The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-345

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

[FN#118] Arab. “Kahbah;” the coarsest possible term. Hence the unhappy “Cave” of Don Roderick the Goth, which simply means The Whore. [FN#119] The Arab “Banj” and Hind� “Bhang” (which I use as most familiar) both derive from the old Coptic “Nibanj” meaning a preparation of hemp (Cannabis sativa seu Indica); and here it is easy to recognise the Homeric “Nepenthe.” Al-Kazwini explains the term by “garden hemp (Kinnab bost�ni or Sh�hd�naj). On the other hand not a few apply the word to the henbane (hyoscyamus niger) so much used in medi�val Europe. The K�m�s evidently means henbane distinguishing it from Hashish al har�f�sh” = rascals’ grass, i.e. the herb Pantagruelion. The “Alf�z Adwiya” (French translation) explains “Tabannuj” by “Endormir quelqu’un en lui faisant avaler de la jusquiame.” In modern parlance Tabannuj is = our an�sthetic administered before an operation, a deadener of pain like myrrh and a number of other drugs. For this purpose hemp is always used (at least I never heard of henbane); and various preparations of the drug are sold at an especial bazar in Cairo. See the “powder of marvellous virtue” in Boccaccio, iii., 8; and iv., 10. Of these intoxicants, properly so termed, I shall have something to say in a future page. The use of Bhang doubtless dates from the dawn of civilisation, whose earliest social pleasures would be inebriants. Herodotus (iv. c. 75) shows the Scythians burning the seeds (leaves and capsules) in worship and becoming drunken with the fumes, as do the S. African Bushmen of the present day. This would be the earliest form of smoking: it is still doubtful whether the pipe was used or not. Galen also mentions intoxication by hemp. Amongst Moslems, the Persians adopted the drink as an ecstatic, and about our thirteenth century Egypt, which began the practice, introduced a number of preparations to be noticed in the course of The Nights.