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Mythology :

 

The history of the olive tree begins 7000 years ago.

mediterrasean-history

Olive trees came to the European Mediterranean region from Phoenician merchants. With Greece as a gateway, they travelled to southern Europe, reaching Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.
As such, Greeks were the first population to cultivate olive trees in the European Mediterranean area.
The Athenian democratic state was one of the most important olive oil production centers in the Mediterranean.
Between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC, ancient Greek philosophers, historians and physicians studied olive oil not only for its nutritional properties but also for medical/pharmaceutical purposes. They also kept a record of its botanical characteristics. The symbolic meaning of the olive—as well as its social and economic value—integrated all areas of life in ancient Greece.
Olive oil production continued during the Byzantine period; the empire quickly became the biggest exporter of olive oil in the world. During this period, olive trees and olive oil played an important role in the rituals of the Orthodox Christian Church. Through history the olive tree has become a symbol of peace, wisdom, fertility, prosperity, and glory.
As it nourishes, sustains, protects, tones, heals and inspires, it is no wonder that the olive tree is considered to be blessed..

 

Greatest Gift

mediterrasean-history

According to Greek mythology, the creation of the olive tree was the result of a contest between Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, and Poseidon, God of the Sea, as to who would become the protector of a newly built city in Attica (the historical region of Greece). The city would then be named after the god or goddess who gave the citizens the most precious, useful and divine gift. With his trident, Poseidon struck a rock. Water rushed out of the rock, creating a spring of salty water, symbolizing his gift of sea power. Athena followed by striking a rock with her spear and produced the olive tree, an offering signifying fruitfulness and peace. The citizens (wisely) chose the gift of Athena and she forever became the patroness of the city named after her.
The story of her precious gift and the recognition of its value have been carried down through the millennia. Even today, an olive tree stands where the story of this legendary competition is said to have taken place. The myth continues as a “living legend” as it is said that all the olive trees in Athens were descended from that first olive tree offered by Athena.
Since the olive tree provided wood, nourishment, and trade, she won.


The olive tree became a symbol of peace because of this victory.

The olive tree was a big part of all rituals in ancient Greece; olive oil was poured on the ground as a sacrifice to the Gods and was rubbed on athletes bodies before they took part in the Olympics. An olive branch was used as a symbol of peace whenever the Greeks entered into truce with their enemies and was the awarded to any athlete who won at the Olympics.


In Ancient times olive wood was used for architectural purposes and to make tools. The Oil as a commodity had a major economical importance too; it was what the whole Greek trade was based upon - it is a historic fact that when at war, the first thing the Spartans did was to burn the olive groves of Athens, sometimes fatally weakening their opponents. Another historical example of this importance - is when Athens’ own crop failed, the Athenians voted to honor a foreign merchant who sold them 56.000 liters of oil.

 

HEALTHY BENEFITS

Another myth states that it was Hercules who brought the first olive tree from the heavens. Homer refers to olive oil as ‘liquid gold’ and Aristotle argued that the cultivation of olive trees is a science. According to Hippocrates, olive oil was used in ancient Greece for more than 60 pharmaceutical applications, including the healing of skin problems, of stomach pains and of ear infections.
The symbol of the olive tree has very deep roots in Greek tradition; it symbolizes wealth, health, beauty, wisdom and abundance. Its importance has never faded and its nutritional and pharmaceutical value is now recognized throughout the whole of the modern world.

 



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