Athens – Greece
27.09.2009 31 °C
Olea Europaea or Olive tree (from Greek word elaion).
It was purely a matter of local pride that the Athenians claimed that the olive first grew in Athens. In an archaic Athenian foundation myth, Goddess Athena won the patronship of Athens from Poseidon with the gift of the olive. The olive was sacred to Athena and appeared on the Athenian coinage.
An olive tree in west Athens, named "Plato's Olive Tree", was rumored to be a remnant of the grove within which Plato's Academy was situated, which would date it to approximately 2,400 years ago.
In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed olive oil all over their bodies. At the original Olympic Games, more than 2,500 years ago, an olive wreath was the sole tangible reward offered to champion athletes. In the case of the chariot races, the wreath went to the owner of the winning team of horses. Olive branches were chosen because of the tree's association with the Greek god, Zeus. A sacred olive tree was said to have grown near his spectacular temple in ancient Olympia.
Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean. It has been medicinal and magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power.
More at: Kevrekidis Photography
© 2009 Jordan Kevrekidis