When speaking about the olive tree and olive oil, we are opening an ancient, thousand-year old book.
In the Ancient times, in the Roman Empire as well as in the Ancient Greek literary tradition numerous references, paragraphs, quotations about the olive tree, olive oil and about cultivating this tree and its precious nectar can be found.
Think about the Bible, about the myths and legends transmitted by the people who put their roots down in the Mediterranean soil. They abound in references to the ‘holy tree’ and ‘holy oil’ or, for example, the olive branch given to Noah by the Lord, as a symbol of peace after the great flood. And it is in that very Mediterranean – the cradle of Western civilisation – that botanists maintain we should seek the genetic homeland of the olive tree.
Let us have a look at some quotations:
- “Pacatae ramus olivae ” – The olive branch of peace
- “Et oleum et operam perdere ” – Wasting effort and oil
- “Me pascunt olivae ” – My diet consists of olives
- “Incumbens tereti olivae ” – I lean on an olive tree stick
M. P. Cato wrote the agronomical treatise "Oleum viride quamodo fiat" - How to produce green oil
Therefore, over 200 stanzas containing the words olive tree, olive oil, olive grove, etc. can be found in the Bible. We have selected the most distinctive among them:
- Genesis 8:11
- And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
- Judges 9:8
- The trees set out to anoint a king over themselves. They said to the olive tree, "Reign over us."
- Judges 9:9
- But the olive tree said to them, “Should I stop giving my oil that honours both God and man, and rule over the trees?"
- Jeremiah 11:16
- The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
- Hosea 14:6
- His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
- Zechariah 4:12
- And I answered the second time, and said unto him, «What be these two olive branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that empty the golden oil out of themselves?»
- Nehemiah 8:15
- And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, «Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.»
- Psalms 52:8
- But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
- Psalms 128:3
- Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thine house: thy children like olive plants, round about thy table.
- Isaiah 17:6
- Yet there shall be left therein gleanings, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost branches of a fruitful tree, saith the Lord, the God of Israel.
- Romans 11:17
- But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree;
- Deuteronomy 11:14
- I will give the seasonal rain to your land, the early rain and the late rain, that you may have your grain, wine and oil to gather in;
- Samuel 10:1
- Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, «Is it not that the Lord hath anointed thee to be prince over his inheritance?»
- Psalms 104:15
- And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread that strengtheneth man's heart.
- Proverbs 21:20
- There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man swalloweth it up.
- Proverbs 27:9
- Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend that cometh of hearty counsel.
- Proverbs 27:16
- He that would restrain her restraineth the wind, and his right hand encountereth oil.
- Joel 1:10
- The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted, the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
- Joel 2:19
- And the LORD answered and said unto his people, «Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.»
- Matthew 25:3
- For the foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
- Matthew 25:8
- And the foolish said unto the wise, «Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out.»
- Mark 6:13
- And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
- Luke 7:37
- And behold, a woman which was in the city, a sinner; and when she knew that he was sitting at meat in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster cruse of ointment, and standing behind at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
- John 12:3
- Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
- Jacob 5:14
- And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive-tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another, according to his will and pleasure.
- Revelation 6:6
- And I heard as it were a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, «A measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny; and the oil and the wine hurt thou not.»