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The Olive Tree of Civilisation Hardcover – 1 Jan 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: ACC Art Books (1 Jan. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851494731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851494736
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 1.2 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


The Olive Tree of Civilisation has a rich and varied history. The gnarled tree and its fruits has been extolled by bards from Ovid and Homer to Kipling, Tennyson and Nerua. What other fruit provides light, is a fundamental ingredient in perfume and adds joy and flavour at the table? The ancients knew these virtues, and olive oil became a key to their religious and political ceremonies, from the temples of Ra in Egypt where lamps burned olive oil, to the temple of Soloman, where kings were anointed with oil based ointments. Christ was offered a sip of oil on the cross; Hanukah is at its origin a festival to celebrate olive oil; the tree and its oil are found in the Koran. Today the oil is worshipped by chefs for its flavours and its colours. For decades, cooks and anthropologists have divided Europe along an olive oil/butter boundary; that line is vanishing as olive oil spreads around the globe. This book explores and brings to life the olives's glorious past, with chapters on the fruit's role in mythology, religion and ancient civilisation. It takes the reader on a tour of cultivation sites and illuminates the complex culture of olive oil commerce.

Lovely illustrations of nature, human labour, tools and art accompany the text, revealing the olive in all its hues and guises.

About the Author

John Train has written many books, of which a number are best-sellers, on investment, etymology and other subjects. He has published several hundred columns, including regular columns in Forbes, Town & Country and the Financial Times. Mark Edward Smith has been working for over twenty-five years specialising in travel reportage, fine art, nude, archaeological and architectural photography. He had more than twenty personal exhibitions, teaches photography in Padua and Venice and has published in Italy, Great Britain, the U.S.A, France, Germany and Japan.

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