Africa (The Great Book of Hemp)

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By the third millennium B.C.E., the true hemp plant was known in Egypt, where the fibers were used for rope. The ancient Egyptian word for hemp, smsm t, occurs in the Pyramid Texts in connection with ropemaking. Pieces of hempen material were found in the tomb of the pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenophis IV) at el-Amarna, and pollen on the mummy of Ramses the second (circa 1200 B.C.E) has been identified as cannabis. The Ramses the third Papyrus offered an opthalmic prescription containing smsm t, and the Ebers Papyrus gave “a remedy to cool the Uterus,” an enema, and a poultice to an injured toenail, each containing smsm t.

Hemp was used in the construction of the pyramids, not only to pull blocks of limestone, but also in the quarries, where the dried fiber was pounded into cracks in the rock, then wetted. As fiber swelled, the rock broke.

Sir W. Flinders Petrie found a large mat made of palm fiber tied with hemp cordage at el-Amarna and other digs have unearthed hempen grave clothes of the Badaroam. Predynastic, Pan, and roman periods.

The punic people who built Carthage in North Africa dominated the Mediterranean Sea from the eleventh to the eighth century B.C.E. And continued as a lesser power until the Romans destroyed them during the three Punic Wars in the third and second centuries B.C.E. A Punic warship found off the coast of Sicily yielded a large quantity of hemp stems; archaeologists speculated that hemp was rationed to the oarsmen, who chewed on it for mild relief from fatigue. Hemp also was used as caulking in ships' hulls, and of course for rope.

Excerpt from page 111 of The Great Book of Hemp by Rowan Robinson

Hemp, herb, cannabis, legalization, africa, history