Greek Olive Oil History
The olive tree is a plant of Greek origin. This plant preexisted humans. In Evia and other islands in Greece, olive fossils have been found, showing that this invaluable tree grew in Greece, tens of thousands of years ago before the appearance of Hommo Sapiens (thinking man).
It is speculated that the first people who lived in Greece, lived under the shadows of vast wild olive trees that were in great density of Evia, Samos, Lesbos, the Ionian Islands and Attica.
In Greek mythology, the home of the olive tree is Athens. Goddess Athena offered the olive tree to the city of Athens as a symbol of peace and prosperity, giving the city her name along with the promise of eternal protection.
Ancient Greeks considered the olive tree as the sacred and blessed tree of the Greeks, a symbol of abundance, purity, wisdom, friendship, strength, victory, honor and peace. With an olive branch they crowned the winners in competitions. From a wild olive branch was the "kotinos, the prize of victory, the humble single biggest prize of the ancient Games, the Olympic Games.
The cultivation of the olive tree in Greece is known by the third millennium BC. Reference to the tree and is made by Homer, Hippocrates, Solon. The first olive tree cultivation worldwide was in Greece and particularly Crete, the Minoan era around 3500 BC playing the major role in the economy of the Minoan world. Then came the first oil export trade, to Egypt and the countries of North Africa and Asia Minor. The ancients Greeks prepared from the olives oil that was used for medical purposes, cosmetics, body care etc. Olive oil from the sacred olive trees of Goddess Athena, in imposing ancient jars, "the Panathenaic amphorae", was the sole prize of the biggest competitions of ancient Athens, the "Panathenaic Competitions".
In cooking, the oil is used mainly after 3.000 BC