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date: 30 January 2023



  • Stephanie Dalley


Cotton is first attested from excavations in the Indus valley for the early second millennium bce; cotton plants were imported into *Assyria by Sennacheribc.700 bce, who attempted to grow them at *Nineveh. Herodotus 3. 106 mentions cotton as an Indian crop. It spread during Hellenistic times into *Ethiopia, *Nubia and Upper *Egypt, and perhaps later into Indo-China. Early fibres seem to come from the tree Gossipium arboreum rather than the bush Gossipium herbaceum. The word cotton may perhaps be derived from West Semitic ktn, at first ‘tunic’ in general, later the linen tunic worn by priests. A connection with the early Akkadian textile or garment kutinnu is doubtful.


  • Ancient Economy
  • Near East

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