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Frankincense

From Academic Kids

Frankincense is an aromatic resin obtained from the tree Boswellia thurifera or B. sacra. It is used in incense.

Frankincense (whose name refers to its preeminence as the "true" or "frank" incense) is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-lubán (“the milk”), a reference to the milky sap tapped from the frankincense tree.

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Frankincense.jpg
Frankincense and myrrh for sale in a Jerusalem market

Frankincense was lavishly used in religious rites. According to the Gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense and myrrh were the three gifts to Jesus by the magi 'from out of the east.' The growth of Christianity depressed the market for frankincense during the fourth century, desertification made the caravan trails leading across the Rub al Khali or 'Empty Quarter' of Arabia more difficult, and increased raiding by the nomadic Parthians in the Near East combined to dry up the frankincense trade after ca 300 CE.

It was said that the Roman Emperor Nero burned a year's worth of frankincense intended for the city of Rome at the funeral of his wife, Poppaea.

The lost city of Ubar, sometimes identified with Irem, in what is now Oman, is believed to have been a centre of the frankincense trade along the recently-rediscovered 'Incense Road.' Ubar was rediscovered in the early 1990s and is now under archaeological excavation.

Contents

Articles

  • On the Frankincense Trail (http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/smithsonian/issues98/oct98/yemen.html)-Smithsonian Magazine October 1998
  • Atlantis of the Sands (http://www.archaeology.org/9705/abstracts/ubar.html)-Archaeology Magazine May/June 1997
  • Spices Exotic Flavors and Medicines (http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm?displayID=28.html)-UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library Spice Exhibit Frankincense and Myrrh 2002

Related Sites

  • UNESCO (http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=1010)-UNESCO Frankincense Trail Dhofar Province, Oman
  • Pictures of Ubar (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/radar/sircxsar/ubar1.html)-NASA August 3, 1995

Reference Material

  • The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands by Clapp Nicholas ISBN 0395957869 (1999)
  • Frankincense & Myrrh: A Study of the Arabian Incense Trade-Groom, Nigel ISBN 0866855939 (1981)
  • Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh: An Introduction to Eastern Christian Spirituality-Maloney George A ISBN 0824516168 (1997)
  • Frankincense & Myrrh : Through the Ages, and a complete guide to their use in herbalism & aromatherapytoday-Watt, Martin & Sellar, Wanda ISBN 0852073062 (2004)

See Also

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