Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Olive branches required

I’ve always quite liked the Bard’s Sonnet 107, in particular this passage:

The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.

But what’s that about olives, hmm?


The following commentary illumines the Bard’s meaning here:

In the ancient world olives were an essential commodity, but olive trees required at least nine years to establish themselves.  This could only be done in times of peace.  Marauding armies would frequently hack down olive trees in order to cause maximum damage to the places they had invaded.  Hence production of olives was a sign of peace and stability.

How interesting then that, in a modern-day tawdry, intractable conflict, olive groves have become a “battleground”.

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