Citrons and lemons were status symbols for the ancient Roman ruling elite, researchers have found.
While citrus orchards are common in Mediterranean regions today, citrus fruits are not native to the Mediterranean – instead, they came from Southeast Asia.
According to the study, the first remains of the earliest lemons were found in the Roman Forum at around the time of Jesus Christ.
The citron, a large fragrant fruit with a thick rind, was considered a valuable commodity due to its healing qualities, symbolic use, pleasant odor and rarity, and its spread was helped due to its social status.
Until the first century AD, the only citrus produce available to the ancient Romans were the extremely rare and expensive citrons and lemons. After the arrival of citrons and lemons, sour oranges, limes and pomelos were introduced to the West by Muslim…