Geography: The olive tree, “Olea” in Latin, is a plant who plays a very important role in the history of civilization of the civilizations around the Mediterranean basin, and throughout all the Western countries.
Particularities: The fruit of the olive tree, the olive, is used for both oil extraction, and for direct use, particularly in food industry.
Symbology: The olive tree symbolizes life, love, strength and victory.
- Many legends are being told about the olive tree: one of these comes from Greece, and tells that Athena, in order to bless the men, planted her spear in the ground, and from exactly that place the first olive tree branch has grown.
- Hercules harvested an olive branch at the “World end”, and that place became a wood sacred to Zeus. The olive branches from this wood were used to make the sacred wreaths for the winners of the Olympic Games.
- In Rome, the olive tree was dedicated to Minerva and Jupiter. The Romans borrowed from the Greeks some symbolic aspects of the olive branches, even if they considered (for some practical reasons) the olive oil as a commodity to be collected from defeated populations, to trade or to consume. The Romans used to honour, with crowns of olive branches, the illustrious citizens, the spouses on their wedding day, and the dead (adorned with olive branches to indicate they have won in the struggles of human life).