Stalk of basil.

Sacred Plant of Eternal Love and Healing: The Mythology and Magic of Basil

(Read the article on one page)

Beautiful Pasta Closeup with Spinach, Cheese, Olives, Basil and Nuts.

Beautiful Pasta Closeup with Spinach, Cheese, Olives, Basil and Nuts. ( valeria_aksakova / Freepik )

The history of pesto

Historically basil arrived in Liguria in the second half of the eleventh and early twelfth century and especially in Genoa following the enterprises of the Genoese commander Guglielmo Embriaco, known as Head of Chainmail. The leader kept on one of his galleys his real secret entrusted to Captain Bartolomeo Decotto. The captain experimented with the therapeutic characteristics of the basil when he was in Palestine during the crusades and returning to Genoa he brought some bags of seeds with him. A true legend was born. At first it was said that the basil leaves were only used as a medicine, but then when working with the pestle to obtain ointments, it happened that someone thought it well to add olive oil to use as a cream for skin irritations. It is said that accidentally the sauce fell on bread and ... pesto was born!

Legends and superstitions have always accompanied the history of spices, but curiously some survived right until the 1800s. It is said that some English people living in India roamed regularly with a wooden necklace of basil to neutralize the electrical impulses, keeping away the lightning, as claimed by the Hindu religion. In the same period, but only in the eclipses, basil was also eaten and placed in water reserves to prevent contamination.

Devotion to the tulsi plant, sweet basil; A lady ascetic, 1800s, Rajasthan.

Devotion to the tulsi plant, sweet basil; A lady ascetic, 1800s, Rajasthan. ( freepik.com)

It is a matter of opinion whether basil is actually a ‘magic’ plant or not, but we can point out that Napoleon used it for its property of stimulating intellectual concentration. Napoleon was in fact convinced that its scent would help him prepare the plans for maneuvering the armies and history is no legend…

Dr Massimo Bonasorte is the founder and publisher of the magazine Veritas Arcana .

Top image: Stalk of basil. ( Kevin Faccenda / flickr )

By Massimo

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Photo of Zecharia Sitchin (left)(CC0)Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC depicting the deities Inanna, Utu, and Enki, three members of the Anunnaki.(right)
In a previous 2-part article (1), the authors wrote about the faulty associations of the Sumerian deities known as the Anunnaki as they are portrayed in the books, television series, and other media, which promotes Ancient Astronaut Theory (hereafter “A.A.T.”).

Ancient Places

Caves of Loltun, Mexico
It goes on speak about the challenges and wonders of Columbus’s voyage to the new lands known today as the Caribbean. It even goes on to mention Columbus’s blunder in assuming that this newly discovered land was India when in fact it was what we know today as the Bahamas.

Opinion

Hopewell mounds from the Mound City Group in Ohio. Representative image
During the Early Woodland Period (1000—200 BC), the Adena people constructed extensive burial mounds and earthworks throughout the Ohio Valley in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Many of the skeletal remains found in these mounds by early antiquarians and 20th-Century archaeologists were of powerfully-built individuals reaching between 6.5 and eight feet in height (198 cm – 244 cm).

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article