GALIL : TECHNIQUE FOR RIPENING SYCOMORE FRUIT 179 the Mishna and the Tosephta, we find many rules governing use of the tree and its products. (4). The extensive literature on the syc(mmrc accumulated from the tinle of Theophrastus to the present makes repeated reference to a unique treatment of the sycomore fruit, as practiced in Egypt and in Cyprus. Theo- phrastus states (21, vol. 1, book IV, p. 291) : "It cannot ripen unless it is scraped, but they scrape it with iron claws; the fruit thus scraped ripens in four days." Keimer (14) quotes an Egyptian farmer on the same subject: "Before I begin the work of cutting the sycomore figs, first of all I sharpen two similar knives. Then I climb the tree. As there are innumerable fruit on the tree, I must work quickly. I take therefore a knife in each hand, that is when the form of the branch offers a sufficient hold .... " In the same work, Keimer depicts the special knife used by the Egyptians for making these circular cuts (Fig. 1). Brief references to
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