Honey – a miracle cure as old as the world
Bottinger has found 35-million-year-old bees fossils testifying to the age of the Apidae! Like the bear, prehistoric man has plundered the wild hives that were in the hollows of trees and in the crevices of the rocks. Amateur of honey, thief by necessity and gluttony, man became a neolithic beekeeper when he settled. Engravings and cave paintings depict catches of wild swarms and the first attempts to domesticate bees. In Cueva de Arana, Spain, an engraving dating back 9000 years presents a harvest of honey that draws more on the picking than the breeding. An almost identical scene appears in a cave of Mahadea in India.
After having plundered the wild swarms the men will empty the trunks and make hives with willow or earth to domesticate the bees. The word hive derives its name from the Gallic ruska which means bark. Until the Middle Ages one can distinguish the wild honey from the honey of apiary . Egyptians
Greeks and Celts of antiquity use honey for food medicine and religious rituals. Like Achilles whose body was plunged into honey to be brought back to his family the body of Alexander the Great was immersed in a coffin filled with honey to be transported to Macedonia.
Ramses III sacrificed every year 30000 jars of honey to the god Nil! Drink of immortality mead was served to the deceased for a final journey. Hippocrates also praised the benefits of honey. On the other hand it would be a honey that would have poisoned the soldiers of Xenophon in the 4th century before our era: on their return from a campaign in Asia Minor these soldiers poisoned themselves with rhododendron ponticum honey a toxic variety containing Andromedotoxin which made these warriors mad for several days.