Well then, why did they not call this land Glansia or Glania if acorn in Latin is called Glans?

When the Romans reached Spain they encountered a tremendous amount of forest area that was mostly covered in trees of the genus Quercus (Holm Oaks, Oaks and Cork Oaks), all of which are capable of producing prodigious amounts of acorns.

Maybe there weren’t quite as many as to make good on the cliché that a squirrel could literally cross the country from north to south without having to touch the ground, simply jumping from tree limb to tree branch, yet the covering was indeed so important that it was even mentioned in the writings of the geographer Strabo and likewise in Pliny’s works. The peoples of the pre Romans of the north of the peninsula actually consumed acorns during a good part of the year (and chestnuts in some areas); mainly using them once they were dry and crushed in order to make bread. In the case of the bitter acorns, those pertaining to the Oak Trees and Cork Oaks, well they were used in a similar way to which olives are employed. They also eliminated a good part of their bitterness and unpleasant taste by roasting them, in like manner to what we currently do with all sorts of nuts.

Also, already then, in the southern part of the peninsula the pigs and other animals that were bred took advantage of this abundant source of food.

Well then, why did they not call this land Glansia or Glania if acorn in Latin is called Glans? Well we don’t want to think badly, but wheat was the main food source of the Roman armies and in order to supply them with the necessary amount its cultivation was generalised wherever they invaded. And likewise, since the Roman society was based on huge cities, supplying these cities exacted tremendous amounts of cereal, cultivation of which occupied enormous areas; and clay containers (amphorae) that were actually kiln fired and in turn this meant that many of the forests surrounding the cities were depleted in order to obtain the firing material. Hence, it was not only the Invincible Fleet (Spanish Armada) that finished off with a good part of this country’s forests, as deforestation had started long before the time of the armada and these Romans, who were anything but crazy, were not going to name a country after something that they themselves started to punish.

Hence, the name of Hispania/island of the hare (be the same of Phoenician or Carthaginian origin), which is the most accepted version of the origin of the word España, was quite alright with the Romans. And thus they left the word acorn (which comes from the word of Arabic origin Ballúta) free for us to use, likewise allowing the acorns to be employed for other uses. For example, to feed our Ibérico pigs (their history will form part of another chapter) and to give a name to the category that stands out from among them all, the acorn-fed Ibérico pig.

Just to finish off and as a curiosity, the acorns in Catalonia are called gla or aglà, which has its origin in the Latin word for acorn, glans.