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The Legend of the Olive Tree

The Olive Tree has been a symbol of eternity, longevity, wisdom, kindness, purity and beauty since ancient times, used even then as a cosmetic ingredient. The history of the Olive Tree, fruit and oil is intertwined with that of Greece, for example, in ancient times; it was used to anoint kings. It is amongst the oldest known cultivated trees in the world, being grown for over 6.000 years, even before the written language was invented. The olive tree and its precious fruit are woven into the traditions of civilizations and religions throughout time.

The city of Athens was named as such as a tribute to the Goddess Athena for bringing the precious gift of the olive tree to the Greeks. 

Athena and Poseidon, two of the capricious gods of Olympus, fought over the city. Letting the other gods decide, they both gave the citizens an offering. Poseidon, with a mighty blow of his trident, birthed water from a rock. The people were amazed, but upon tasting it realized it was sea water; salty. Athena climbed onto the same rock, bent down and planted the Olive Tree, the first tree in Athens. Appreciating how this one tree can gift its oil, fruit and wood, it was decided that Athena was to be the protector of the city. 

The olive tree has been held in high esteem for Greeks since then, with Greece devoting 60% of its cultivated land for growing olives, and is still one of the largest producers of olive oil globally. A branch of olive, the famous “Kotinos”, was the prize for athletes who won in the Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia. The winner of the Olympic Marathon, even today, is crowned with an olive wreath, derived from a 5.000 year old olive tree in Crete, likely the oldest in the world and acclaimed as a Memorial tree by UNESCO. 
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