Honey in mythology and ancient Greece

In Greek mythology, bees were supposed to be the messengers of the gods and honey to be a source of wisdom and poetry. Honey was rumored to provide unbelievable powers. Therefore, in the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer it was mentioned, that the gods of Olympus lived on honey (nectar) and honey wine (ambrosia). In Greek the word “nectar” means “victory over death” and Ambrosia stands for “immortality”. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, used honey and beeswax for her beauty masks.

In ancient Greece, the theory of apiculture was studied for the first time, revealing the medical importance of honey. Moreover, in 600 BC a fully developed and legally regulated beekeeping arose in Greece. Famous ancient doctors used honey as a cure for various diseases and ailments. Even Hippocrates (466 to 377 BC) prescribed honey for fever, injuries and for wound treatment. Honey was a panacea for him.

The most famous and influential Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 to 322 BC), who was Plato’s pupil, even wrote his first book on beekeeping. And at the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, honey was used as natural doping: the athletes drank honey water in order to regain their strength.

Honey was also appreciated as a means of beauty by the ancient Greeks and used for beauty masks.

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