Homer claimed in his writings that the ancient olive tree growing in Athens was already 10,000 years old. He also stated that destroying an olive tree was prohibited and any such action would be viewed as capital punishment by the Greek court.
In 775 BC Olympia, Greece, at the site of the ancient Olympic stadium, athletes trained and competed in their respective sports with the winners triumphantly acclaimed and crowned with a wreath made of olive twigs.
The Greeks began olive cultivation in 700 BC. The sacred lamp that was used in ancient Greek culture for lighting dark rooms at night was fueled by olive oil. Aged olive oil was also used in sacred anointing rituals of the church at weddings and at baptisms, a ritual still continued today.
Solon an Athenian reformer and poet, in his economic reforms encouraged the cultivation of olives and prohibited any other produce to be exported.
Since 566 BC, the famous Panathenaic Games were held every four years in Athens, ancient Greece, celebrating the honour of the goddess Athena. During the games, religious festivals, ceremonies, cultural events and competitions were held. For the winners, the prize consisted of an amphora filled with olive oil produced by olives from the sacred olive fields of Attica.
Herodotus wrote in 500 BC, that the growing and exporting of olives and olive oil were so sacred that only virgins and eunuchs were allowed to cultivate olive trees.
The first documented plantings of olive trees predate the discovered Mycenae olive fossils by about 1100 years and are believed to have occurred on the island of Crete by the Minoan civilization.
The ancient Greeks mastered the art of pressing the precious oil from the fruit of the olive tree. Archaeological studies prove that Greece has been producing high quality olive oil for more than 4000 years.