The history of olives

The history of olives

Olive trees are directly connected with Greek history. The Greeks were the first civilization to cultivate olive trees in the European continent.

Mycenaeus offered olive oil to their gods while Homer called olive oil “the liquid gold of nutrition”. Aristotle considered the cultivation of olive trees a science and Hippocrates used olive oil as a medicine.

In Greek mythology Hercules planted an olive tree in Hera’s temple in ancient Olympia right after he completed his 12 feats. The tree became known as the kalistefanos olive tree the branches of which were used to make the wreath that were given to the best athletes of the ancient Olympics. This wreath was called kotinos. The olive tree branch inspired the modern Olympics as well since it was the logo of the Greek Olympics in 2004.

The olive oil was also given to the winners of the Olympics in panathenean amphoras.

It was considered a sacred tree and according to Greek mythology the goddess Athena gave the first tree to the Greeks. It is said that she knocked her spear to the ground and an olive tree grew instantly. The people of Athens then decided to name the city after her.