When I decided to write a story about King Arthur, I vastly underestimated the amount of research I would be doing. Also, I didn’t expect to be surprised by the kind of answers I would receive to, what I believed to be, innocently asked questions.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my worldview has included lemons as a natural fruit since I was very young. At the risk of sounding as though I went to 17 different public schools, I’m going to be honest with you. I had NO IDEA about lemons.
I am very lucky to have a close friend who majored in history. They also specialized in studying and teaching about medieval times. This means I can text them at 11pm- (which is when I’m most likely to be working on my Nanowrimo draft) -and get answers for questions that would take me roughly nine years to research. Or, at least, that’s how I feel about historical research.
Below is a conversation about lemons. Please note how annoying I am in text. Random capitalization, overblown response, etc. I’m aware of this, there’s no need to point it out to me <3
Me - did the knights have lemonade? or would it have just been lemon... juice?
Them - Lemons had just been introduced into southern Italy around that time. And Egypt had only started producing lemons at about 700 ad.
Them - While trade would have reached England. Most fruits and veggies had to be grown locally or else be spoiled en route. It wasn't until after the last of the crusades to the Middle East and southern Asia that lemons really made it back to England. Not till long after Arthur and his time.
Me - do you think I could get away with one of the knights favoring lemons?
Them - This is a possibility. Especially if that knight really traveled a lot. Like actually went on a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Middle East.
Me - also, wtf. you know so many things.
Them - Lemons are easy to trace through because they are not naturally occurring. A lot of historians use them to help figure out timelines on trade routes
Me - they are not... Natural?? I mean- but i- don't lemons grow on trees? don't do this to me. I can't have lemons and Moses be not real.
Them - They do grow on trees. But lemons are a man made invention. They were bred into existence. Before about 200ad, the lemon did not exist.
Me - Lemons were MAN-MADE?????????????? Lemons. what? what the fuck? from WHAT? Why?
Them - There are conflicting accounts of who actually created them but yeah Southwestern Asia minor. Somewhere in there. And from there they traveled the silk road.
In conclusion, it should be stated that lemons are in fact manmade. After all this drama I can guarantee they will be making an appearance in the book! Sign up for my newsletter if you want to know more about my dramatic reactions to trivial information about medieval times.
With Love -Alter