Persian story of saffron
Saffron-based pigments have been found in the prehistoric paints used to illustrate beasts in 50,000 year-old cave art found in today's Iraq (north-west of Persian Empire). Later, the Sumerians used saffron as an ingredient in their remedies and magical potions. Sumerians did not cultivate saffron. They gathered their stores from wild flowers, believing that divine intervention alone enables saffron's medicinal properties. Such evidence provides evidence that saffron was an article of long-distance trade before Crete's Minoan palace culture reached a peak in the 2nd millennium BC.