Definitions for bdelliumˈdɛl i əm, -yəm
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word bdellium
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
bdel•li•umˈdɛl i əm, -yəm(n.)
a fragrant gum resin obtained from plants of the bursera family, as of the genus
a plant yielding this resin.
Origin of bdellium:
< L < Gk bdéllion, prob. < Semitic
aromatic gum resin; similar to myrrh
Probably an aromatic gum like balsam that was exuded from a tree, probably one of several species in the genus Commiphora.
an unidentified substance mentioned in the Bible (Gen. ii. 12, and Num. xi. 7), variously taken to be a gum, a precious stone, or pearls, or perhaps a kind of amber found in Arabia
a gum resin of reddish brown color, brought from India, Persia, and Africa
Bdellium, also bdellion, is an aromatic gum like myrrh that is exuded from a tree. An Arab writer first made the identification with gum guggul, the species Commiphora wightii, although "bdellium" has also been used to identify the African species Commiphora africana and at least one other Indian species, C. stocksiana. Bdellium was an adulterant of the more costly myrrh; guggul is still used as a binder in perfumes. The word bedolach occurs only twice in the Hebrew Bible. The first is in Genesis 2:12, where it is described as a product of the land of Havilah; the context has led some readers to link bedolach with pearls or other precious stones. Bdellium is mentioned once again, as something familiar, in Numbers 11:7, where manna is compared to it in color: Bdellium appears in a number of ancient sources. In Akkadian, it was known as budulhu, in Sanskrit gulgulu. Theophrastus is perhaps the first classical author to mention it, if the report that came back from his informant in Alexander's expedition refers to Commiphora wightii: "In the region called Aria there is a thorn tree which produces a tear of resin, resembling myrrh in appearance and odour. It liquifies when the sun shines upon it." Plautus in his play Curculio refers to it. Pliny the Elder describes the best bdellium coming from Bactria as a "tree black in colour, and the size of the olive tree; its leaf resembles that of the oak and its fruit the wild fig", but his descriptions seem to cover a range of strongly perfumed resins. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, of the 2nd century CE, reports that bdella are exported from the port of Barbarice at the mouth of the Indus. In China, bdellium, known as an hsi hsiang or "Parthian aromatic", was among the varieties of incense that reached China either along the Silk Route from Central Asia, or by sea. Later an hsi hsiang was applied to an East Indian substitute, gum benzoin from Sumatra.
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