Magnum Photos Blog
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October 30, 2013
by Alex Majoli
The beginning and the end of the harvest.
The importance of olive oil to the people of the Mediterranean is reflected in their writings and even their laws. The Greek poet Homer called it “liquid gold.” The Greek philosopher Democritus believed a diet of honey and olive oil could allow a man to live to be a hundred, an extremely old age in a time where life expectancy hovered around forty years. In the sixth century B.C. the Athenian legislator Solon introduced laws protecting olive trees. In a grove only two trees could be removed each year. Breaking this law incurred severe penalties, including execution.