History & Culture

History & Culture

 

The history of olives and olive oil goes back for centuries. The olive tree is associated with thousands of years of Greek history and tradition. Tree was considered sacred and highly protected. He was a symbol of peace, victory, wisdom and friendship of peoples. The olive wreath wwas used to crown the winners of the Olympic Games.

The wild olive tree originated in the eastern Mediterranean, but the first olive cultivation took place in Greece and especially in Crete, during the prehistoric period. The primal relationship olive with Greece is confirmed by the fact that the Greek name "olive" is maintained in most European languages: olive (engl.), olive (fr.), oliva, oliven, oliwkowy, olajboyό etc.

The fiindings at the plateau of Methana's oldest mill in the Greek area (dating back to the 4th millennium BC) show that the use of olive oil was by that time already known. The excavations at Knossos (which date back to the Early Minoan era before 3000 BC) brought to light clay lamps that burned olive oil,  Since that time, therefore, the wide use of olive oil is proven, with most basic proof of course numerous representations and rubble stem mills scattered all over the Greek area, and excavations and shipwrecks revealed amphoras, pottery and frescoes, depicting all the phases olive growing, demonstrating the dominance of oil both in the Minoan and the Mycenaean period.

The oil is used for food and lighting, for religious reasons in various rites, for hygienic reasons, both as cosmetic and therapeutic purposes and in the end the industry.

In Homeric times the oil used to coat the body, and not for food or lighting. Later it became a staple for Greeks and began to be used for food and lighting as mentioned many authors, among them Aristophanes. The Romans also widely used oil for the preparation of various dishes and many are oil pots found in Pompeii excavations inside homes and elaiokapileia, as they were called at that time the stores were selling the oil. The oil was used for sanitary reasons by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

As a therapeutic agent olive oil is widely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Hippocrates recommended it as a "remedy", ie medicine, ideal for sixty different uses. With this they made coats to those who had a fever, fatigue and neuralgia. In Pliny washing the mouth with oil kept the whiteness of teeth. But against tetanus using the oil, and as an antidote in cases of poisoning the taking honey diluted into water. Also in surgery with the spread of wounds to accelerate their healing.In ancient times olive oil was widely used int the industry more specifically in the precess of flax, so that the manufactured fabrics weresofter and more resistant. With olive oil the ancient people prevented the oxidation of metals.

Over the years, the olive oil, or "liquid gold" as Homer called it, remained in a special place in the life of the Greeks, as an important ingredient of their daily diet.

Today, 95% - 97% of world olive oil production comes from the Mediterranean countries. Greece is the third largest producing country, after Spain and Italy. However, the Greek olive oil ranks first in quality of extra virgin olive oil and it is this superior quality that ensures international recognition.