RICE, s. The well-known cereal, Oryza sativa, L. There is a strong temptation to derive the Greek [Greek Text] oruza, which is the source of our word through It. riso, Fr. riz, etc., from the Tamil arisi, ‘rice deprived of husk,’ ascribed to a root ari, ‘to separate.’ It is quite possible that Southern India was the original seat of rice cultivation. Roxburgh (Flora Indica, ii. 200) says that a wild rice, known as Newaree [Skt. nivara, Tel. nivvari] by the Telinga people, grows abundantly about the lakes in the Northern Circars, and he considers this to be the original plant.

It is possible that the Arabic al-ruzz (arruzz) from which the Spaniards directly take their word arroz, may have been taken also directly from the Dravidian term. But it is hardly possible that [Greek Text] oruza can have had that origin. The knowledge of rice apparently came to Greece from the expedition of Alexander, and the mention of [Greek Text] oruza by Theophrastus, which appears to be the oldest, probably dates almost from the lifetime of Alexander (d. B.C. 323). Aristobulus, whose accurate account is quoted by Strabo (see below), was a companion of Alexander’s expedition, but seems to have written later than Theophrastus. The term was probably acquired on the Oxus, or in the Punjab. And though no Skt. word for rice is nearer [Greek Text] oruza than vrihi, the very common exchange of aspirant and sibilant might easily give a form like vrisi or brisi (comp. hindu, sindu, &c.) in the dialects west of India. Though no such exact form seems to have been produced from old Persian, we have further indications of it in the Pushtu, which Raverty writes, sing. ‘a grain of rice’ w’rijza’h, pl. ‘rice’ w’rijzey, the former close to oryza. The same writer gives in Barakai (one of the uncultivated languages of the Kabul country, spoken by a ‘Tajik’ tribe settled in Logar, south of Kabul, and also at Kanigoram in the Waziri country) the word for rice as w’rizza, a very close approximation again to oryza. The same word is indeed given by Leech, in an earlier vocabulary, largely coincident with the former, as rizza. The modern Persian word for husked rice is birinj, and the Armenian brinz. A nasal form, deviating further from the hypothetical brisi or vrisi, but still probably the same in origin, is found among other languages of the Hindu Kush tribes, e.g. Burishki (Khajuna of Leitner) bron; Shina (of Gilgit), briun; Khowar of the Chitral Valley (Arniyah of Leitner), grinj (Biddulph, Tribes of Hindoo Koosh, App., pp. xxxiv., lix., cxxxix.).

1298.—“Il hi a forment et ris asez, mès il ne menuient pain de forment por ce que il est en cele provence enferme, mès menuient ris et font poison (i.e. drink) de ris con especes qe molt e(s)t biaus et cler et fait le home evre ausi con fait le vin.”—Marc Pol. Geo. Text, 132.

B.C. c. 320–300.—“ [Greek Text] Mallon de speirousi to kaloumenon oruzon, ex omoion th zeia, kai periptisqen oion condroV, eupepton de thn oYin pequkoV [Greek Text] dmoion taiV airaiV, kai ton polun cronon en udati. Apoceitai de ouk eiV stacun, all oion fobhn wsper o kegcoV kai o elumoV.”—Theophrast. de Hist. Plantt., iv. c. 4.

B.C. c. 20.—“The rice ( [Greek Text] oruza), according to Aristobulus, stands in water, in an enclosure. It is sowed in beds. The plant is 4 cubits in height, with many ears, and yields a large produce. The harvest is about the time of the setting of the Pleiades, and the grain is beaten out like barley.

“It grows in Bactriana, Babylonia, Susis, and in the Lower Syria.”—Strabo, xv. i. § 18, in Bohn’s E.T. iii. 83.

B.C. 300.—“Megasthenes writes in the second Book of his Indica: The Indians, says he, at their banquets have a table placed before each person. This table is made like a buffet, and they set upon it a golden bowl, into which they first help boiled rice ( [Greek Text] oruzan), as it might be boiled groats, and then a variety of cates dressed in Indian fashions.”—Athenaeus, iv. § 39.

A.D. c. 70.—“Hordeum Indis sativum et silvestre, ex quo panis apud eos praecipuus et alica. Maxime quidem oryza gaudent, ex qua tisanam conficiunt quam reliqui mortales ex hordeo.…”—Pliny, xviii. 13. Ph. Holland has here got so wrong a reading that we abandon him.

A.D. c. 80–90.—“Very productive is this country (Syrastrene or Penins. Guzerat) in wheat and rice ( [Greek Text] oruzhV) and sessamin oil and butter1 (see GHEE) and cotton, and the abounding Indian piece-goods made from it.”—Periplus, § 41.

ROC, s. The Rukh or fabulous colossal bird of Arabian legend. This has been treated of at length by one of the present writers in Marco Polo (Bk. iii. ch. 33, notes); and here we shall only mention one or two supplementary facts.

M. Marre states that ruk-ruk is applied by the Malays to a bird of prey of the vulture family, a circumstance which possibly may indicate the source of the Arabic name, as we know it to be of some at least of the legends. [See Skeat, Malay Magic, 124.]

In one of the notes just referred to it is suggested that the roc’s quills, spoken of by Marco Polo in the passage quoted below (a passage which evidently refers to some real object brought to China), might possibly have been some vegetable production such as the great frond of the Ravenala of Madagascar (Urania speciosa), cooked

  By PanEris using Melati.

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