Jump to content

Aphrodite and myrtle

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I went to Senirkent, an Isparta town, at the weekend. I was surprised to see those small white berries, namely mersin (myrtle or Myrtus communis) as mersin is a typical Mediterranean fruit and grown in gardens for its medical benefits and fragrant flowers (even leaves and branches)..

The berries have a strong taste, and, although it is so common, I hardly met anybody who  ate the berries..

They are abundant and free in the coastal towns, but in that town market of Isprata , expensive!! Who buy them and why? I think the news about its medical benefits are widespread now. But again, there is a confusion about it: Yaban mersini is bilberry, and those who don’t know the difference think that mersin and yaban mersini are the same fruit..even most of the market sellers don’t know this difference..

Yaban mersini means ‘wild mersin’, but mersin is already a wild plant , not cultivated yet, so they must be the same thing!

Yaban mersini or bilberry grows in the eastern parts of the Black Sea Region, and called ‘likapa’ by the local people. In literature, yaban mersini is a standard name for bilberry. But I’m not sure if the dried fruits sold at the markets of the tourist zones are really the dried bilberries or another stuff.

As to mersin or myrtle, there is also a dark variety of it, and the name 'murt' is generally used for that dark kind. In Fethiye (mostly white ones are there) the  local people believe that it is a kind of natural antibiotic and some literature support this: Researchers say it is traditionaly used as an antibacterial and disinfectant drug, to list only a few of its benefits .(Not only the berries, the leaves and their steam distilled oil are used)

There is another reason for its popularity, mythology..or some remote  memories of mythology, I should say. In Antakya, myrtle branches are placed on graves. However, nobody knows why..

On some special religious days, boys gather around the cemeteries with myrtle branches to sell..

The Antakya area had witnessed the life and believes of many cultures..

Do they somehow ‘remember’ the association of myrtle with Aphrodite, or the Hellenes who carried boughs of myrtle to funerals? Aphrotide was the guardian of the gates of birth and death, and I’m sure she would be happy to see the myrtle boughs on cemeteries today! Maybe she really knew the secret of going beyond the time limits..:wink:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, probably the orginal name was 'mersinlik' , meaning the place where mersins grow or are abundant. There are many more places sharing their names with plants..

Yes, it was called İçel, but even then, the name Mersin was used, but these two names were denoting different administrative concepts: The larger one was covering the smaller district.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎21‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 4:50 PM, saffron said:

I went to Senirkent, an Isparta town, at the weekend. I was surprised to see those small white berries, namely mersin (myrtle or Myrtus communis) as mersin is a typical Mediterranean fruit and grown in gardens for its medical benefits and fragrant flowers (even leaves and branches)..

The berries have a strong taste, and, although it is so common, I hardly met anybody who  ate the berries..

They are abundant and free in the coastal towns, but in that town market of Isprata , expensive!! Who buy them and why? I think the news about its medical benefits are widespread now. But again, there is a confusion about it: Yaban mersini is bilberry, and those who don’t know the difference think that mersin and yaban mersini are the same fruit..even most of the market sellers don’t know this difference..

Yaban mersini means ‘wild mersin’, but mersin is already a wild plant , not cultivated yet, so they must be the same thing!

Yaban mersini or bilberry grows in the eastern parts of the Black Sea Region, and called ‘likapa’ by the local people. In literature, yaban mersini is a standard name for bilberry. But I’m not sure if the dried fruits sold at the markets of the tourist zones are really the dried bilberries or another stuff.

As to mersin or myrtle, there is also a dark variety of it, and the name 'murt' is generally used for that dark kind. In Fethiye (mostly white ones are there) the  local people believe that it is a kind of natural antibiotic and some literature support this: Researchers say it is traditionaly used as an antibacterial and disinfectant drug, to list only a few of its benefits .(Not only the berries, the leaves and their steam distilled oil are used)

There is another reason for its popularity, mythology..or some remote  memories of mythology, I should say. In Antakya, myrtle branches are placed on graves. However, nobody knows why..

On some special religious days, boys gather around the cemeteries with myrtle branches to sell..

The Antakya area had witnessed the life and believes of many cultures..

Do they somehow ‘remember’ the association of myrtle with Aphrodite, or the Hellenes who carried boughs of myrtle to funerals? Aphrotide was the guardian of the gates of birth and death, and I’m sure she would be happy to see the myrtle boughs on cemeteries today! Maybe she really knew the secret of going beyond the time limits..:wink:

Thanks for this Saffron, I am fascinated by herbs, spices and fruits. Earlier this week I saw on a cooking 'filler' programme that had Turkish subtitles they translated cranberries as 'Yaban Mersin'

Link to post
Share on other sites

You’re welcome, İbrahim Abi..

Yes, cranberry is part of the confusion. It seems there is a general tendency to put all the Vaccinium species growing in the Black Sea Region (eastern parts) into one fictive category of ‘yaban mersini’..

Bilberry naturaly grows in the region.

So not only some  local names (likapa, ayı üzümü, çoban üzümü..) a standard name is already established, too, namely yaban mersini, for V. myrtillus , though some writers use this botanical name for blueberry, (even in the scientific literature in English).. The name yaban mersini must be given to  bilberry because of the resemblance of the leaves of myrtile (mersin) to the the leaves of bilberry, just like the bilberry which is called ‘V.  myrtillus’ for the same reason.. As to the  the other Vaccinium species available in the region, cranberry is not native, but cultivated.  The term offered for cranberry is turnayemişi, which is a direct translation  of ‘cranberry’. I don’t know if this term is established or not in the agronomy circles yet, but at least in the commercial circles it seems to be accepted..

So, within that framework of names, there is no reason to call cranberry ‘yaban mersini’..

Those who make this kind of TV programs either don’t pay attention to the accuracy of terms or simply benefit from this confusion, like those who sell packages of dried cranberries labeled ‘yaban mersini’.. But one thing is for sure: those who buy those packages of dried cranberries labeled 'yaban mersini' hoping  to get some improvement in their eye sight will waste their money, unless they have some infectional problems in their urinary tracts, as cranberry seems to make a promise in that regard..

Link to post
Share on other sites
Şimdi, saffron yazdı:

You’re welcome, İbrahim Abi..

Yes, cranberry is part of the confusion. It seems there is a general tendency to put all the Vaccinium species growing in the Black Sea Region (eastern parts) into one fictive category of ‘yaban mersini’..

Bilberry naturaly grows in the region.

So not only some  local names (likapa, ayı üzümü, çoban üzümü..) a standard name is already established, too, namely yaban mersini, for V. myrtillus , though some writers use this botanical name for blueberry, (even in the scientific literature in English).. The name yaban mersini must be given to  bilberry because of the resemblance of the leaves of myrtile (mersin) to the the leaves of bilberry, just like the bilberry which is called ‘V.  myrtillus’ for the same reason.. As to the  the other Vaccinium species available in the region, cranberry is not native, but cultivated.  The term offered for cranberry is turnayemişi, which is a direct translation  of ‘cranberry’. I don’t know if this term is established or not in the agronomy circles yet, but at least in the commercial circles it seems to be accepted..

So, within that framework of names, there is no reason to call cranberry ‘yaban mersini’..

Those who make this kind of TV programs either don’t pay attention to the accuracy of terms or simply benefit from this confusion, like the suppliers who sell packages of dried cranberries labeled ‘yaban mersini’.. But one thing is for sure: those who buy those packages of dried cranberries labeled 'yaban mersini' hoping  to get some improvement in their eye sight will waste their money, unless they have some infectional problems in their urinary tracts, as cranberry seems to make a promise in that regard..

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...