Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Death of Dumuzid


Prof. Dr. Mustafa BAYRAM

Gaziantep University, Head of Department of Food Technology
TABADER Chairman of the Board

Dear readers of Miller Magazine,

The wheat constitutes %30 of all cereals in the world. But that proportion is going to decrease in the future. Does it mean that, Sumerian fertility deity Dumuzid would not revive as it has done for centuries when the month of July comes after dying under the earth in October? Would one of the horsemen disappear?

This region has a tradition which is not known by outsiders. Bread –and wheat- is taken as sacred. If bread is dropped we take it and put on to a higher place after kissing. We have a special respect for it and you cannot find this phenomenon in any other region.

The reason for this respect lies behind the history. According to the tradition, Dumuzid, a Sumerian deity of Mesopotamia dies each year and disappears in the soil to feed its people. When the harvest month of July comes, it revives as wheat. So wheat bread became sacred as being Dumuzid itself. And the month of July is called Dumuzid (Tammuz) in Sumerian language. Then, will Dumuzid, that is wheat, continue to exist in the future? Or we should ask, what will happen to the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse?

The humankind had started to migrate from Africa to the north 60000 years ago. The sorghum was the most important cereal of humankind there. But when they came to the first stop, they met with wheat in the Middle East. Some of them went further north and they met with the maize in America and they found the salvation with the maize. And their fertility deities were associated with the maize. Some of them went to the east and met with rice in the Far East. They also associated their deities with the rice. So the destiny of the humankind was tied to the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse: Sorghum, wheat, maize and rice. The humanity and societies have managed to survive thanks to those 4 products for thousands of years. And they shared a common destiny.

Among the migrants, particularly Incas and Mayas in America were forgotten by their distant relatives. For them to meet up again, America has to be rediscovered. Exploration of America caused them to disappear and other people to discover the maize. Today, future of the four basic nurtures for the world is in question. Future of the wheat is in question especially for its gluten. Some people try to blacklist wheat and wheaten products. And consumers have already started to move away from those products because of speculative news.

On the other hand, the production of rice in the future is in question because of the high amount of water in order to grow it.

Sorghum is not so common except for Africa and we do not expect it to become so in the near future. Future for the 3 of 4 horsemen of the apocalypse is underwhelming. The maize looks like to be the only horse to continue to run.

The maize is a well-known and grown product throughout the world. It is grown as the first, second and third harvested product in many countries. It is used as food, feed and strategic bio-fuel source. In Turkey, an important portion of cultivated land is reserved for the maize. Each and every kilogram of maize produced on earth has an area of use.

The maize is a significant product particularly for food and energy sectors. At the present time, the United States has a corner in its production. The maize is in a fierce competition or war with other agri-food products in many markets. We do not know the exact reason behind this war. But we know for sure that, only one horse among the four will be able to continue to run and we will have to shoot 3 horses dead in the future. And our Dumuzid will not be able to revive in the month of July.

We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "The Italian milling industry: an excellence in evolution".

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