蜜蜂的历史与象征

中国最早有关蜜蜂的记载,见于《诗经.周颂.小毖》: “其予非蜂,自求辛蜇”,大意为不要轻视微小的草和细蜂,受毒被螫才知道烦恼.背景是周成王平定管叔、蔡叔、武庚之乱后创作的一首自我规诫、自我戒勉的诗。

《礼记.内则》中载有“子事父母,枣栗饴蜜以甘之,”,《楚辞.招魂》中有“瑶浆蜜勺”和“柜妆蜜饵”之句,由此可见,早在东周时期,古人已将蜂蜜用作食品。

最早有关蜂蜜的药用记载,则见于《神农本草经》:“蜂蜜味甘、平、无毒,主心腹邪气,诸惊痫痉,安五脏诸不足,益气补中,止痛解毒,除百病,和百药,久服强志轻身,不饥不老,延年。”,明确的指出蜂蜜的作用与功效。

汉代医生张仲景《伤寒论》中著有”蜜煎导方”,用于治疗便秘,《金匮要略》中有”甘草粉蜜汤”治”蛔腹痛”的方法。

晋代葛洪在《抱朴子》和《肘后备急方》中有”五色丹毒,蜜和甘姜敷之”;”目生珠管,以蜜涂目中,仰卧半日乃可洗之,生蜜佳”;汤火灼已成疮,白蜜涂之,以竹中白膜贴上,日三度”等蜂蜜外用的记载。

Bee, in ancient history

– Ancient hives

Bees were kept in human-made hives in Egypt in antiquity.[7] The walls of the Egyptian sun temple of Nyuserre Ini from the 5th Dynasty, dated earlier than 2422 BC, depict workers blowing smoke into hives as they remove honeycombs.[8] Inscriptions detailing the production of honey are found on the tomb of Pabasa from the 26th Dynasty (c. 650 BC), and describe honey stored in jars, and cylindrical hives.[9]

The archaeologist Amihai Mazar cites 30 intact hives that were discovered in the ruins of the city of Rehov (2,000 residents in 900 BC, Israelites and Canaanites). This is evidence that an advanced honey industry existed in Israel, approximately 4,000 years ago. The beehives, made of straw and unbaked clay, were found in orderly rows, with a total of 150 hives, many broken. Ezra Marcus from the University of Haifa said the discovery provided a glimpse of ancient beekeeping seen in texts and ancient art from the Near East. An altar decorated with fertility figurines was found alongside the hives and may indicate religious practices associated with beekeeping. While beekeeping predates these ruins, this is the oldest apiary yet discovered.[10]

Bee (mythology)

Bees have been featured in myth and folklore around the world. Honey and beeswax have been important resources for humans since at least the Mesolithic period, and as a result humans’ relationship with bees—particularly honey bees—has ranged from encounters with wild bees (both prehistorically and in the present day) to keeping them agriculturally.[3][4] Bees themselves are often characterized as magically-imbued creatures, and their honey as a divine gift.

Gold plaques embossed with winged bee goddesses, perhaps the Thriae or perhaps an older goddess,[a][2] found at Camiros, Rhodes ( Greece), dated to 7th century BCE (British Museum).

Symbolism:

In modern times, it is a key symbol in Freemasonry. In masonic lectures, it represents industry and co-operation,[45] and as a metaphor cautioning against intellectual laziness, warning that “he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavoring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, maybe deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Masons.”[46] (共济会)

The beehive appears on the 3rd Degree emblems on the Tracing Board of Royal Cumberland No. 41, Bath and is explained as such:

The Beehive teaches us that as we are born into the world rational and intelligent beings, so ought we also to be industrious ones, and not stand idly by or gaze with listless indifference on even the meanest of our fellow creatures in a state of distress if it is in our power to help them without detriment to ourselves or our connections; the constant practice, – of this virtue is enjoined on all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the meanest reptile that crawls in the dust.

— Explanation on the 8th century ritual[47]

The beehive is also used with similar meaning by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as Mormons. From Latter-day Saint usage, it has become one of the State symbols of Utah (see Deseret).[48]

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