The olive tree in Greek mythology.

 

 

The city of Athens was named after the goddess Athena, who offered the olive tree to the Greeks as a gift.

Zeus had promised to concede the entire region of Attica to the god or goddess whose invention would prove to be the most useful for the population.

Therefore, Athena, goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, god of the sea, competed to claim the area. Poseidon struck his trident on the sacred rock of Acropolis and, immediately, a wave of saltwater shot forth.

When it was Athena’s turn to hit the sacred rock with her staff, an olive tree heavy with fruit sprouted. The tree was obviously extremely valuable as it provided both protection against the light and heat, as well as food, medicine, and delicious aromas.

The Gift of the Goddess was chosen by the people as the more peaceful invention, symbolizing peace, prudence, and wisdom.

The olive tree that grows on the Acropolis today is said to originate from the roots of that first sacred tree.

The olive tree; the gift of the goddess Athena on the Acropolis.