Saturday, August 21, 2021

Date palm cultivation during ancient times

Date palm is one of the oldest plants cultivated by human beings and has been used as food for 6000 years.

Date palm has been cultivated in the Middle East and North Africa for millennia; however, the exact origin of date palm has not been verified.

The earliest planting of date palm was coincident with the oldest civilizations and extended from northeast Africa to northwest of the Tigris and Euphrates plateau. Phoenicians promoted the planting of date palm around Mediterranean regions in ancient times. Phoenicia, the name by which part of the Levant, particularly the portion including Tyre and Sidon, was known to the Romans and Greeks, means "land of palms".

Due to the transfer of date from Phoenicia region to Mediterranean regions, Greeks call it Phoenix. Human beings carried the plant with them as a major product during emigration and promoted its use and cultivation.

It was used in Mesopotamian times since 4000 BC and by the Egyptians perhaps during 3000–2000 BC. The African date palm (P. reclinata) or the Indian date palm (P. sylvestris) or both may have been the progenitor of date palm.

In Mesopotamia, it was used for the construction of the temple of the moon god near Ur in Southern Iraq.

In Egypt's Nile Valley, it was used as the symbol for a year in Egyptian hieroglyphics and its frond as a symbol for a month. However, the culture of date palm did not become important in Egypt until somewhat later than that of Iraq.
Date palm cultivation during ancient times