I am doing research on the history of the durian fruit. I am writing a book and looking for the earliest mention of durian by explorers or traders in Southeast Asia.
Currently, my earliest reference to durian is either Zheng He’s expedition around 1407 or Niccolo da Conti’s voyage around 1421.
However, both Ptolemy and Pliny make references to the jackfruit from India, and as it seems there was trade going on between Malaysia and ancient Rome as early the 1st century AD, I see no reason someone would not have mentioned durian in their writings much earlier.
Does anyone have any advice for finding early references to trade between Rome and Thailand/Malaysia, or how to go about finding the earliest references to a fairly obscure subject?
Much thanks for any advice you can offer.