous satellites information. Once I started these, things become quite obvious about the future of the earth and humans and the rest of the inhabitants. It does not look good for us once we hit 450-500ppm of CO2. Jim

    https://climate.nasa.gov/interactives/climate-time-machine

    https://eyes.nasa.gov/apps/earth/#/...ng=t&start=2022-05-02&end=2022-05-08&latest=t
     
  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    With all due respect, as you are one of the most revered members here sir, has any model been shown to have any predictive validity? Last I have heard, not one of them has any validity as to future events past a few months, they only fit to historical data. I lectured my classes in MBA Finance that anyone can backfit a model, it does not give it predictive, therefore causal, validity. Without a valid model, I am simply unwilling to destroy advanced economies, (which produce much less CO2 per GDP output than everyone else anyway).

    Btw, what do you feel about my reforestation idea? Deforestation has massive effects on heating up the earth and absorb literally tons of CO2 while doing so. I simply do not believe we can reduce CO2 emissions enough to do anything if China and India do not participate. I read all of western Europe and North America could have zero emissions and the world CO2 levels would continue to climb due to China and India. Its like waste in the oceans, without attacking China and India, nothing is being done.
     
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  10. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor Supporter

    Thank you for the comments! I did tell the students that at my age now, I will probably be underground by then. In the lecture, I tried to get through to the students that this was not like other world dark clouds events such as the pandemic which I had discussed before in a different area, this one is like going over the peak of a high mountain, and finding you have no brakes. for the other side. It is unpredictable as to the extent of death or damage until you stop. A truck driver make stay in front of you and help slow you down so you can reach a level point or you keep going, increasing in speed until you fly off into "hereafter". Reforestation is an excellent idea unless there are not enough resources ( fresh water) to support them, or they turn to the other side and decay and produce even more CO2 release. The problem started at the beginning of the industrial revolution ( approx. 250ppm of CO2 ) and continues still today in greater acceleration. I fear for my young relatives that they will have the burden. Unlike previous hard events such as world wars, etc, there will be no safe places on the earth, just a relative comparison with other areas until they also. IMO, this is not a political situation as all are in the same boat ( Earth). IMO, Jim
     
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I wish I was an optimist on the climate crisis, but as time moves on I become more and more pessimistic that mitigation measures will be implemented within the very narrow timeframe that we now have.

    I've cut back on driving, which for me is easy since I am retired and a bit of homebody by nature. The last time I filled up the car was in November and I haven't added an gas since then. I also try to reduce my energy consumption by running appliances, including the computer, during off peak hours.
     
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  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    If you don't mind my asking, where did you get that magnificent tetradrachm?
     
  13. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    Looks like this one.

    Here's my (far less grand) silphium example.

    Magas.jpg
     
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  14. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Well-Known Member

    Thanks
    https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=6945642
    These “alliance” tets are extremely rare and this is an unrecorded die type. Heritage offered a couple of them a few years ago. I couldn’t resist the details on the silphium despite being flat at the bottom and a little off center.
     
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  15. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor Supporter

    Surprising to many is that an increasing offender are Bitcoin miners.

    "The University of Cambridge estimates that Bitcoin alone generates 132.48 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, which easily surpasses the annual energy usage of Norway at 123 TWh in 2020. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by this energy usage will vary depending on how that energy was created. But in 2020, the US — where 35.4% of Bitcoin mining takes place since China banned cryptocurrency mining in 2021 — created .85 pounds of carbon dioxide per kWh. This results in nearly 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide produced by US Bitcoin mining alone."

    https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/cryptocurrency-environmental-impact

    No single individual, No political party, no individual state or country, no individual continent can stop the advance by themselves. It would take the efforts of all of the industrialized countries to level or reduce the carbon dioxide level around the earth. Some people try to make everything political so it can be brushed off or removed, I leave it to other moderators if action needs to be taken as I am involved in it. Jim
     
  16. John Skelton

    John Skelton Morgan man!

    "The problem started at the beginning of the industrial revolution ( approx. 250ppm of CO2 ) and continues still today in greater acceleration."

    It no doubt helped accelerate it, but it also happened earlier in America. As the colonies needed wood for building, the impact of taking down close to 3,000 trees to start changed the climate in the area. Trees may be renewable, but why bother taking them down in the first place?
     
  17. Ryro

    Ryro Trying to remove supporter status Supporter

    No offense to silphium, but I'm pretty sure this is Caesar's favorite herb...
    20210808_134643.jpg
     
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