Ancient Cedar Trees

The cedar in biblical times stood as a symbol for everything strong, fertile and abundant. Its wood was highly prized for its strength, colour and scent. Europeans regarded the giant trees with awe and celebrated them in village folklore. Three of the four species of cedar came from the shores of the Mediterranean, the fourth from the western Himalayas. The oldest, the cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani) survive today in the mountains of south-eastern Turkey. They have remained too high it seems for flood waters to reach them. The Epic poem of Gilgamesh from antiquity tells about the ‘forests stretching ten thousand leagues in every direction’ of scrub oak, oriental plane, species of box, cedar, cypress and poplar. They stood at the forest’s edge, gazing at the top of the cedar tree, gazing at the entrance to the forest…the cedar mountain, the dwelling place of the Gods’.

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