Why the olive tree has become a symbol of longevity and faith

Olive tree can grow in soil poor with minerals where other fruiting plants would be “saved”. Ancient Greeks, for example, considered the olive tree immortal, degenerate — even if the trunk was frozen, new sprouts appeared at the site of the dead. Virgil mentions an olive “blue from frost”. And Sophocles awards this tree with epithets such as “eternally resurgent”, “ageless plant”.

In disaster days, the resilience of the olive inspired people. In the fifth century BC, the Persians captured the city of Athens and burned it. Residents fled, many died. The next day, according to Herodotus’ testimony, the burnt trees appeared sprouts long almost with an elbow. This became a symbol of the ongoing struggle, and the military campaign of the Persians did indeed culminate in their complete defeat at the Battle of Salamin.

The amazing survivability of the olive has proved in modern times: in 1956 in Provence the February stooge destroyed thousands of trees. Virtually all the expected harvest was lost. In the summer, the French government allocated funds to cut down trees to plant new ones. Up to 95% of all trees (in some regions) cut down to stumps; however, the following year, in March, all stumps developed new shoots. Trees, which did not reach the axes, also came alive and after the deadline gave a fine harvest.

And here’s the material from the book “Divine Olive. A brief cultural study”: West Crete has an olive tree that is 3,000 years old. It is Europe’s oldest tree. It caught the first Olympic Games in history. In addition, eight olive trees grow in Jerusalem, which caught Jesus Christ.

With this property, the olive tree slightly resembles another fruiting tree, which has not just given life, but from which life begins every morning for most of the inhabitants of the planet – it is a tree coffee. The subspecies coffee caniphora also survives any undue, preserving both the trunk, leaves and fruits, from which the coffee itself is prepared.

Swiss poet Ralph Dutley cites such a saying: “Whoever eats olives every day equals in age to the beams of the most durable house.” Indeed, the olive is also a symbol of longevity and, thankfully, active life, including in the cause of family loyalty. Odysseus, even before leaving Ithaca for a long time, built his sturdy house just around the olive tree, and his wife waited for her husband to return, despite the abundance of suitors. According to Homer, the marriage bonds of Odysseus and Penelope “escaped sinking”, including — due to the miraculous power of the olive tree.

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