The art of beekeeping is not recent in Greece. On the contrary, it has been verified that honey played a leading role in the everyday life of the ancient Greeks, who were among the first to find out its healing properties and its high nutritional value.

This specific fact is most emphatically certified by the discovery of ceramic beehives in Festos, dating back to 3400 BC. A gold jewel of unique beauty, discovered in Knossos, depicting two bees holding a beehive, also belongs to the same historical period of time.

Although the art of beekeeping came to our country be the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks supported it in such a way that soon it was no longer considered to be “foreign”. Documents dating back to the antiquity, indicate that Spartan adolescents who were trained as soldiers, as well as their teachers, had to survive a month in the mountain Taygetus feeding exclusively in honey. The term “honeymoon” also originates from this custom.

In Athens, beekeeping was such a developed and organized occupation that the great legislator Solon (640-558 BC) had to establish laws concerning the required distance between two apiaries, so as to prevent misconceptions related to swarm ownership.

Furthermore, in the Aristotelian works “History of Animals” and “Generation of animals”, the society of bees is pointed out as a research model and an example of an ideal city’s operation, structure and hierarchy. The Greek philosopher indeed constructed a glass beehive, in order to observe the bees’ way of life and work.

Some of the ways in which the ancient Greeks used honey in their everyday life, are the following:

Oxymelon: vinegar with honey, used in order to relieve from fever.

Apple honey: apples preserved in honey, which finally obtained the distinctive smell of apples. Other fruit could also take the place of apples in this recipe.

Mead (hydromelon): a beverage produced from water and honey through fermentation.

Melikraton: milk with honey, used as food for children.

Oinomelon: honey with wine. According to references, Democritus’ longevity was attributed to the consumption of oinomelon with bread.

Hippocrates praises oinomelon’s beneficial effect to healthy and ailing people alike; Pythagoras ascertains that honey can eliminate fatigue, while Democritus associates well-being and longevity with honey in his works.