Taught course

Olive Oil

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens · National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Entry requirements

This programme concerns those students with a particular interest in the history and culture of the olive tree and olive oil and its nutritional value.

Months of entry

September, February

Course content

Old as humans, sacred as ancient rites, so valuable that they were considered gods' gifts to humankind, the olive tree and olive oil appeared in the Mediterranean Basin and became dominant and permanent fixtures of its landscape. This programme delves into the history and culture of the olive tree and olive oil and emphasises their nutritional value and concerns those students with a particular interest in the above mentioned.

Programme Description

Olive growing is one of the most important cultures associated with the life and evolution of humankind; the presence of the olive tree has an important part of daily nutrition since the appearance of human live in our planet. But how came the olive in the Mediterranean? What it's cultural history and its uses in the antiquity? What is its historical tradition, its links to religion and the arts? How can we classify olive oil, to distinguish and how we can produce high quality olive oil? What is the nutritional value of these products and their biological properties? Finally how is olive oli an important part of the Mediterranean diet and the benefits of its consumption? This programme aims to answer all these questions through information based on scientific and historical facts, research papers, videos and interviews designed to initiate the student to the magical world of olives and olive oil.

Cultural history olives - olive oil

Lesson 1 Origin of the olive tree and its significance in antiquity
In this lesson we will examine the spread of the olive in the Mediterranean basin and refer to the myths that accompany it. We will also discuss the route of the olive and olive oil in ancient Greece from the Minoan to the classical period
Lesson 2 Olive in latter years and uses of olive oil
In this lesson we discuss the route of olive oil and olives in the Roman period, Byzantium and the Ottoman.Detailed reference to the uses of olive oil in antiquity including nutrition, grooming, in the treatment of diseases, and the Olympic and Panathenaic games.
Lesson 3 Elia - Olive oil, religion and art
Here, we describe the use of olive oil in religious ceremonies in ancient Greece and Christianity. Also we examine the olive and olive oil as a source of inspiration for artists from ancient times to today (poetry, literature, painting, etc.).

Olive and olive oil

Lesson 1 The olive tree
In this lesson we describe the characteristics and composition of the olives, storage and harvest with a detailed reference to the varieties of olive growing in Greece.
Lesson 2 Olive oil
Moreover, in this lesson we discuss the main categories of olive oil and the factors that determine its quality. Tips to produce high quality olive oil, a detailed reference to the main types of mills, as well as storage and packaging methods are also discussed.

The nutritional value of olives and olive oil-Olive oil and health

Lesson 1 Olives and olive oil
We describe the qualitative characteristics of the olive, the nutritional value, while referring to the components of the transported oil. Also, we further analyze the chemical composition of different types of oils and identify the main biological properties
Lesson 2 Mediterranean diet,Olive oil and health
In this lesson we discuss the important role of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet and describe the benefits to health. Olive oil is also examined as «pharmakon» that protects against a wide range of diseases such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, thrombosis, diabetes, cancer, etc.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
2 months

Course contact details

Admissions Office