Today Greece is famous for its olive oil. In ancient times the Greeks exported tons of olive oil to neighboring empires. The olive trade was an important part of the Greek economy and even today olive oil plays an important role in Greece. In this article I will discuss the importance and value of Olive Oil in ancient Greece.
Although the exact numbers are unknown the Greeks exported thousands of Pounds of olives and olive oil a year. In many parts of the ancient world, olives where a rare luxury. Farming took up most of the citizens occupation and olive oil was one of the most profitable crops around making it ideal for farmers to grow. using ingenious technology the Greeks were able to turn olives into olive oil at an alarming rate. Slave labor helped the Greeks produce olive oil cheaply which meant they were able to make amazing profits off of it.
One of the many benefits of olive oil production was that olive oil was easy to store and lasted a long time meaning it could be transported over long distances and still be kept fresh. Among the things that made olive oil profitable was the olive press which was invented during ancient Greece times. The olive press made producing olives very easy,which further enhanced the profitability of the crop.
Olive trees could grow in almost any part of Greece. Unlike wheat and oats, olives required minimal soil so they grew in poor conditions. One of the bad things about olive trees was that once in a while when there was a natural disaster or prolonged change in whether the olive harvest would fail meaning the whole economy of ancient Greece would struggle. This was not a good thing for the Greeks. If the olive harvest failed thousands of people would be without income causing a huge issue. Luckily though the olive tree is pretty hardy so incidents don't occur but during the Persian wars, Darius sent his men into the heart of Greek territory and they destroyed hundreds if not thousands of acres of olive groves.
Now that you have read this article you can see how important olives where to the Greeks. The Greeks realized early on that olives were something special and even today, olive oil is a multimillion dollar business.