Olive tree as symbol

Posted by ESC on May 04, 2003

In Reply to: Offer an olive branch posted by ESC on May 04, 2003

: : The phrase "to offer someone an olive branch" (to make peace with someone" comes from where exactly?
: : Thanks

: I believe it comes from the Bible story about Noah and the flood.

: Genesis 8
: 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

According to a one reference, the olive tree has a long history of symbolism. "This tree possess a wealth of symbolism - peace, fruitfulness, purification, strength, victory and reward. In Ancient Greece the tree was sacred to Athene and the first olive, which sprang from her quarrel with Poseidon, was preserved as a treasure behind the Erechtheum.In Jewish and Christian tradition, the olive is a symbol of peace and it was an olive-branch which the dove brought back to Noah when the Flood was over. And old legend tells that Christ's cross was made of olive-and cedar-wood.For Islam, the olive is the central tree, the World axis, a symbol of Universal Man and of the Prophet." The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols by Jean Cheavlier and Alain Gheerbrant, translated by John Buchanan-Brown. (Penguin Group, London, 1996).