The Long (Chicken) Walk

It took a surprisingly long time for chickens to make it from the region we now know as Thailand to the Western World. Thousands of years in fact. Though some historians dispute this (of course), most evidence suggests that chickens didn’t arrive in the Middle East/Mediterranean until about 500 BC, some 7,000 years after they were first domesticated.

It was the Persians under Darius the Great who first “discovered” the chicken for the West when he invaded what is now Pakistan in 520 BC. Long time readers may remember Darius as the man who lost to the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon during the first of the Greco-Persian Wars. The Persians held the area for close to 200 years, which gave them plenty of time to develop a taste for egg sandwiches and Chicken Kahari, versions of which they eventually brought home. And thus it was via the Persians that chickens entered what we know as the Classical World.

Given how long it took for chickens to get that far, they moved with surprising speed around the Mediterranean to Greece, up into Europe, and around south to Egypt where some of history’s ultimate bird-eaters lived. More on that soon.

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