Olive – Symbolism and history


The olive tree is the tree of goodness, identified with rebirth and light. Symbol of peace, fertility, protection. It is the symbol of Peace, Wisdom and victory. Immortality and euphoria.

For the ancient Greeks, the Olive tree symbolizes the Olympic ideal, which is why the Olympians crowned them with a wreath of olive branches “o kotinos” that existed in Ancient Olympia inside the temple of Hera, Kallistefanos Elea as it was called. They received olive oil as a prize.


According to mythology, the olive was brought to the Greeks by the goddess Athena who also taught its cultivation. In the Acropolis there was the first Holy Olive that the goddess Athena gave to the Greeks. In the Academy the twelve sacred olives and the sacred olive grove from which came the oil that was given as a prize to the winners of Panathinaikos.

According to Homer, the olive was called the liquid gold of the diet.

Aristotle considered the cultivation of olives a science.

Hippocrates used olive oil as a medicine.

 The oldest olive tree in the world is located in the village of Vouves in the Municipality of Kolimbari, in Chania. It has a trunk circumference of 12.5 meters, a diameter of 3.64 meters and its area is 11.45 sq.m. It is dated to be about 2,500-5,000 years old. Its importance was pointed out in 1922 by the prefectural councilor Polychronis Polychronidis and the olive tree was declared a protected natural monument with no. ap.105497 / 6459/1986 (656 / ΤΒ / 1986). As an olive tree, she participated in four Olympics, as the winners of the 2004 Marathon Roads in Athens, in 2008 in Beijing, in 2012 in London and in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro were awarded KOTINOI from its branches.

Ioannis Polemis had written the beautiful lyrics about the olive tree:

“Blessed be the soil that nourishes you

and blessed be the water you drink from the clouds,

and blessed is he who sent you three times,

for the lamp of the poor,

for the lamp of the saint “