The olive tree according to another myth is connected to the birth of Apollo, the god of the sun and light, oracles and knowledge, music and poetry, healing and medicine, the god of truth who could not speak a lie. Also his twin sister Artemis, the goddess of hunting and the moon.
Their mother Leto was seeking for a place to give birth to them, ended in the island of Delos and sought a place under an olive tree. There with the help of Eileithyia the goddess of childbirth, gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. The island of Delos was reffered as Apollo’s island and the olive tree was considered sacred.
Another myth has linked Apollo’s and Cyrene’s (a fierce huntress and a lion killer) names with the olive tree through their son Aristaeus. The Nymphs were in charge of his education and among other things they taught him to engraft the olive trees. Aristaeus became also a physician who treated diseases with olive oil. He was also the first one with the idea to crush the olives to extract the olive oil.
Aristaeus travelled all over Greece and Sicily offering his knowledge about olive oil producing. He was given the honor of god of olive oil production.
One legend recounts that Theseus, the son of the Athenian king Aegeus, was sent as part of the yearly human sacrifice, to Knossos, Crete, to be fed to the gigantic Minotaur, the beloved pet of king Minos, who lived in the Labyrinth, the elaborate maze-like construction, designed by the Architects Daedalus and Ikarus.
The sacrifice was a penalty the Athenians had to pay for the killing of Androgeus, son of Minos, because they were jealous of his victories at the Panathenaic festival.
Theseus prayed and begged god Apollo to protect him. Apollo gave him a sacred olive branch from the Acropolis. Theseus killed the Minotaur and was able to escape the Labyrinth by tying a string around the olive branch. The string was given to him by Princess Ariadne, the daughter of king Minos, who fell in love with him and told him to unravel it as he would get deeper and deeper into the Labyrinth, so he retraces his way back after he kills the beast. Theseus took Ariadne with him to Athens and lived hapilly ever after.
The olive branch was often offered to the Gods as a sacrifice from the mortals. Orestes (son of Agamemnon and Clytemestra, king of Mycaenae), was ordered by Apollo to kill his mother Clytemestra and her lover Aegistus, for the killing of his father Agamemnon, when he returned from the Trojan war. Orestes prayed to Apollo and pleated with him to forgive his crimes. He made an offering of an olive branch to Apollo.
All the olive myths and legends are a reader’s pleasure and show how important the olive tree and his derivatives were to the ancient world.