Olive tree and olive oil

Olive trees and poetry

Many poems have been written about olive trees. Homer in Odyssey and mainly in Iliad makes reference to olive trees. Palamas presents the olive tree as the Sun`s most favourite daughter.

Costis Palamas
Olive tree
I`m the sun`s daughter
His favourite one
In this world he keeps me
Not to fall dead
My eye longs for him.
I`m the honoured olive tree
Wherever home is
I don`t lack in fruit.
Until I grow old,
There is no shame in working.
I`m blessed from god,
And I`m full of success.
I`m the honoured olive tree.
Under my shade,
Christ came to rest
And his sweet voice was heard
Just before he was crucified.
His tear, holy drew,
That is poured on my root.
I`m the honoured olive tree.
I fill with light
The wild night.
I don`t shed light on wealth,
You bless me with poverty.
And if I`m persecuted by man,
I shine towards Holy Mary
I`m the honoured olive tree.


Folk Song

A little bird came out of the earth and came
out of Hades and built a nest
on an olive tree branch,
its leaves are bitter
and its flowers are acrid.
Women stricken by fate heard about it
and they ask:
-Tell us, long live, my little bird,
How is it in Hades?
Are young men armoured
and young women with jewellery?
And are little children with many toys?
-There, they don`t wear jewellery
and they aren`t armoured
and poor children ask for their mother.



Pantelis Prevelakis

-Do you love trees George? He asked me. Which one do you love most?
-The olive tree I love most, I replied.
-So do I, the olive tree… when I die, you should plant an olive tree on my grave, to suck me up through its roots.
And from its fruit every year, light an oil lamp for me.
-Live long, and I know what kind of memorial I will build for you, when the time comes.
My? She said in surprise. Don`t forget the olive tree.
If I know that a light will start burning from my bones, I am not afraid of death.


Odyssey and Telemachus are planning how to get rid of the suitors sitting at the root of an olive tree. The sanctity is clear.
Homer`s Odyssey rhapsody ν

Then they sat at the root of the sacred olive tree
To find out how they can get rid of the dishonest suitors



Homer`s Odyssey rhapsody ψ (lines 206-227)

So she spoke, and made trial of her husband. But Odysseus, in a burst of anger, spoke to his true-hearted wife, and said: “Woman, truly this is a bitter word that thou hast spoken. Who has set my bed elsewhere? Hard would it be for one, though never so skilled, unless a god himself should come and easily by his will set it in another place. But of men there is no mortal that lives, be he never so young and strong, who could easily pry it from its place, for a great token is wrought in the fashioned bed, and it was I that built it and none other. A bush of long-leafed olive was growing within the court, strong and vigorous, and girth it was like a pillar. Round about this I built my chamber, till I had finished it, with close-set stones, and I roofed it over well, and added to it jointed doors, close-fitting. Thereafter I cut away the leafy branches of the long-leafed olive, and, trimming the trunk from the root, I smoothed it around with the adze well and cunningly, and made it straight to the line, thus fashioning the bed-post; and I bored it all with the augur. Beginning with this I hewed out my bed, till I had finished it, inlaying it with gold and silver and ivory, and I stretched on it a thong of ox-hide, bright with purple.