Myths and stories of legendary olive trees have always been present throughout the history of Athens. Such has been the myth of Plato’s Olive Tree which stood until 1976 in Plato’s Academy Site (“Academia”).
According to the legend, the famous tree was one of the 12 Olive Trees of the Akademia that derived from the Sacred Olive Tree, that Athena gave as a gift to the Athenians and king Cecrops, during her contest for their city with the god of sea, Poseidon. Under its shade, Plato is said to have been teaching his students his known “Theory of Ideas”. The roots of the tree survived through the ages following the history of the capital of modern Greece and became one of the city’s main attractions, at the beginning of the previous century.
In 1976, the tree was hit by a bus ending its perennial presence in the Athenian landscape, wihile its trunk was conserved and is now exhibited in the Agricultural University of Athens.