The History of Citron: Botanical Remains and Ancient Art and Texts

Dafna Langgut*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Citron (Citrus medica), which originated in the central Himalayan foothills, seems to have made its way from the South-East to the Near-East via Persia, and from the Eastern Mediterranean, it spread into the entire Mediterranean Basin and Europe. The first robust evidence of citron cultivation originates from Ramat-Rahel near Jerusalem, where fossil C. medica pollen grains were found in a Royal Persian garden dated to the fifth-fourth centuries BCE. The citron was probably brought from the Iranian-Plateau to flaunt the power of the imperial Persian administration. Theophrastus’s writings corroborate that by the fourth century BCE, the citron was already well established in Persia and Medea. ISince the third century BCE, citron remains were also found in relation to prestigious gardens in Rome and Pompeii. This elite product slowly penetrated into Judaism. Based on the textual evidence and the appearance on coins, it seems that the citron became a fixed element in the feast of Sukkot in the first century AD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Citron Compendium
Subtitle of host publicationThe Citron (Etrog) Citrus medica L.: Science and Tradition
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783031257759
ISBN (Print)9783031257742
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


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