Olive Oil and Olive Tree Origins

The Olive Tree

The olive tree is a plant that produces for its all long centuries-old life cycle and to grow it needs a temperate climate with mild winters and wet and without very cold temperatures.
For this reason olives tree has been cultivated in the Mediterranean countries for over 3000 years, through Palestine, Ancient Egypt, then to Greece and then spread with the Roman Empire also to Italy and the other countries surrounding the "Mare Nostrum ", as the Mediterranean sea was called by ancient Romans.

The Use of olive oil in history

Over the centuries, man has used olive oil for the wide variety of uses.In addition to use as food and as a condiment, has been used as a medicine, as cosmetic, as an ornament and as a fuel source of energy and light, to honor heroes and dead, in the sacramental liturgy and consecration of kings and even into the trade as "valuable currency".Over time, it has been a symbol of peace, wisdom, prosperity, wealth, strength, beauty, dignity, sacredness, of honor, of victory, of consecration, of the covenant with God and men. The olive oil therefore has accompanied the history of man, thanks to his versatility.


Some sedentary tribes between the current Lebanon and Egypt, used the oil that it has extracted from fruits (olives) of shrubs that grew naturally, both to protect the skin and both as fuel for the lamps.
The Egyptians used olive oil, especially in activities related to the cult of the dead: they decorated the graves with olive branches, and anointed with oil to mummify the bodies of the dead. In addition, the olive oil was used in the ceremonies of appointment of the royal officials, anointing the head of the designated.
The Greeks used olive oil, in addition to the primary use, which was as food, even as a medicament, for skin care, as cosmetic, for personal hygiene, as a fuel for lighting, and for rituals in ceremonies.
The Romans started the olive oil trade, and, especially, they used it, even as "money", and often they accepted it for the payment of taxes from conquered peoples. The Romans finally appreciated the olive tree as a symbol of glory in the crown of the heroes and as a wish for prosperity in the wedding ornaments. With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the olive cultivation spread throughout the Mediterranean basin.
With the advent of Christianity, the olive oil started to be used in the liturgy, and for the administration of the sacraments. The Christian tradition preserves the symbolic value attached to this plant, as well as in the sacraments, in the exchange of branches blessed as a symbol of peace, the sign of the lamp that burns eternally next to the Blessed Sacrament, powered by olive oil.