Posted 13 November 2014
We've discussed the Nabateans and the great power they amassed through their trading caravans. And we’ve talked about the Nabatean Truth of changing the world around you by force of choice. Today, I would like to offer you a story about how the Nabateans used this Truth to exert control over a major element of their world.
Cinnamon was one of the most valuable spices in the ancient Mediterranean. Fortunes and empires were built on control of the cinnamon trade. And very quickly, the Nabateans monopolized this trade. They did it using their customary tools of force and persuasion. But the most important tool in their arsenal was one monumental lie.
The Nabateans became the route through which all of the Mediterranean got their cinnamon. And as they delivered the coveted spice, they did so along with a story - of the faraway land where the cinnamon came from. The Nabateans knew that jealous rivals would compile every scrap of information they could get on the source of cinnamon, so they could set up rival trade routes and cut the Nabateans out completely. And so they gave only only sparing hints about source of their cinnamon, the fabled land they called Trogodytica. But they knew that sooner or later, someone would figure out the location and travel there themselves.
And when these rivals finally found Trogodytica – in the Horn of Africa – they would discover a massive fraud. Because East Africa was NOT the source of the cinnamon, but merely a trading stop that received the spice from some other, unknown and faraway land. And when the Nabatean outpost in Trogodytica heard of expeditions looking for that source, they knew exactly who to slaughter. Through this deception, the Nabateans kept their grip on the cinnamon trade for centuries.
When the Nabateans abandoned Petra, there were rumors that they fled to their secret cinnamon source. The Romans pursued, and finally uncovered Trogodytica. They didn’t find any Nabateans, and they didn’t find any horde of cinnamon. But they took over the trade route and perpetuated the stories of the fabled golden cinnamon kingdom for their own enrichment.
“History” is merely a story told by the winners to justify their own purposes. And lies have a way of living forever when there’s nobody left who remembers the Truth. For students who have chosen the Nabatean way, remember that manipulating expectations can be a powerful way of exerting control, but you must always be mindful of the differences between your constructed reality and the Truth.