History of olive

Our olive grove in the island of Thassos

     In ancient Greece, olive-tree was well known for its benefits. The cultivation of olive-tree in ancient Greece began on Crete Island at about 3500 bC, but it was soon spread to the rest areas. 
     During the years of the Roman empire the cultivation of olive-tree was spread in the rest Mediterranean countries (France, Spain, Portugal e.t.c.).

The olive tree spread from the Middle East to Crete where the Minoan Greeks were the first to engage in full-scale cultivation of the olive. Fossilized olive leaves dating to 37,000 B.C. have been discovered on the Greek island of Santorini.

Indeed, the wizened trunk of the olive tree is elegantly and deeply imprinted with the very calligraphy of Western civilization. Homer called olive oil ‘liquid gold,’ and Hippocrates christened it ‘the great healer,’ the poetess Sappho sang the praises of the olive from the island of Lesvos.

Around the 5th century B.C. Greek colonists took the olive tree with them and helped propagate it around the Mediterranean basin – the area that is still home to over 90% of the world’s olive trees. In looking at the history of olive oil and the country where its roots are perhaps more intertwined and deeply dug-in than anywhere else on earth, we might well get a glimpse into what the very future holds for olive oil.

by Scott Stavrou
Olive Oil Times Contributor |  Reporting from Paros, Greece