The Queen of Sheba's Gift: A History of the True Balsam of Matarea

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Using written sources, visual data and archaeological material, the book reconstructs the cultural history of the balsam tree from Jericho and En-Gedi to Egypt, and from ancient times to the 17th century. It addresses the symbolic associations of balsam and the site of Matarea (where the last balsam tree died in 1615), the distribution of products from the tree through trade and diplomacy, and the applications of these products in medicine, ritual and the domestic environment. The book also establishes links with resin-producing trees from the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Electronic)9780748668526
ISBN (Print)9780748668496
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2021

Publication series

NameEdinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture


  • botany
  • history of medicine
  • Middle East
  • Egypt
  • Islam

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