Saffron cultivation began 3000 years ago. Botanical studies suggest that it originates from Greece. Saffron crocus has been created by artificial selection and the people who have grown it have done it in order to obtain extremely long stigmas. This happened in the late Bronze Age in Crete. Experts believe that saffron was first recorded in an Assyrian botanical guide from the 7th century BC. It has been found documentation, over a period of 4000 years ,about the benefits of the treatment of more than 90 diseases.
In Greece and ancient Rome they painted saffron as a medicine in frescoes in the period around 1500-1600 BC. Later, Greek legends tell of sea voyages to Cilicia, where travelers have hoped to get the most valuable saffron in the world.
Another legend tells about the adventure of Crocus and Smilax and how Crocus was bewitched and turned into the first saffron crocus. Ancient Mediterranean people used saffron in their perfumes, ointments, makeup and treatments.
Some of them were doctors from Gaza, citizens of Rhodes and Greek Heteros. Cleopatra herself used saffron for bathing in order to receive more pleasure. The Romans so loved the saffron that they transported it to southern Gaul, where they grew it massively until the fall of Rome in year 271.
Paint with saffron crocuses are also found in 50,000-year-old images of prehistoric animals in ancient Iraq. Later the Sumerians use saffron for medicaments and magical elixirs. Saffron has been a subject of trade even before the progress of Minoan culture in the second millennium BC. The ancient Persians cultivated saffron and used saffron threads for weaving into fabrics in sacrificial tissues. They also used it for dyes, perfumes, medicines and in washing tools.
During his march, Alexander the Great used Persian saffron in his tea, rice and baths as a cure for war wounds. In Asia, saffron appeared around 500 BC after the Persian invasion and the colonization of Kashmir. Using Kashmir saffron for dyes and drugs, the Phoenicians spread it across South Asia.
In Europe, the cultivation of saffron decreases rapidly after the fall of the Roman Empire. With the onset of the Mavericks, the saffron returned to Spain, France and Italy. At the time of the plague in the 14th century, the demand for saffron as a cure has increased tremendously and they have driven it by vessels from southern and Mediterranean countries like Rhodes.
The theft of such a supply is the cause of the saffron war that lasted for 14 weeks. As a consequence and because of the increased fear of saffron piracy, began the cultivation of the herb in Basel and Nuremberg. It is also spread in England for a certain period of time, but France, Spain and Italy remain the traditional countries for its cultivation.