alchemy Early form of chemistry, with philosophical and magical associations, studied in the Middle Ages. Its main goals were to change lead or other cheap metal into gold and to discover an elixir of perpetual youth. Also, an archaic name for Egypt.
Al-Fayoum Large oasis in Egypt thought to predate the Pharaohs.
Andalusia Region in southern Spain that borders both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Andalusia is Seville.
Arab Individual who comes from, or whose ancestors come from, the Arabian peninsula.
caravan Company of travelers, especially of merchants or pilgrims, who remain together for safety, as through a desert.
date palm Cultivated desert palm tree that has a short, wide trunk, large leaves, and bears dates.
Egypt Ancient kingdom, as well as a contemporary country, in northeast Africa.
hookah Middle Eastern water pipe that has a long, flexible tube for drawing the smoke through water in a vase or bowl, cooling it.
Levant Region on the Eastern Mediterranean, including all countries bordering the sea between Greece and Egypt.
Levanter Strong wind that blows over the Mediterranean area from the east.
myth Traditional story of unknown authorship, usually with a historical basis, but usually serving to explain some phenomenon of nature, the origin of man, or the customs, institutions, religious rites, etc., of a people.
oasis Fertile place in a desert due to the presence of water.
omen Thing or happening believed to foretell a future event, either good or evil.
parable Short, simple story, usually of an occurrence of a familiar kind, from which a moral or religious lesson may be drawn.
sacristy Room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept.
scarab beetle Black, winged dung beetle held sacred by the ancient Egyptians.
simum Arabic name for a desert sandstorm.
sirocco Wind that brings moisture inland from the oceans to the east.
sycamore Fig tree native to Egypt.