Since today is the last day of classes, and I'm headed off to my last Medieval Women class very soon, I thought I'd share one of my favorite tidbits from class this semester. Not only did I learn the origins of the word "hysterical" this semester (as well as a lot about the malevolent uterus), but I also learned quite a bit about this one flower in particular - the tulip.
These days, tulips are all over the place. They are a staple of spring - they bloom early, they littler peoples yards, and they blossom in baskets given out at Easter.
However, once upon a time, the tulip was a lot less common and much more craved than your average flower. After a they were brought back from Turkey, this flower stuck the Europeans as beautiful. Soon, it was worth more than gold, and the Dutch even started using the tulip as a form of currency. It became popular in Florence was well, and it was an expensive commodity. In order to cultivate this tulip, countries worked hard to reclaim their soils and protect their gardens, all so they could have more of this valuable flower. Later, they discovered how to cultivate colors, and the diseases that gave each bulb their unique colors.
Our class was rather stunned to hear such a simple bulb could put entire cities in awe, but it was interesting to hear that the tulip was just another link in a chain of events, during a period of developing travel and the beginnings of manipulating nature.