The tree and its fruit give its name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, forsythia and the true ash trees (fraxinus).
The word derives from Latin “oliva” which in turn comes from the Greek Eλαία (elaia) ultimately from Mycenaean Greek e-ra-wa (“elaiva”), attested in Linear B syllabic script.
The olive tree gift of Athena, Goddess of wisdom, considered by citizens of the newly founded city of Cecrops that was most precious to life than the gift of thalassocrats Neptune, is the symbol of fertility and protection.
The Athenians honored olive tree. On coins, many times, they depicted Athena wearing olive wreath over her helmet, symbol of protection.
Homer in the Iliad tells us that Odysseus and Diomedes washed away with hot water and then rubbed their bodies with olive oil.
Sophocles in his work “Oedipus at Colonus” confirms that the olive tree is a tree that was given birth by the Athenian land and was under the protection of the gods and sacred symbol of protection.
In Greek tradition, the olive tree is the tree of peace. The very Peace (deity who was the daughter of Zeus and Thetis) was pictured with an olive branch in her hands.
The olive tree for the ancient Greeks was a symbol of the Olympic ideals of Peace, Wisdom and Victory. That is why the only prize that the Olympic Champions used to take was a wreath made from an olive branch, the “kotinos”.
Homer called olive oil “liquid gold” and Hippocrates “great healer”.
Asclepius, Theophrastus and Plutarch praised its medicinal properties before the current oil in particular, extra virgin olive oil, crowned with success as the official anti-oxidant and anti-aging ingredient of the century!