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The history of olive oil

The cultivation of the olive tree has been well known since 4000 B.C.

The tree originated in the coasts of Asia Minor. According to findings revealed during the excavations at Knossos, Crete island is the original home of the olive tree. This assumption is supported by the fact that the word olive (elia) is greek and has been preserved in all the languages.

The oil of olives or the 'golden liquid' ,according to Homer, was not a simple food in ancient times; it was a symbol of health and power, a medicine, as well as source of magic and admiration. In ancient Greece in particular, athletes rubbed their bodies with olive oil because they believed that it would give them power and luck; warriors used it to anoint the heads of noble people and dropped a few drops on the bones of dead saints, as it was the symbol of sanctification and purity.

It is estimated that the cultivation of the olive tree in the wider Mediterranean space started approximately 7.000 years ago. When it comes to Greece, the first witnesses of its cultivation, according to archaeological findings, indicate that it started on the island of Crete, 3.500 years ago.

The history of olive oil