The olive tree in ancient Greece was considered a symbol of peace, fertility, purification, power, victory and repentance, playing a key role in the history and culture of the ancients. The importance of oil was also great, and the oil beyond the daily use of the food, also used in various other applications, such as leather tanning, textile, lighting, in perfumery, in pharmacy, medicine, but also in various religious ceremonies.
Generally the ancients relied primarily on olive oil for the supply of fat that was the essential. In contrast, animal fats used to a limited extent, and butter, although known, intended for certain religious ceremonies or certain medical prescriptions. Thus the olive was a tree around which a particular technology was developed, so as to harvest the fruits and on the production of oil.
The beginnings of olive growing are dated to the early Bronze Age, ie the 3rd millennium BC. The precedence on the cultivation of olive trees met the Minoan Crete because of the temperate climate, geomorphology, and the intensification of primary agricultural production. In fact Crete had a trading network with cultures of the eastern Mediterranean where the systematic exploitation of olives were implemented, from which may have been passed on to the island and the relevant olive knowledge.
Excavations in Crete unearthed huge jars for storing oil, certifying that the strength of the Minoans kings came largely from the extraction of olive oil, both in Egypt and in other areas of the Mediterranean, and especially since 1450 B.C. onwards began the gradual exploitation of the product. References to the holding of the olive, but also in the movement and marketing of oil in the prehistoric Aegean are provided also in the palatial archives of Knossos, Pylos and Mycenae in Linear B.
In Homeric times the oil we know that widely used to coat the body as a cosmetic before and after the races in gymnasiums and valaneia, and to spread the body of the dead. The oil as product entered in the diet over time, becoming part of most food and condiments. Moreover, among other things used for treatment of flax and cleaning the garments. In Solon's time the olive oil was systematically cultivated in order to be established and the relevant laws that relate to its release.
The process of oil production brought forth an ever evolving technology, where rough stones gave way to stone vessel and then to the oil mills. So extruding the dough with hands crossed in compression with the crowbar of Thirassia, in the press of the classical era, the endless Heron screw in order to be completed with the most organized "lineonas".
Center of Sciences Dissemination and Technology Museum "NOESIS"