Dilmun is regarded as one of the oldest ancient civilizations in the Persian Gulf. It was an important trading center from the late fourth millennium to 800 BC. At the height of its power, Dilmun controlled the Persian Gulf trading routes.
The Sumerians described Dilmun as a paradise garden in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Sumerian tale of the garden paradise of Dilmun may have been an inspiration for the biblical Garden of Eden story.
The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of the King of Uruk (or ancient Iraq) about 2100 BC.
This king spent much of his time looking for the sacred island of Dilmun where, he was told, there is an underwater plant which gives eternal life to whoever gets hold of it. Nowadays we know that the fabled ‘plant’ actually was the oyster – and if you were lucky contained a pearl. The ancients believed that anyone who ate the flesh of the oyster and the crushed pearl within would live forever.
So much so that supposedly Cleopatra gave her beloved Marc Antony a potion of crushed Bahraini pearls so that he would never die.