PEPPER to PERGUNNAHS
PEPPER, s. The original of this word, Skt. pippali, means not the ordinary pepper of commerce (black
pepper) but long pepper, and the Sanskrit name is still so applied in Bengal, where one of the long-
pepper plants, which have been classed sometimes in a different genus (Chavica) from the black pepper,
was at one time much cultivated. There is still indeed a considerable export of long pepper from Calcutta; and
a kindred species grows in the Archipelago. Long pepper is mentioned by Pliny, as well as white and
black pepper; the three varieties still known in trade, though with the kind of error that has persisted on
such subjects till quite recently, he misapprehends their relation. The proportion of their ancient prices
will be found in a quotation below.
The name must have been transferred by foreign traders to black
pepper, the staple of export, at an early date, as will be seen from the quotations. Pippalimula, the
root of long pepper, still a stimulant medicine in the native pharmacopoeia, is probably the [Greek Text]
peperewV riza of the ancients (Royle, p. 86).
We may say here that Black pepper is the fruit of a perennial
climbing shrub, Piper nigrum, L., indigenous in the forests of Malabar and Travancore, and thence introduced
into the Malay countries, particularly Sumatra.
White pepper is prepared from the black by removing the
dark outer layer of pericarp, thereby depriving it of a part of its pungency. It comes chiefly viâ Singapore
from the Dutch settlement of Rhio, but a small quantity of fine quality comes from Tellicherry in Malabar.
pepper is derived from two shrubby plants, Piper officinarum, C.D.C., a native of the Archipelago, and
Piper longum, L., indigenous in Malabar, Ceylon, E. Bengal, Timor, and the Philippines. Long pepper
is the fruit-spike gathered and dried when not quite ripe (Hanbury and Flückiger, Pharmacographia). All
these kinds of pepper were, as has been said, known to the ancients.
c. 70 A.D.The cornes or graines
lie in certaine little huskes or cods.
If that be plucked from the tree
before they gape and open of themselves, they make that spice which is called Long pepper; but if
as they do ripen, they cleave and chawne by little and little, they shew within the white pepper: which
afterwards beeing parched in the Sunne, chaungeth colour and waxeth blacke, and therewith riveled
Long is soone sophisticated, with the senvie or mustard seed of Alexandria: and a pound of it
is worth fifteen Roman deniers. The white pepper costeth seven deniers a pound, and the black is
sold after foure deniers by the pound.Pliny, tr. by Phil. Holland, Bk. xii. ch. 7.
c. 8090.And there
come to these marts great ships, on account of the bulk and quantity of pepper and malabathrum.
The pepper is brought (to market) here, being produced largely only in one district near these marts,
that which is called Kottonarike.Periplus, § 56.
c. A.D. 100.The Pepper-tree ( [Greek Text] peperi
dendron) is related to grow in India; it is short, and the fruit as it first puts it forth is long, resembling
pods; and this long pepper has within it (grains) like small millet, which are what grow to be the perfect
(black) pepper. At the proper season it opens and puts forth a cluster bearing the berries such as we
know them. But those that are like unripe grapes, which constitute the white, pepper serve the best for
eye-remedies, and for antidotes, and for theriacal potencies.Dioscorides, Mat. Med. ii. 188.
is the pepper-tree (there is a drawing). Every plant of it is twined round some lofty forest tree,
for it is weak and slim like the slender stems of the vine. And every bunch of fruit has a double leaf
as a shield; and it is very green, like the green of rue.Cosmas, Book xi.
c. 870.The mariners say
every bunch of pepper has over it a leaf that shelters it from the rain. When the rain ceases the leaf
turns aside; if rain recommences the leaf again covers the fruit.Ibn Khurdadba, in Journ. As. 6th ser.
tom. v. 284.
1166.The trees which bear this fruit are planted in the fields which surround the towns,
and every one knows his plantation. The trees are small, and the pepper is originally white, but when
they collect it they put it into basons and pour hot water upon it; it is then exposed to the heat of the sun,
in the course of which process it becomes of a black colour.Rabbi Benjamin, in Wright, p.
c. 1330.Lalbore che fa il pepe è fatto come lelera che nasce su per gli muri. Questo pepe sale
su per gli arbori che luomini piantano a modo de lelera, e sale sopra tutti ii arbori più alti. Questo pepe
fa rami a modo dell uve;
e maturo si lo vendemiano a modo de luve e poi pongono il pepe al sole a
seccare come uve passe, e nulla altra cosa si fa del pepe.Odoric, in Cathay, App. xlvii.
PERGUNNAH, s. Hind. pargana [Skt. pragan, to reckon up], a subdivision of a District (see ZILLAH).
c. 1500.The divisions into súbas (see SOUBA) and parganas, which are maintained to the present
day in the province of Tatta, were made by these people (the Samma Dynasty).Tárikh-i-Táhirí, in Elliot,