All over the world, we can see the historic importance of hemp in society, recorded in novels, administrative texts, poems, plays, and songs. Yet another way we see hemp’s importance through history is in place names – in towns and villages that were widely known for having a local hemp industry, of cultivation, textile production, and so on.
In Europe, there are hundreds of such settlements, although the history behind the name may not always be clear. Delving into the history of these towns can give us a lot of information about ancient cannabis use – along with a visual clue to the etymological evolution of names for cannabis, which occurred as knowledge and cultivation of the plant spread throughout the continent over time.
How Etymology Gives Us Clues to the Past
The etymology of the modern word “cannabis” is uncertain. The English word comes straight from the Greek Κανναβις, but prior to that, history is a little murky. The eminent linguist Elizabeth Wayland Barber proposed that the word derived from…