THE HISTORY OF OLIVE

Korinthia: a land with long history. The ancient traveler and geographer, Pausanias, mentions the olive trees of Korinthia in his work. The olive tree is indissolubly connected to the cultural heritage, the customs and the economic life of the region. The sea breeze, the abundant sunshine, the fertile soil and the special climate of the region create the purposes for the production of quality products. “Manaki”, which is a variety of olive tree, is cultivated in this region where it has found the ideal conditions to offer the unique Korinthian olive oil.

The cultivation of the olive tree first appears in ancient Greece. According to Greek mythology, goddess Athena planted the first olive tree in Acropolis, in the temple of Erechtheum “Zeus Morios“ and so it was called “Moria Elea” (elea is the Greek name for olive tree). It was a sacred tree for the Greeks, a symbol of wisdom, peace and triumph. The messengers used to carry an olive branch as a symbol of peace. Also, the Greeks used to crown Olympic champions with olive branch wreaths (of “kotino or agrielia” which are both types of olive trees). In the rich Greek literature, we come across olive oil in nutrition, athletics, beautification, rituals offered to gods and medicine. In addition, olive oil was used as a lighting fuel, where the wood of the olive tree was used as a fuel in carpentry and wood carving.

Beside the archaeological findings, we also have reports like those of Homer who calls olive oil “solid liquid gold” and those of Aeschylus who calls the island of Samos “Eleofyton” (in Greek, the olive tree), as well as the reports of many others. Herodotos refers to the great “olive trees of Sikyon” in his work, which shows that the olive tree existed in Korinth from ancient years. From what we understand, the olive tree was the sacred tree of the Greeks and it was directly connected to the civilization, the religion and the economy of ancient Greece.