#OldEnglish #WOTD: bēo-brēad, n.n: bee-bread, whatever that is.
Bosworth-Toller says it is the pollen of flowers collected by bees and mixed with honey for larvæ food. B-T says it’s ‘sometimes honeycomb, from a deficient knowledge of natural history’. However, the Dictionary of Old English says it is simply ‘honeycomb with honey’, or when it’s in the genitival phrase ‘beobread huniges’ (bee-bread of honey) it’s honeycomb.
Above image: Detail of a miniature of bees collecting nectar and returning to their hive, from a bestiary with theological texts, England, c. 1200 – c. 1210, Royal MS 12 C XIX, f. 45v. From the British Library Medieval Manuscripts blog where there’s a great post on ‘Bugs in Books’.
Did you know bees could be used as weapons?
The BL Medieval MSS blog says: ‘A mid-13th century copy of William of Tyre’s Histoire d’Outremer contains a miniature of the Patriarch of Antioch who was bound to a tower and smeared with honey in a gruesome attempt to end his life.’ Above image: Miniature of the Patriarch of Antioch being attacked by bees, from William of Tyre’s Histoire d’Outremer, France (Picardy?), 1232-1261, BL, Yates Thompson MS 12, f. 120r.
Reminds me of the Pushing Daisies ‘Bzzzzzzzz!’ episode…