The ancient Greeks considered honey a gift from the gods while the bee and honey play a leading role in Greek mythology, customs and traditions.
Honey has been a symbol of fertility, happiness, well-being and inspiration while the bee has been used as a symbol of colonization, prosperity and abundance over the centuries.
The mythology of each people captures its collective memory long before history came to record the events in a scientific way. Thus, Greek mythology with its numerous references to honey and the bee allows us to conclude that in the early stages of Greek history the value of honey in the human diet had been duly appreciated, while the bee had won human admiration for its valuable work. The mythological reference to the use of honey for the upbringing of the king of the gods, Zeus, is not accidental.
The bee, a small but miraculous insect, was given an important place among the protagonists of Greek Mythology and art due to its usefulness which was recognized very early by humans. Myths and realities, gods and demigods, nymphs and people, divine figures create myths giving the bee and the value of honey a prominent place in Greek Mythology. Honey as an exquisite food “divine” and “heavenly” was worshiped because of its nutritional and healing properties. Offer longevity and the hope of eternity to gods and men through the purification of soul and body from every error.
There are many written references to honey or bee. Some are indicative.
In antiquity it is evident from numerous records and data the medicinal and nutritional value of honey which, in addition to food as a raw material, had a prominent place in worship, the manufacture of medicines, ointments, perfumes, drinks and beverages, while its marketing begins timidly by country in a country. The bee, honey and wax held a prominent place in all social classes and groups.
It is reported that systematic beekeeping has been practiced in Greece since 150 AD. century. Scholars report that honey and the art of beekeeping came to Greece from Ancient Egypt. According to legend, the bees and the candle were born from the tears of the sun god Ra and the bee was considered a guide on the long journey to the other world.
Honey, drink and food of the gods, nectar and ragweed, held an important place in the daily lives of people not only as food but also as a therapeutic tool and the bee is deified.
Most of the scientific information about bees and their biology comes from Aristotle in “The stories about animals” and “about animals of genesis”
In art the presence of the bee is strong in jewelry, gold tiles, sculptures, paintings, amphorae and goblets.
In daily life and diet, honey was consumed as is, in cooking or in preparations with other foods such as “apple honey”, “melikrato”, “oximelo”, “hydromelo”, “oinomelo” etc.
The Mythology of the bee and the references to it and honey are almost inexhaustible and have different versions, but what is certain is its connection with the generative forces of nature and the fact that man recognized it early on.
We now know that 80% of plant pollination is due to these persistent workers who never stop working as one of the most well-organized societies one can observe in nature.