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History of Olive Oil

"There is no helper to me in the world other than science. Science is better than treasures as it is you that have to save treasure, but it is science that saves you."

Lokman Hekim

OLIVE OIL IN HISTORY OR A MESSAGE BY ANCESTORS FOR THE POST-MODERN CIVILIZATION


PART 1: THE DELUGE


1. The Settlement and the Conditions 


The Black Sea region was very different in the second half of the 6000 B.C. There was a big fresh water lake in the middle of the Black Sea, with fertile champaigns extending around it. The watershed of the lake was at 200 m. depth where there is currently no life. The rivers running into the lake provided water resources while improving the fertility of the surrounding lands. What does an inner lake do with excess water? Indeed, it runs its water into another nearby river. The excess water of this lake ran into the Marmara Sea, being the extension of the Aegean Sea, from the region called the Bosphorus through the waterfalls. A similar situation to what has been happening in Nile for thousands of years occurred when the rivers uprising with spring rains took coals to the lake. In this period of each year, the river running from the lake into the sea was heightened and all the surrounding area extending from the coast of the lake to the point where it ran into the sea was overflowed. All the lands in the region were covered with fertile alluvium by the ebb of the waters. Such a natural environment necessarily attracts people as lands nourished with such alluvium drift are quite fertile. So did this area. This region also had a major advantage in comparison to Nile, the mother of Egypt. Not only the lands with alluvium provided by the uprising river, but also all the surrounding area around the lake, especially the catchment area of the rivers running into the lake were quite fertile. The potential of this region is incomparably different from the civilization built on a few hundred meter-square of land available for farming around the river in the Nile region. The first settled farming communities probably emerged in this quite available region. The primitive urbanization was probably firstly witnessed in this region as all the conditions necessary for human concentration were present. These conditions can be summarized as follows:

-Fertile lands available for farming

-A big fresh water lake available for secure water transportation and fishing

-Easy transportation provided by the rivers linking the area surrounding the lake with its hinterland

-Lands naturally watered with floods which make first farmer communities grasp the importance of watering

-Mountains surrounding all the catchment area enabling a sufficient level of rain water

-A wide region including different opportunities, natural life and raw materials from the north to  1 / 10History of Olive Oil the south as to enable a variety of civilizations to settle and develop

-Settlement on the southeastern Europe and on the north of the Middle East.

2. Civilization

The sine qua non of civilization is the development of the third one of the social divisions of labor to the possible extent. The first division of labor has been developed by the primitive flocking communities between genders. Men had acted as hunters while the women were responsible for picking. This division of labor is the major factor for formation of matriarchal societies. The second division of labor is between generations. The first division of labor has two side effects. One of them is that each gender specializing in a major economic activity has contributed to the formation of a valuable accumulation of knowledge that should be transferred to future generations. The second is the surplus of food (first surplus product) enabled by accumulated knowledge and experience. This surplus good has enabled the surviving members of the aged generation unable to participate into food supplying activities to assume the responsibility for education of the generations so young as not to be able to participate into these activities. This division of labor does not directly contribute to the accumulation of knowledge but prevents disappearance of the accumulated knowledge. This factor has enabled the rise of the third division of labor, which has resulted in the formation of settled life: Craftsmanship, that is; professional division of labor maintained by specialization of the community members. The last factor has been quite effective over urbanization as high amounts of surplus of necessary goods, primarily food, are vital for an urban or "civilized" life. It is the incontestable condition for population concentration necessary for civilization. The present-day Black Sea region has been appropriate for civilization with all its conditions. It would not be prophetical to say that the primary settlements around the fresh water lake had been built on the deltas of the rivers running into the lake and transferring the excess water from the lake to the sea. The increasing wealth of these settlements by agriculture, animal farming and fishing led to an increase in population by both generation and migrations. The relations between the tribes constituting the primary settlements in the beginning were probably exceptional. However, it is quite possible that these communities moved towards trade on the basis of sharing rather than fighting against each other, due to the abundance of various resources. The main trade route was probably maintained through transportation on the rivers. The first ships were probably made by straws as in the case of old Egypt rather than being wooden made, as it is easier to work on straw than on wood. It is also expectable that straws rather than woods were widespread in this region. Here is an imaginable regional life. This region was probably the first place where hunger as the major fear of humanity had been overcome. Civilization of the human community has been proportional to the fears it has overcome since the first time humans began to live in swarms.  2 / 10History of Olive Oil
 

3. The Catastrophe or the Deluge

What we call today as The Black Sea region was preparing a catastrophe in itself while providing the human beings with these opportunities. The latest Ice Age lived during the ten thousand BC was about to end. The ice caps extending to Europe in the Northern Hemisphere at those times edged out to the north within a few thousand years as they began to melt slowly. While this process in that period brought the end of giant mammalian such as Mammoth widespread throughout all Eurasia, it also provided the ground for the increase in the number of human beings. For the increasing human population, the contingent food resources such as hunting and picking necessarily led to difficulties for human beings. It is a serious problem if the amount of food or the food itself obtained from resources changes contingently. The expected value of the food obtained from the resources is always directly proportional to the average of the human population using those resources. Settled farming and animal farming would be the resources that would maintain the needs of the increasing human population for the next thousands of years. However; in six thousand B.C., the process of the melting of ice caps had not been completed yet. The world was warming up slowly and the environment was in change; the ice caps were melting and the seas were rising up. The ecological system of the fresh water lake in the present-day Black Sea region and its catchment area was established on a very sensitive balance. This ideal system once created by the edging out of the ice caps was threatened by melting of them. The places separating this region, which was 200 m. below the sea level by height, from the waters of the Marmara Sea was getting thinner. This sensitive balance was disrupted in a raining season within the years of 5600 BC. The land getting pulpy after the long rainy days lost its ability to separate the catchment area from the seawater. The salty water of the Marmara Sea set in motion by a slump began to run into the catchment area with a great clash by destructing the water falls of the river within the canyons of the Bosphorus transferring the excess water of the lake to the sea. The basin was so large that the uprising of the waters to form the present-day Black Sea probably took at least two weeks. However; what human beings experienced was a kind of realization of a malison. The waters of the lake were rising day by day. As a result of the pouring of the salty waters into the lake, the living things of the former ecosystem of water had fallen dead. The mass death of the fishes and other water living things has been considered as the sign of a catastrophe since the old ages. Many of the people escaping from the rising waters naturally moved towards the earth in reaction. Probably all of them were not able to escape. The coasts of the Black Sea were famous for its sudden deepening. This demonstrates that the region between the coasts of the lake and of the present-day Black Sea is relatively flat. Therefore; those escaping towards the inner regions from the rising waters had to take 100-150 km. as soon as possible on a marshland land turned into mud by the effect of long rainy days. It is possible that only a few of them was able to achieve. Another smaller group of people tried to use the existing boats. Most of them could not survive the stormy and rainy period and sink into the water with their boats vulnerable to waters changing from a calm fresh water lake into a stormy sea. It is obvious that  3 / 10History of Olive Oil the people able to survive were limited and they were all those trying to escape by boats. This event was later called as the deluge and turned into a legendry. References to this legendry can be found in two major resources: the Gılgamış Epos and the Bible.
 

PART 2: THE MINOS CIVILIZATION

1. The Mediterranean During 3000 B.C.

The Mediterranean during 3000 B.C. was totally under the sovereignty of the Minos civilization with its center in Knossos in Crete. The life in the Minos civilization was extraordinary in many ways. It is possible to explain its sovereignty in terms of two factors. Firstly, they were sovereign in the Mediterranean opposed to other civilizations and human communities. This sovereignty was so marked that they even did not need to build walls around the cities in Crete. In that period, another great civilization on the coast of the Mediterranean was Egypt. Considering that the Egyptians did not know about sailing and could not use it effectively, it is easier to understand the incontestable sovereignty of the Minos civilization in the Mediterranean. Secondly, they were controlling nearly the whole production of the two major goods in the Western world: copper and olive oil. Copper was the main material for every kind of tools and guns at that time. The bronze obtained from the mixture of the cooper and tin naming an age solved the solidity problem rising when cooper is used purely. As the high temperature necessary for melting the iron could not be maintained by the technology of that period, bronze was the optimal solution for the problem. For this reason, it would not be wrong to say that the copper had a value equivalent to that of golden, given that a society having copper could maintain a continuous golden flow, however not vice versa. The olive oil in that period had a very different function. Today, oil is considered as food. However, in that period consumption of oil was considered as a sign of wealth and welfare as it was a raw material for medicine and cosmetics as well as a resource for permanent lighting and a valuable element of the rites. Moreover it was valuable. Its production was relatively limited and also demanded knowledge. The efforts of the Romans at the third and the last Pön War in order to get access to the knowledge on agriculture in the Mediterranean region, belonging to Mago from Kartaca, demonstrates how the agricultural knowledge has been still important after 1300 years since the end of the Minos civilization. The Minos civilization was based on sea trade as in the case of all island civilizations. They were involved in mining the major copper resources in Cyprus and producing oil in Crete. People of the old Crete whose origins said to be found in Little Asia probably had a large trade fleet. In that period there was not a great structural difference between war and trade ships. This fleet was key to the sovereignty over the Mediterranean. Another advantage of this fleet was that it rendered to have a large army unnecessary. There is a military rule known since the old ages: All the commandants arrange the wars according to the logistic. Any other power witha large army could occupy Cyprus in order to capture copper beds. However, as they would notbe able to maintain the supply from the sea they probably could not attempt to do that. Therefore; having a great trade fleet rendered it unnecessary to establish and maintain a large   4 / 10History of Olive Oilarmy. How this would lead to increase in the quality of societal life is an unquestionable fact.
 

2. The Unexpected End of the Minos Civilization

The Santorini Island as a Minos settlement place experienced one of the greatest volcanic explosions known history in the 16th Century B.C. This explosion was so strong that its effects can be still observed in the ice caps in the northern pole. The volcanic effusion was also effective over the Crete Island in the south, but the major problem was not effusion. The biggest part of the island sank into the waters after the effusion and led to tsunami. It would not be too assertive to say that all the elements that maintain the Minos civilization were devastated by this tsunami with one blow. Firstly, it should be considered that the most of the trade fleet spread over the Mediterranean disappeared. Crete was vulnerable and with no support. Secondly, most of the Minos settlements on the coast were ruined with many deaths. Thirdly, all the goods and food in reserve stored in port cities were wasted. Although the life in Crete after the volcanic effusion in Santorini was ruined to a great extent, the scientific research found out that life went on for 40-50 years more but rapidly withered away before it turned into a century. The magnificent palaces of the Minos civilization and especially the one in Knossos would never be reconstructed. How does a civilization end unless its last member is eliminated by a natural disaster? Nothing can lead to this result unless the people lose their motivation for living together. If the explosion in Santorini had not been considered as celestial malison and punishment, this civilization would not have disappeared as it did. This fact is not exceptional given that Mayas themselves ended their civilization by leaving their city without the effect of any external factor. This is what exactly happened in Minos civilization many centuries before Mayas. Furthermore, the causality on behalf of the Minos people did not only derive from their beliefs but also because they faced with a concrete fact.

PART 3: NOT THE HISTORY OF OIL, BUT OIL IN HISTORY

1. Each Fear Creates a God

The path taken by human communities in history is both derivative of the attitude towards the socialized individual fears and a result of these attitudes. What lies behind all major fears is illiteracy. Unknown natural forces have always been considered as godly forces. As these forces have become more understandable since they have been rendered to be subject of science, other unknown forces have continued to emerge and to be considered as godly forces. Shortly, history can be considered as the battlefield of human fears. Great civilizations have risen from the confrontation of the human beings with their fears by coming together and succeeding at this confrontation. As long as a civilization maintains its success at this confrontation and the members of the civilization continue to consider their civilization as significant as a result of this success, the civilization in question continues to survive despite the transformations and changes it undergoes. No forces in history have ever been able to eliminate a civilization succeeding at these functions.  5 / 10History of Olive Oil Going back through history, it is possible to follow the traces of the confrontations against fears. Primary human communities gathered together on trees. When they were together, they had more eyes and could make more sounds in order to keep themselves safe against potential attacks. Then, much more people gathered together within the circle of heat and security provided by fire. The increase in the number of people living together has enabled the rise of divisions of labor, culture and rituals. As the fears provoked by nature and other living things were overcome, the increasing human communities faced with hunger as the major source of fear. The fear of hunger reinforced by the changing climate conditions nearly ten thousand years ago led human communities to search for security resulting in settled agriculture and animal farming. Then; emerged the attacks from nomad clans below this level of development and in need of urgent solutions to the problems stemming from changing conditions. The whole ancient history has been marked by these facts and fears. If the history is re-interpreted without appropriating the west-centered approach, it is possible to notice that Alexander the Great led one of the half-nomad human communities and demolished the Persian Empire as one of the greatest civilizations of that period heathenly. Although war can be considered as the sole signifier of barbarism, human communities may fight against each other. However; the fundamental distinction between barbarism and civilization is that the former is the attempt of humanity to ally itself with its fears whereas the latter means humanity's direct war against its fears. From this point of view, the destruction and ruining of the magnificent city of the ancient world, Ninova by Alexander the Great, although the city surrendered, indisputably points to a single outcome.

 

2. The Concept of Civilization

 

The fundamental fact that enables a human community to define its place in history is determined by its reference to the three concepts below:

i. Human being

ii. Nature

iii. Life

 

The definition for human being determines the attitude of the members of the community towards the non-member people. In the Ancient Greek, only those who were the members of a city-state or in other words a more crowded clan were considered as human beings. Rights such as freedom only belong to these members. Other creatures (!) may be ordered among each other and may face inhuman attitude. The principal attitudes were being left out of the security environment provided by the civilization and being turned into an object of fear. They were ordered as free women, the members of other city-states and slaves. In the Roman period, the scope of the concept of the citizen of the city-states was enlarged to some degree: the Romans. In contrast to the Ancient Greek, to be born in Rome was not necessary for being considered as Roman. This time all the people except for the Romans were barbarians and they also might face with any sort of inhumane behavior. One of the factors that led to the transition from the concept of a member of clan to that of the Romans was the requirement for skilled people in the society in order to meet the increasing human needs. In addition, it was getting difficult to consider the Ancient Greeks as barbarians. Today; the civilized (!) ones are the Westerners and the rest is barbarian. The civilized (!) societies are divided into classes and divisions in themselves and they are turned into object or subject of fear with reference to these  6 / 10History of Olive Oil divisions, but they are not considered as the same as barbarians (!). The definition of the concept of human being within the last 3000 years is the major reason for the fight of the man against man. Although the perception of the economic resources as the major factor separating human beings from each other can be considered as a matter of ignorance; this forced separation for the last 300 years has nothing to do with ignorance. After the human being is defined, the nature should also be defined in order to determine the position of the human being against nature. In the Western civilization, the nature has been considered as the major enemy to be defeated and exploited. Such a conception of nature resulted in perception of the many natural events as the revenge of the nature, and the natural events such as floods, typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic explosions were considered in terms of this perspective. A living thing that wages war against something that he knows to be stronger than him would inevitably feel fear. These fears unfortunately provide the basis for a variety of religious beliefs. It is also known that there are civilizations with potentials of living in peace with nature as a whole. The local tribes of the Southern America and Australia as well as several civilizations India and a part of the Islamic civilization presenting itself with Sufism can be mentioned as examples. The last concept that should be defined is life. It was understood that the concept of nature could be taken independently of that of human being long time ago. For this reason, there was also an attempt to define the concept of life independently of the human being. However, what was to be defined was not life independent of the human being in its primitive sense. Life becomes ineffective and irrelevant when it is defined independently of the effect of the human will. For this reason, man is a nebbish within the cultures in which life is defined independently of the human being. However, if the emphasis on the effect of human being is not well elaborated, it may turn into megalomania. Among all these, the real human being stands as the only willpower on the earth despite his all deficiencies. To render human being ineffective means to disregard his powe whereas to take him as the only focus leads to isolation and alienation from the life and all other living things, whether human being or not. This alienation turns human being into an enemy of the nature. However, human being is himself only together with nature and society. It is possible to say that the position of the human being in history or in other words the level of civilization is determined by how the above-mentioned concepts are explained in both individual and social terms. There is a sine qua non that makes thinking on these concepts possible. Without this condition, it is not possible to differentiate the human being from other living things with no willpower such as a lion or a deer. The nourishment of human beings should be maintained first in order to make possible thinking on concepts or conceptual thinking. Civilization is necessary for fighting against fears, conceptual thinking for civilization and overcoming the fears created by fundamental needs for conceptual thinking. Although this relation seems paradoxical, it is nothing other than a dialectic spiral. For this reason, the primary  7 / 10History of Olive Oil great civilizations in history were born in geographical regions with potentials for overcoming the fears. Here is where the significance of oil in history rises.


3. Oil's Role as Constitutive of Civilization

 

Although the oil farming is said to date back to 6000 and 8000 years before the present day, the history of oil tree goes back to ten thousand B.C. The oldest oil farming is known to have risen between the east of the Mediterranean and the Anatolia. However; the information on the historical origins of oil farming is not so clear. What is important is the source of the significance of this bitter fruit. The etymologic root of oil that denotes immortality provides significant evidence on this role. The fundamental role of the oil in history is that it is one of the major elements of the peace between the nature and the human being. As a major element of this peace, it has an etymological root -Zeta - meaning the opposite of mortality as the major problem of human beings. In the first two parts of this article, we have mentioned about the two major natural disasters that humanity faced with. The relation of these disasters with oil can be essentially found in the Nuh legend. Nuh sends a pigeon from the ship to find the earth and this pigeon return with an olive branch in its mouth. Olive is the symbol of the peace between nature and human being. This symbol has been still relevant. The Deluge resulted in confrontation with the fear of hunger by destructing the civilization first to solve this problem. The social life was disintegrated and humanity faced the fear of hunger again. The power of the fear was back. The limited number of people able to escape from the deluge moved in all directions with some part of the accumulated knowledge (Nuh's ship can be considered as a metaphor of information reserve). The trauma they underwent was so effective that its effects have continued through legends and stories for thousands of years. The first to escape from the trauma were those who reached Anatolia and the south Caucasia. They incorporated into societies there and began to go down to the south slowly. Coming across with olive and applying their agricultural knowledge on this tree; they enabled the rise of new civilizations. That meant to overcome the fear and make peace with the nature"god" again. It is written nearly in all resources that the founders of the Minos civilization were of Little Asia origin. There should be many things transmitted from Anatolia to Crete through this culture. This civilization is based on oil. The main source of food for people is oil in every respect. Oil can be produced in huge amounts requiring relatively less work than similar food materials. It provides people with free time and security necessary for civilization. It is durable if necessary conditions are maintained. It is easy to store and transport. It can be used for other purposes. For instance, abundant amount of oil production enables maintenance of lightening of the whole ancient city. It is not so difficult to discover its effects on civilization in the sense that it enabled the whole city to function as a lighthouse on the seacoast for ships without demanding any expensive construction projects. It is probable that the range of activities where oil was used is larger than it is known. The uses of the oleic acid as the main ingredient of oil have not been discovered completely yet. The main ingredient of the Mediterranean kitchen that has recently become famous is oil. The Minos civilization was established on the basis of these opportunities granted by oil.  8 / 10History of Olive Oil All of the Aegean civilizations established after th end of the Minos civilization were based on oil from the very beginning. Appropriation of the opportunities granted by oil provided these civilizations with initial acceleration and initial life energy without demanding the rise of slavery as a necessary factor of the economy. Historiography based on legends is a sign of ignorance. Disregarding the simple historical facts underlying the legends is also a matter of ignorance. There is no fact without a cause. What is important is to find out that simple cause. What does the Athena story, which is based on olive branch and is about the competition between goddess Athena naming the city and the god Poseidon, express if not the facts mentioned above?

 

4. The Present-Day


All the people who fairly follow and think on the world and the events going on even to a slightest degree agree upon the fact that the humanity is about to face a turning point. There are only differences of opinion on what this turning point is. The opinions about this turning point and the future expectations, not necessary and possible to discuss here one by one, can be categorized into two groups: constitutive and destructive approaches. Some opinions and beliefs argue that this turning point would end with destruction. According to these approaches, the destruction would be total both for itself and after. Either the cosmos or the world or at least humanity would fade away to the extent that there would be no possible emancipation or return to the back. What is common in all these beliefs is primarily the expectation of something that would happen externally to the human will and a gross destruction. If this expectation is true, then humans can not do anything, as there is something working to the exclusion of the human will. The other approach is reinforced by a belief in human and future. The dominant idea is that there is always something to do whatever happens. Pessimism is considered as the same as surrender, since it only serves to rupture the single will with power to do something. Here comes in the distinctions explained here. The first among them is human will. Either the human will has effect over life or not. If it has, the quantitative dimension of this effect is a matter of time. The effect of man over man also proves that. For those arguing that there is no such effect, striving for having control over their lives and desiring for maintaining a long, healthy and wealthy life, their efforts for spreading their opinions contradict with their opinions. Here it will not be discussed whether god exists or not or which god is really god or not. However, the outcome the writer here arrives at is: If there is a god or a creative power, the human being as the most magnificent creature on earth can not be a being without will. In this case, the human being would not be a more developed being than a chicken and this would mean humiliation of the creative power by itself. If the human being is endowed with willpower, he should have the control of his life and the future. The development within the last 2000 years has also enabled the human beings to have the control of the future of the world. That is; the reason for the turning point for the humanity on which it is agreed. Previously, the mistakes of the humanity drove only humanity into disasters. Today the mistakes of humanity are as effective as to drive the whole world into disaster. The reason is the human beings' self-power increased directly by their own will.  9 / 10History of Olive Oil Here comes in the oil. The writer does not aim at attributing a messianic mission to the oil. The argument is that this material that at least two times led to the foundation of civilizations is the clear evidence of the ability of the human being to live in peace with both other human beings and the nature. Today; the amount of oil consumption per person is highest in Greece with 21 litres. With simple calculation, this amount of oil for each person in the world can be produced in the Mediterranean on a land of 700 thousand and 1 million km2 without fighting with nature or destroying it. If this could be achieved, man's fight against man would be irrelevant, as there would be no problem of lack of resources . This simple calculation would lead to the destruction of the destructive scenarios. Imagination of a world where people would live in peace without fighting against men or nature is the most significant sign of humanization. The writer knows that the people able to save this dream has always existed independently of time and space and continue to exist in even such aperiod. This writing is only a thanks to the people that have provided this writer with limitless hope and a little tax paid to those who would like to see something from science among the branches that would not allow them to fall.

Gökçe Alp Gökçe November, 2004, Istanbul

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Dünya Zeytin Ansiklopedisi, Uluslararası Zeytinyağı Konseyi, 1997, İspanya.

Haeussler, E. F., Jr. and Paul, R.S.; Introductory Mathematical Analysis, for Business,

Economics, and the Life and Social Sciences, 6th Edition, Prentice-Hall International Editions

Nizamü'l-Mülk; Siyaset-name, 190, 2nd edition, Kültür Bakanlığı Yayınları No:510, 1000 Temel

Eser Dizisi No:89, edited by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Altay Köymen, Istanbul.

Rachet, Guy; Kaybolmuş Dünyalar, 1980, Baskan Yayınları, Istanbul.

Ryan, William and Pitman, Walter; NUH TUFANI, Tarihi Değiştiren Olaya İlişkin Yeni Bilimsel

Keşifler, 2003, Arkadaş Yayınevi, Ankara.

Ünsal, Artun; Ölmez Ağacın Peşinde, 2000, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, No:1343, Istanbul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_civilization#Theories_of_failure 11 27 2004

http://www.archaeolink.com/minoan_civilization_ancient_cret.htm 11 27 2004

http://www.dilos.com/location/13406 11 27 2004

 

"In the case that there is a problem of resources, this situation cannot be considered as a legitimate reason for ruining the lives of the individuals and social beings with production of a faker theory such as social darwinism by an intelligent being. Above all, it is embarassing to use nature as the explanation for this extra-human and extra-civilized PART 3: NOT THE HISTORY OF OIL, BUT OIL IN HISTORY

 

1. Each Fear Creates a God

The path taken by human communities in history is both derivative of the attitude towards the socialized individual fears and a result of these attitudes. What lies behind all major fears is illiteracy. Unknown natural forces have always been considered as godly forces. As these forces have become more understandable since they have been rendered to be subject of science, other unknown forces have continued to emerge and to be considered as godly forces. Shortly, history can be considered as the battlefield of human fears. Great civilizations have risen from the confrontation of the human beings with their fears by coming together and succeeding at this confrontation. As long as a civilization maintains its success at this confrontation and the members of the civilization continue to consider their civilization as significant as a result of this success, the civilization in question continues to survive despite the transformations and changes it undergoes. No forces in history have ever been able to eliminate a civilization succeeding at these functions.  5 / 10History of Olive Oil Going back through history, it is possible to follow the traces of the confrontations against fears. Primary human communities gathered together on trees. When they were together, they had more eyes and could make more sounds in order to keep themselves safe against potential attacks. Then, much more people gathered together within the circle of heat and security provided by fire. The increase in the number of people living together has enabled the rise of divisions of labor, culture and rituals. As the fears provoked by nature and other living things were overcome, the increasing human communities faced with hunger as the major source of fear. The fear of hunger reinforced by the changing climate conditions nearly ten thousand years ago led human communities to search for security resulting in settled agriculture and animal farming. Then; emerged the attacks from nomad clans below this level of development and in need of urgent solutions to the problems stemming from changing conditions. The whole ancient history has been marked by these facts and fears. If the history is re-interpreted without appropriating the west-centered approach, it is possible to notice that Alexander the Great led one of the half-nomad human communities and demolished the Persian Empire as one of the greatest civilizations of that period heathenly. Although war can be considered as the sole signifier of barbarism, human communities may fight against each other. However; the fundamental distinction between barbarism and civilization is that the former is the attempt of humanity to ally itself with its fears whereas the latter means humanity's direct war against its fears. From this point of view, the destruction and ruining of the magnificent city of the ancient world, Ninova by Alexander the Great, although the city surrendered, indisputably points to a single outcome.

 

2. The Concept of Civilization

The fundamental fact that enables a human community to define its place in history is determined by its reference to the three concepts below:

i. Human being

ii. Nature

iii. Life

The definition for human being determines the attitude of the members of the community towards the non-member people. In the Ancient Greek, only those who were the members of a city-state or in other words a more crowded clan were considered as human beings. Rights such as freedom only belong to these members. Other creatures (!) may be ordered among each other and may face inhuman attitude. The principal attitudes were being left out of the security environment provided by the civilization and being turned into an object of fear. They were ordered as free women, the members of other city-states and slaves. In the Roman period, the scope of the concept of the citizen of the city-states was enlarged to some degree: the Romans. In contrast to the Ancient Greek, to be born in Rome was not necessary for being considered as Roman. This time all the people except for the Romans were barbarians and they also might face with any sort of inhumane behavior. One of the factors that led to the transition from the concept of a member of clan to that of the Romans was the requirement for skilled people in the society in order to meet the increasing human needs. In addition, it was getting difficult to consider the Ancient Greeks as barbarians. Today; the civilized (!) ones are the Westerners and the rest is barbarian. The civilized (!) societies are divided into classes and divisions in themselves and they are turned into object or subject of fear with reference to these  6 / 10History of Olive Oildivisions, but they are not considered as the same as barbarians (!). The definition of the concept of human being within the last 3000 years is the major reason for the fight of the man against man. Although the perception of the economic resources as the major factor separating human beings from each other can be considered as a matter of ignorance; this forced separation for the last 300 years has nothing to do with ignorance. After the human being is defined, the nature should also be defined in order to determine the position of the human being against nature. In the Western civilization, the nature has been considered as the major enemy to be defeated and exploited. Such a conception of natureresulted in perception of the many natural events as the revenge of the nature, and the natural events such as floods, typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic explosions were considered in terms of this perspective. A living thing that wages war against something that he knows to be stronger than him would inevitably feel fear. These fears unfortunately provide the basis for a variety of religious beliefs. It is also known that there are civilizations with potentials of living in peace with nature as a whole. The local tribes of the Southern America and Australia as well as several civilizations in India and a part of the Islamic civilization presenting itself with Sufism can be mentioned as examples.

The last concept that should be defined is life. It was understood that the concept of nature could be taken independently of that of human being long time ago. For this reason, there was also an attempt to define the concept of life independently of the human being. However, whatwas to be defined was not life independent of the human being in its primitive sense. Life becomes ineffective and irrelevant when it is defined independently of the effect of the human will. For this reason, man is a nebbish within the cultures in which life is defined independently of the human being.

 

However, if the emphasis on the effect of human being is not well elaborated, it may turn into megalomania. Among all these, the real human being stands as the only willpower on the earth despite his all deficiencies. To render human being ineffective means to disregard his power whereas to take him as the only focus leads to isolation and alienation from the life and all other living things, whether human being or not. This alienation turns human being into an enemy ofthe nature. However, human being is himself only together with nature and society. It is possible to say that the position of the human being in history or in other words the level of civilization is determined by how the above-mentioned concepts are explained in both individual and social terms. There is a sine qua non that makes thinking on these concepts possible. Without this condition, it is not possible to differentiate the human being from other living things with no willpower such as a lion or a deer. The nourishment of human beings should be maintained first in order to make possible thinking on concepts or conceptual thinking. Civilization is necessary for fighting against fears, conceptual thinking for civilization and overcoming the fears created by fundamental needs for conceptual thinking. Although this relation seems paradoxical, it is nothing other than a dialectic spiral. For this reason, the primary 7 / 10History of Olive Oil great civilizations in history were born in geographical regions with potentials for overcoming the fears. Here is where the significance of oil in history rises.


3. Oil's Role as Constitutive of Civilization 

Although the oil farming is said to date back to 6000 and 8000 years before the present day, the history of oil tree goes back to ten thousand B.C. The oldest oil farming is known to have risen between the east of the Mediterranean and the Anatolia. However; the information on thehistorical origins of oil farming is not so clear. What is important is the source of the significanceof this bitter fruit. The etymologic root of oil that denotes immortality provides significantevidence on this role.The fundamental role of the oil in history is that it is one of the major elements of the peace between the nature and the human being. As a major element of this peace, it has anetymological root -Zeta - meaning the opposite of mortality as the major problem of human beings. In the first two parts of this article, we have mentioned about the two major natural disasters that humanity faced with. The relation of these disasters with oil can be essentially found in the Nuh legend. Nuh sends a pigeon from the ship to find the earth and this pigeon return with an olive branch in its mouth. Olive is the symbol of the peace between nature and human being. This symbol has been still relevant.The Deluge resulted in confrontation with the fear of hunger by destructing the civilization first to solve this problem. The social life was disintegrated and humanity faced the fear of hunger again. The power of the fear was back. The limited number of people able to escape from the deluge moved in all directions with some part of the accumulated knowledge (Nuh's ship can be considered as a metaphor of information reserve). The trauma they underwent was so effective that its effects have continued through legends and stories for thousands of years. The first to escape from the trauma were those who reached Anatolia and the south Caucasia. They incorporated into societies there and began to go down to the south slowly. Coming across with olive and applying their agricultural knowledge on this tree; they enabled the rise of new civilizations. That meant to overcome the fear and make peace with the nature"god" again. It is written nearly in all resources that the founders of the Minos civilization were of Little Asia origin. There should be many things transmitted from Anatolia to Crete through this culture. This civilization is based on oil. The main source of food for people is oil in every respect. Oil can be produced in huge amounts requiring relatively less work than similar food materials. It provides people with free time and security necessary for civilization. It is durable if necessary conditions are maintained. It is easy to store and transport. It can be used for other purposes. For instance, abundant amount of oil production enables maintenance of lightening of the whole ancient city. It is not so difficult to discover its effects on civilization in the sense that it enabled the whole city to function as a lighthouse on the seacoast for ships without demanding any expensive construction projects. It is probable that the range of activities where oil was used is larger than it is known. The uses of the oleic acid as the main ingredient of oil have not been discovered completely yet. The main ingredient of the Mediterranean kitchen that has recently become famous is oil. The Minos civilization was established on the basis of these opportunities granted by oil.  8 / 10History of Olive Oil All of the Aegean civilizations established after the end of the Minos civilization were based on oil from the very beginning. Appropriation of the opportunities granted by oil provided these civilizations with initial acceleration and initial life energy without demanding the rise of slavery as a necessary factor of the economy. Historiography based on legends is a sign of ignorance. Disregarding the simple historical facts underlying the legends is also a matter of ignorance. There is no fact without a cause. What is important is to find out that simple cause. What does the Athena story, which is based on olive branch and is about the competition between goddess Athena naming the city and the god Poseidon, express if not the facts mentioned above?


4. The Present-Day

All the people who fairly follow and think on the world and the events going on even to a slightest degree agree upon the fact that the humanity is about to face a turning point. There are only differences of opinion on what this turning point is. The opinions about this turning point and the future expectations, not necessary and possible to discuss here one by one, can be categorized into two groups: constitutive and destructive approaches. Some opinions and beliefs argue that this turning point would end with destruction. According to these approaches, the destruction would be total both for itself and after. Either the cosmos or the world or at least humanity would fade away to the extent that there would be no possible emancipation or return to the back. What is common in all these beliefs is primarily the expectation of something that would happen externally to the human will and a gross destruction. If this expectation is true, then humans can not do anything, as there is something working to the exclusion of the human will. The other approach is reinforced by a belief in human and future. The dominant idea is that there is always something to do whatever happens. Pessimism is considered as the same as surrender, since it only serves to rupture the single will with power to do something. Here comes in the distinctions explained here. The first among them is human will. Either the human will has effect over life or not. If it has, the quantitative dimension of this effect is a matter of time. The effect of man over man also proves that. For those arguing that there is no such effect, striving for having control over their lives and desiring for maintaining a long, healthy and wealthy life, their efforts for spreading their opinions contradict with their opinions. Here it will not be discussed whether god exists or not or which god is really god or not. However, the outcome the writer here arrives at is: If there is a god or a creative power, the human being as the most magnificent creature on earth can not be a being without will. In this case, the human being would not be a more developed being than a chicken and this would mean humiliation of the creative power by itself. If the human being is endowed with willpower, he should have the control of his life and the future. The development within the last 2000 years has also enabled the human beings to have the control of the future of the world. That is; the reason for the turning point for the humanity on which it is agreed. Previously, the mistakes of the humanity drove only humanity into disasters. Today the mistakes of humanity are as effective as to drive the whole world into disaster. The reason is the human beings' self-power increased directly by their own will.  9 / 10History of Olive Oil Here comes in the oil. The writer does not aim at attributing a messianic mission to the oil. The argument is that this material that at least two times led to the foundation of civilizations is the clear evidence of the ability of the human being to live in peace with both other human beings and the nature. Today; the amount of oil consumption per person is highest in Greece with 21 litres. With simple calculation, this amount of oil for each person in the world can be produced in the Mediterranean on a land of 700 thousand and 1 million km2 without fighting with nature or destroying it. If this could be achieved, man's fight against man would be irrelevant, as there would be no problem of lack of resources . This simple calculation would lead to the destructionof the destructive scenarios.  Imagination of a world where people would live in peace without fighting against men or nature is the most significant sign of humanization. The writer knows that the people able to save thisdream has always existed independently of time and space and continue to exist in even such a period. This writing is only a thanks to the people that have provided this writer with limitless hope and a little tax paid to those who would like to see something from science among the branches that would not allow them to fall.
 

Gökçe Alp Gökçe November, 2004, Istanbul

 

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"In the case that there is a problem of resources, this situation cannot be considered as a legitimate reason for ruining the lives of the individuals and social beings with production of a faker theory such as social darwinism by an intelligent being. Above all, it is embarassing to use nature as the explanation for this extra-human and extra-civilized