Ancient Carob Tree

There is an ancient carob tree in the valley a short distance below the cave of Saint John Climacus. It has a gnarled and weathered trunk.

The carob tree, χαρουπιά (Ceratonia siliqua), produces pods. Both the pulp and the seeds are edible.

In the classical world, the seeds of the carob tree were considered very consistent in weight. They were used to weigh gold. A Roman pure gold solidus was equal in weight to 24 carob seeds.

The Greek word for a carob seed is κεράτιον, and the Arab word qīrāṭ, from which we have the English word ‘carat’. Even today, 24 carat gold is pure gold.

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