Historical background - Although the history of beekeeping in Iran is unknown, there exists much clear evidence of the use of honey in ancient times. In an account made during the period of booming trade (500 BC) in the Persian empire it was reported that 'common place products such as .... , .... , honey, .... was one of the imported products which turned a profit for the merchants and produced tax for the King. Olmstead also mentions honey as one of the goods imported into Persia. Explaining the oriental culture, Aeschylus, the Greek historian, tells of libation to the demon Earth and to the dead, made of milk from an unblemished cow, water from a virgin spring, old wine, honey and olive oil. There are also carvings at the Persepolis showing Ionians pledging loyalty with (among other things) what appear to be upright skeps such as are used in northern Europe. They are, however, classified as uncertain objects. Visitors who witnessed the New Year feast at Persepolis speak of 'honey-rich beehives' as a gift for the monarch from the Ionians.