Fig tree - ancient tree
The fig tree is called differently - figs, fig trees, figs, wine berries. From one fig tree you can collect up to 100 kg of berries. The fig tree belongs to the ficus family. This tree has a powerful trunk, shiny hard leaves and a crown that gives shade and coolness. Fig inflorescences are called sycopia, it is pear-shaped or round berry, hollow inside. The tiny nondescript flowers of the fig tree are inside the berries, you can see them if you break the inflorescence.
© Hedwig Storch
Fig tree is a very ancient tree. Its fruits were collected by primitive people in the Paleolithic era. The fig tree is the only tree mentioned in the Old Testament tale of Adam and Eve. “They sewed fig leaves and made a girdle for themselves” - the clothes of the first people looked like that. The ancient Phoenicians worshiped the Mediterranean fig tree as a deity. The fig tree communicated with God, it was a place of prayer. Pious Jews also recited prayers for every day under the fig tree. In the life of the ancient Jews, the fig tree was of great importance; in the Holy Scriptures it was proclaimed as a symbol of the Jewish people. A dried fig tree was considered a foreshadow of God's wrath, which will fall upon the wicked people.
© H. Zell
In ancient Italy, the fig tree was a cult of fertility. The fruits of the fig tree played a huge role in the life of the inhabitants of Italy, the beginning of autumn was called “prima figa” (“first fig”). Wreaths of fig leaves served as a decoration for participants in Roman harvest festivals. Figs were considered sacred trees and they grew in front of temples. The mythical ideas about the fig tree among the Romans and Greeks are very similar. The fig tree was brought to Italy from Greece. In the ancient world, Greece was the main producer of figs. And today, archaeologists find the remains of dried figs. 44 varieties of figs bred in Hellas were considered the best in the Mediterranean and brought great income to the Greek states. The oldest statues of the winners of the Olympic Games were carved from the wood of fig trees. In Sparta, Dionysus the Figive was revered, his images carved from a fig tree were stored on the island of Naxos. The legend says that the art of growing figs was transmitted by the fertility goddess Demeter to the Eleusian king Fital.
© Kurt Stueber
Since ancient times, fig trees have been grown in Egypt. The Egyptians considered sikimora (fig) a sacred tree, the embodiment of the sky goddess Nut. In India, too, revered fig tree. On ceramics, seals and prints, you can see the image of the Indian fig tree - the pipala - the prototype of the Sky Tree, standing on a platform with a goddess in a fork surrounded by mythical characters and priests. Figs were used to make sticks for kindling the sacred fire and vessels for worship. In India, to this day there is a cult of the sacred fig tree. In India, the fig tree is considered the throne of the god Vishnu, who in the form of a young man sits on its branches. In the ancient period, it was believed that the first cultural fruit that humanity inherited was a fig tree, it was the first to lead humanity to a better life. Since ancient times, people have appreciated and love this tree for the nutritional and taste qualities of its fruits.