The history of saffron cultivation and usage reaches back more than
3,000 years and spans many cultures, continents, and civilisations.
Saffron, a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus,
has remained among the world's most costly substances throughout
history. With its bitter taste, hay-like fragrance, and slight
metallic notes, saffron has been used as a seasoning, fragrance, dye,
and medicine. Saffron is native to Southwest Asia, but was first
cultivated in Greece. The wild precursor of domesticated saffron
crocus is Crocus cartwrightianus. Human cultivators bred C.
cartwrightianus specimens by selecting for plants with abnormally long
stigmas. Thus, sometime in late Bronze Age Crete, a mutant form of C.
cartwrightianus, C. sativus, emerged. Saffron was first documented in
a 7th-century BC Assyrian botanical reference compiled under
Ashurbanipal. Since then, documentation of saffron's use over a span
of 4,000 years in the treatment of some ninety illnesses has been
uncovered. Saffron slowly spread throughout much of Eurasia, later
reaching parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The Deccan sultanates defeated the Vijayanagara Empire in the Battle
of Talikota, ended the last Hindu kingdom in India.
The magnitude 9 Cascadia Earthquake took place off the Pacific coast
of the American Northwest, as evidenced by Japanese records of
The British First Fleet, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed at
Sydney Cove just outside present-day Sydney, establishing the first
permanent European settlement in Australia.
President Rajendra Prasad succeeded Rajaji the last Governor General
as the head of state of India and the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian
The hugely popular spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3 was first released.
Wikiquote of the day:
The only gold is love,A coin that we have minted from the lightOf
others who have cared for us on EarthAnd who have deposited in us the
powerThat nerves our nerves to seize the burning stars. -- Philip