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Opium
(866 words)

The narcotic opium is obtained from the latex produced by the seed pods of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). The original native range of the opium poppy was probably the Alpine region, from which it spread into the eastern Mediterranean. The first archaeological evidence of its use dates from the Neolithic period (c. 3100 BCE), and the first written records are Sumerian. Spread through shamanic cults, opium entered Minoan culture from around 2000 BCE, thus making its way into Greece. To begin with, opium was chiefly used for medical and cul…

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Nagel, Jürgen G., “Opium”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 18 October 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_025016>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721



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