Spices have been closely connected to magic, cultural traditions, preservation, medicine and embalming since early human history. Spices were a key component of India’s external trade with Mesopotamia, China, Sumeria, Egypt and Arabia , along with perfumes and textiles – as far back as 7000 years ago – much before the Greek and Roman civilizations.
The remarkable story of how spices played a key role in shaping the course of world history is as follows.
The clove finds a mention in the Ramayana – as well as in writings dating back to the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD. Caravans of camels moved regularly from Calcutta, Goa and the Orient in ancient times to transport these spices to distant destinations such as Carthage, Alexandria and Rome .
While these spices are readily available today, there was a time when people risked their lives to gain access to Indian spices. From the Indian perspective, it brought in traders and invaders alike – century after century.