Sole che Sorge - The origins
The word comes from the greek word "elaion" , in Latin "oleum". The history of the olive tree and the origin of this precious gold liquid intertwine history and mythology.
Legend tells, by order of Zeus, the city of Athens and the region of Attica were donated to those among the gods had provided the most useful gift, and at last in the race were Athena the goddess of wisdom and Poseidon, god of the sea.
Poseidon hurled trident to the ground and brought forth brackish water, Athena instead gave birth to a new tree from the earth, "the olive tree". Zeus and the Athenians, recognizing the usefulness of the olive that would have given them food, oil and timber, decreed Athena winner of the race, giving his name to the city of Athens.
Another legend tells that after Persians sacked the city in 480 BC, attempted to burn the tree, but this did immediately grow fresh leaves surviving.
The survival of the olive tree was also protected by the law: there was the death penalty for those who cut or destroyed it. Since ancient times, the olive tree has been a symbol of abundance, glory and peace, in ancient Greece the Athenians winners were offered a crown and a cruet of olive oil.
They used to crown the winners in games and wars, crowns of olives and olive branches, emblems of benediction and purification were offered to the gods and powerful figures: some were even found in the tomb of Tutan Kamon. The olive tree was considered sacred by many people, not only because of its caloric intake, but the nature of plant resistance and long life.
The Egyptians believed that it was a gift from the gods, the Jews used it to anoint their King, Phoenicians and Greeks built vessels designed for the transport of amphoras to spread it in the Mediterranean. The Romans also began to specialize in storing and distributing large quantities of this "gold liquid" (so called by Homer), ordering in many cases to the subject people, the payment of taxes in the form of olive oil.
The earliest mills were found in Palestine, consisting of two stones, one concave and the other convex, on the Greek island of Santorini was found a mill stone of lava. In all Mediterranean countries have been archaeological finds relating to the history of the oil and its processing.