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Sycamore

Thutmose III suckled by the Sycamore Goddess (Isis)

The Ancient Egyptians cultivated this tree "almost exclusively." Remains of sycomore begin to appear in predynastic  levels and in quantity from the start of the third millennium BCE. It was the ancient Egyptian Tree of Life. The fruit and the timber, and sometimes even the twigs, are richly represented in the tombs of  the Egyptian Early, Middle and Late Kingdoms. In numerous cases the parched fruiting bodies, known as sycons, bear characteristic gashing marks indicating that this art, which induces ripening, was practiced in Egypt in ancient times.Although this species of fig requires the presence of the symbiotic wasp Ceratosolen arabicus to reproduce sexually, and this insect is extinct in Egypt, Egypt was the principal area of sycamore fig development. Some of the caskets of mummies in Egypt are made from the wood of this tree. In tropical areas where the wasp is common, complex mini-ecosystems involving the wasp, nematodes, other parasitic wasps, and various larger predators revolve around the life cycle of the fig. The trees' random production of fruit in such environments assures its constant attendance by the insects and animals which form this ecosystem.

In literature

Ostracon sinuhe

Ostracon from the tomb of Sennedjem at Deir el-Medina. Inscribed with the Story of Sinuhe

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In the Story of Sinuhe, Sinuhe's name (“Son of the Sycamore”) is seen as providing an important link in understanding  the story. The sycamore is an ancient Egyptian Tree of Life, associated with HathorHathor (the Goddess of fertility, rebirth and patroness of foreign countries), who  features throughout the work. It is also mentioned in the Bible

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