Monday, May 14, 2012


'The Grandmother' in Aegina Island, Valley of Eleonas
The most amazing millenary olive tree
+ Info 'Eleonas of Aegina, a sacred place' Text by Souzana Raphael & pictures by Diana Snabilié

"The ancient Greeks believed that the cultivated olive (Olea europaea) was purely Greek and that its homeland was Athens. When the gods wanted to name the city but couldn't decide whether to give the honour to Athena or Poseidon, each was asked to produce a gift, both useful and beautiful, to benefit mankind. 
Poseidon struck a rock with his trident and a wonderful horse sprang forth… (although others say it was a spring called Erectheis that sprang from the rock.) Athena then struck  the rock with her spear and a gigantic olive tree appeared. Judging the olive to be the more important gift to mankind, the gods named the city after her.
Herodotus (V111, 55), referring to this olive tree, tells us how it was burnt down, along with the sanctuary to Athena, when Xerxes set fire to Athens in 480 B.C. Interestingly, the day after the fire, a new shoot about half a metre in length had already sprung from the charred trunk and the tree survived, adding to its reputation of immortality. This tree [also mentioned by Pausanias (1,27,2)] was later called the “Hunchback” because of its age and twisted, agonized shape."

 Davina Michaelides, member of the Mediterranean Gardens Society (left)
and Clèia Armengol, my daugther as assistant

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