The Olympic Games Were Not Always So Friendly

The Olympic Games Were Not Always So Friendly

The modern Olympics we​ see are often held up as​ a​ continuation of​ the​ first games. While the​ basic idea of​ sporting events is​ common to​ both,​ there is​ much that is​ different.

The Olympic Games Were Not Always So Friendly

The original Olympics were actually only one part of​ four games held during the​ year. the​ others were the​ Nemean,​ Isthmian and Pythian Games. the​ Olympics,​ however,​ were by far the​ most famous. These games derived their name from Olympia,​ were they were held.

The Olympics were first held in​ 776 BC. the​ games were part of​ a​ religious festival in​ honor of​ the​ Greek gods. They were held in​ the​ temple sanctuary of​ Olympia in​ Peloponnesus,​ which is​ located in​ southern Greece. the​ games celebrated sporting achievement and excellence as​ well as​ victory. in​ fact,​ victory was the​ only thing celebrated and it​ often stood in​ place of​ open warfare between various factions. There was no silver or​ bronze medal awarded.

Every year,​ the​ Olympics were held on​ the​ second full moon after the​ summer solstice. This would have put them in​ July or​ August of​ each year. the​ games lasted for roughly five days. a​ truce was declared for the​ up to​ three months prior to​ the​ games so contestants could heal from battles and prepare themselves.

The origin of​ the​ games has not been conclusively determined. Greek legend has it​ that Zeus,​ himself,​ started the​ games. Other legends have it​ that Herakles founded the​ games. a​ third view is​ that they games were created as​ a​ memorial to​ Pelops,​ a​ hero. Whatever the​ reason,​ the​ games have certain stood the​ test of​ time even if​ the​ original Greeks would not recognize them today.

The original Olympics had only one event – the​ foot race. Not until the​ 18th Olympiad were individual events such as​ wrestling,​ horse riding,​ discus and javelin throwing were added. at​ its height,​ over 40,​000 people would pile into a​ stadium in​ Olympia to​ watch the​ events.

Given the​ peaceful tone of​ the​ modern Olympics,​ it​ is​ somewhat surprising the​ pankration was one of​ the​ most popular events of​ the​ early games. it​ was essentially a​ brawl between as​ many contestants as​ entered,​ fighting all at​ the​ same time,​ with the​ last man standing declared the​ winner. All Olympic events were restricted to​ men,​ to​ wit,​ women could only watch.

Ancient Greeks were very competitive,​ and the​ games were about the​ only no-war outlet for their passion. Given this basic truth,​ it​ is​ somewhat odd that the​ modern Olympics attempt to​ disdain politics and national rivalries.

The Olympic Games Were Not Always So Friendly

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