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BardSkye
10-02-2010, 10:20 AM
King Herod's brother, after refusing to go though with a poisoning plot against Herod, was himself poisoned and his wife accused of the crime. My historical source, Flavius Josephus, says the poison was administered when the brother ate something "unfamiliar."

My MC is the wife. Naming a poison isn't the problem. A little Googling got me dozens of poisonous plants that could be added to the food. But as it's a pretty important turn in her life I don't think I can sluff off just what he's eating and therein lies the problem.

The man's royalty, so he would have had a lot more experience than the average peasant with exotic dishes. I've been trying to find something that he might be "unfamiliar" with and haven't been having a lot of luck. (I did find a carrot museum in the UK and lots of other interesting things, but they didn't help with the WIP.)

The real poisoner has just arrived back from Arabia. Can anyone think of a food in 6BC that would have been available in Arabia yet uncommon in Judaea?

Shakesbear
10-02-2010, 11:21 AM
I've just had a look at the British Museum Cookbook - recipes from Ancient Egypt include Melokhia soup, Ferique and fried fish with Cousbareia sauce. Recipes from Imperial Rome (possibly nearer 6BC?) include mushrooms stewed in wine with coriander and Baian Fish stew. The Further Reading list has one or two that might be interesting: Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome, ed by J.D. Vehling, Dover 1978, and Claudia Roden's A New Book of Middle Eastern Food, Viking 1985, which 'is a fascinating survey of the history and traditions of Middle Eastern Cookery'. Not sure if this is what you want, but hope it helps.

BardSkye
10-03-2010, 01:14 AM
Every little bit helps, thanks. I'll see if I can find them.

GeorgeK
10-03-2010, 01:52 AM
by the time you chop something up and sautee it in butter you could have almost anything. No, those aren't immature holly berries, they're pink peppercorns!

Smiling Ted
10-03-2010, 02:02 AM
I think GeorgeK is right - mushrooms are the way to go.

It can be difficult even for an expert to tell healthful from poisonous varieties, they were known in the Ancient Mediterranean world, and even if you live in a semi-arid country (like Judaea) they can be grown in manure and in caves.

In fact, the Emperor Claudius was said to have been poisoned by mushrooms.

BardSkye
10-03-2010, 02:44 AM
by the time you chop something up and sautee it in butter you could have almost anything. No, those aren't immature holly berries, they're pink peppercorns!


:Trophy:I agree with you, Smiling Ted. I think GeorgeK has come up with the winner. Mushrooms are rather notorious for inadvertently poisoning people. Fits the historical facts, too: the wife wasn't accused until after the funeral, long after the evidence was gone.

Thank you one and all.