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Agriculture In Ancient Greece Essay

1618 words - 6 pages

Every idea has a start and a history that can be traced back in time. An incredible amount of these ideas and thoughts were started by great ancient civilizations. These ancient civilizations are the base of all modern knowledge. No ancient civilization has contributed more to this base than the civilization of Ancient Greece. The unique ways of ancient Greek agriculture have left a profound influence on the agriculture of today.
Ancient Greek agriculture was the very necessity of the empire. People needed food to work and soldiers needed food to fight, defend, and conquer neighboring empires. Nearly 80% of the Greek population was somehow involved in agricultural practices. In Greece, meat was expensive and available only to the elite. This caused the Greek diet to be based on cereals. The main cereal crops that the Greeks grew were barley, millet, durum wheat, and common wheat. The Greeks did not have access to many vast fertile lands since only 20% of the Greek land was in fit conditions to grow crops (Ancient History Encyclopedia, “Agriculture In Ancient Greece”). People looked to agriculture to keep their civilization running day to day.
A large part of Greece is rocky, mountainous, and is partly made up of many islands. This caused the Ancient Greeks to not be able to farm and cultivate in a big part of the empire. Land that was full in nutrients necessary for crop growth was scarce. “The Greeks felt that their own climate was adverse and the soil poor”(Hanson 133). The Ancient Greeks solved and found solutions for many of their problems. The Greeks adapted and grew olive trees on the rocky land that no other crops could grow in. Cultivating the olive required time and several techniques. First, the olive was picked by hand or by shaking the tree. The olives were then fermented in wicker baskets and were pressed in a stone olive press. The oil was stored in vases of terra cotta. The Greeks admired the olive tree not only because of its olive and oil. They thought that olive trees were linked to Zeus and high quality olive oil was valued by the powerful and wealthy. In the ancient Olympics, winners were given an olive wreath as a prize for winning. In the Olympics held in Athens in 2004, winners received an olive wreath like the winners in the ancient Olympics (Sachs, “Uneasy Lie The Heads Wearing The Wreaths”). The modern Greeks tried to unite both the ancient and modern Olympics by honoring the tradition of the olive tree being associated with success and prosperity. The Ancient Greeks cured their olives in various ways like dry curing the olives with salt (Greek Islands, “Use Of Olive Oil”). This technique is still used today by cooks and artisans and has lasted and been very useful for centuries. The consumption of olive and olive products between ancient and modern times has not gone down but instead is more widely available and is in more demand. Modern Greek people consume over twenty-six liters of olive oil annually (Stavrou, “Greek...

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