Greek Olive Oil History
Did you know that?

  • An olive branch, called “Kotinos” was the prize for the winners of the Olympic Games. “Kotinos” was cut from the holy olive grove of Olympia, named “Altis”.
  • During the Creta-Mykaene period, Olive Oil was used for the preparation of perfumes and ointments. At that time and during the Olympic Games, athletes used it as an ointment for relaxing their muscles.
  • In the ancient Greek and -later- in the Roman times, Olive Oil was used for body sanitation, much like soap today!
  • According to Hippocrates’ medicine, Olive Oil was also used for healing cholera, deafness (!), gynaecological complaints and body burns.
  • During the Byzantine period, Olive Oil was used in perfumery for the creation of scents and also as a cosmetic for women. Olive Oil was also used for lighting purposes, a use which kept holding out until the 20th century, before the total diffusion of electricity.
  • The importance of olive trees’ cultivation was so big for the Athenians that -according to Solon’s legislative proceedings – uprooting an olive tree led to the death sentence! It was not permitted to the Athenians to plant any other kind of tree near an olive tree.
  • Homer in his epic poems mentions the coating of distinguished dead with Olive Oil during their burial, proof of its symbolic and ceremonial meaning.
  • Following the spread of Christianity, Olive Oil maintained its religious meaning and took a significant role in the rituals of Christian religion.
  • The olive tree was also the favourite subject of the ancient painters. Solitary olive tree branches were the subject in hieroglyphics, ceramics and embossed representations. A complete drawing of an olive tree can be found -for a first time- on the wall-paintings of the Knossos palace, expressing the flora of the Cretan landscape.