Greeks considered the olive tree as a priceless gift to mankind. Symbol of peace, prosperity, protection and fertility. Divine gift. Tree of good connected to rebirth and light. Symbol of victory, immortality, euphoria, preservation and life. Symbol of Athletics, Culture, Environment and the Athlete.
Ancient Greeks gave, through the Olympic Games, the idea of inoffensive competition throughout athletics. Every 4 years people of ancient Greece sent their best to compete in the Olympic Games in Olympia. During the weeks of this competition in Olympia, every one who fought laid down their weapons and truce was taken place. Greeks then in peace, united, were exploring the limitations of human limits and the perfection of human bodies in a spectacular and well organized way.
The Olympic Champions were receiving the highest honor for an athleteΙan olive wreath called “kotinos”. It is said that inside Heras temple in Ancient Olympia Hercules, after the completion of the 12 contests, planted an olive tree that from its branches “kotinos” was made.
The olive tree was also the sacred tree of Athens. According to the mythology, goddess Athena offered the olive tree to the people of Athens as a symbol of fertility in order to gain their favor to the competition she had with god Poseidon in after whose name the city would be called. Goddess Athena, was appearing by the people of Athens on coins, wearing a wreath of olive on her helmet and carrying an amphorae filled with oil, or a branch of olive.
The gold and ivory statue of Zeus in Olympia, sculpted by Feidias, was decorated with olive branches and it is considered to be one of the seven miracles of the ancient world. Ancient Greeks used oil to lay on the headstones and the sacred rocks, in order to make ritual ceremonies.
Greeks were the first to grow olive trees for their precious goods which are olives and oil. The olive tree which harmonically meets with the Greek landscape and the personality of the citizens, carved from the Mediterranean sun and the Aegean winds, has always been an endless inspiration for the Greek spirit and soul.
Homer referred to the olive oil as “golden liquid” and Hippocrates as the “great healer”. The most important though is the fact that the olive tree grew and fed countless generations of Greeks, winning its spot as an integral part of the Greek civilization.