History of Olive Oil

Considered sacred by the people of the Mediterranean for thousands of years, the olive tree continues to fascinate and maintain its hold on our imagination. The precise origins of the olive tree are shrouded in mystery. Persia, greater Jordan, and the Valleys of the Nile each have their advocates. Some also contend that the cultivation of the olive began around 5000 B.C. in Crete and the neighboring Greek Islands. The best that can be said with certainty is that cultivation began a very long time ago, somewhere in the Near East and spread slowly westward across the Mediterranean Sea. All major civilizations of the Mediterranean have played a part in the dissemination of the olive throughout this region: Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans.

The ancient Greeks believed the olive tree was a gift from the goddess Athena and began using olive oil in their religious rituals. Homer, the immortal Greek poet, called olive oil the golden liquid and the Greek Laws of Solon, during the 6th to 7th century BC, prohibited the cutting down of olive trees with the punishment of death.

Olive oil is not only appreciated just as food , but for many other reasons such as the promotion of health and beauty , became ingrained in these cultures. The Romans are said to have slathered it on their bodies to moisturize after bathing.

 

Filliris-elies-eleolado

Fossil leaf from

Olive, found

in areas of the Aegean,

age 50.000 – 60.000 years