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Even so, the variety of imported aromatic substances is astounding and suggests a high demand, including "long pepper" and "grains of Paradise," both peppery in taste but unrelated to black pepper, as well "dragon's blood," a dye and also a drug ingredient.
One widely disseminated explanation for medieval demand for spices was that they covered the taste of spoiled meat.
Spices were more expensive than meat, and fresh meat was available, as suggested by extant records of municipal ordinances prohibiting butchers from throwing unwanted animal parts and blood in the streets.
Spices were also thought to have medicinal properties, adding to their allure.
These are only some of the reasons that spices obtained such distinction and ultimately became globally traded products, which in turn helped develop integrated economic networks.
Medieval purchasers consumed meat much fresher than what the average city-dweller in the developed world of today has at hand.
However, refrigeration was not available, and some hot spices have been shown to serve as an anti-bacterial agent.Consider some of the first industries listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average - leather or rubber for instance - that have since lost their privileged place, replaced by products like Coca-Cola or oil. The story of the quest for spices is an early model of globalization, since mirrored by other traded goods.High prices, a limited supply and mysterious origins fueled a growing effort to discover spices and their source of cultivation.The desire for aromatic substances has had immense historical repercussions, the effects of which are being felt long after the vogue of spices has diminished.In a handbook of practical wisdom written by the Florentine merchant Francesco Pegolotti in the early 14th century, some 288 spices are listed, including items like alum, used as a dye fixative.Why go to such extraordinary efforts to procure expensive products from exotic lands?Still, demand was great enough to inspire the voyages of Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama, launching the first fateful wave of European colonialism.However, other products also inspired exploration, war, conquest and ultimately the emergence of a closely integrated world trading system.One such product awaits in small bottles and packages on the shelves of supermarkets and corner markets: spices.The quest for spice was one of the earliest drivers of globalization.Long before the voyages of European explorers, spices were globally traded products.