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Greek olive in ancient Olympic games

A number of facts show to us the relationship between the olive tree and its product with some social activities. It is characteristic that when the first Olympic Games took place in Olympia in 776 BC an olive-tree branch was the award to the winners symbolizing the armistice of any hostility and the peace.

This symbolic award was given to winners until the end of the ancient Olympic Games. However, not only an olive-tree branch was the award in games but the product itself. The most impressive example of the value of the olive oil was its use at the Panathenaic Games. These games took place every four years with the occasion of Athens’ most important celebration, the Panathenea, in honor of the goddess Athena. The winners of the athletic games delivered as an award olive oil putted in amphorae known as the “Panathenaic Amphorae”. The amphorae itself, constituted the quality of the already certified product; this is the very first example of product certification in world history.

The quantities of the delivered olive oil to the winners were huge. For example, depending on sport, the first winner could take as award a quantity in about 5 tons. As a matter of fact, such as a quantity could not be consumed by the winner only. Taking into account that the legislation in Athens excluded the export of the olive oil but this concession was given only to winners of the Panathenaic Games we can easily imagine how rich, any winner became.





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