Ancient Olympic Games


The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: ? ta Olympia) were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. Historical records indicate that they began in 776 BC in Olympia. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in 394 AD as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as the state religion of Rome. The games were usually held every four years, or olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were wreaths of laurel leaves. The games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics also featured religious celebrations and artistic competitions. The statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sculptors and poets would congregate each olympiad to display their works of art to would-be patrons. The ancient Olympics had fewer events than the modern games, and only freeborn Greeks were allowed to participate,[1] although a woman Bilistiche is also mentioned as a winning chari t owner. As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any city-state and Macedon were allowed to participate, although the Hellanodikai, the officials in charge, allowed king Alexander I to participate in the games only after he had to prove his Greek ancestry.[2][3] The games were always held at Olympia rather than alternating to different locations as is the tradition with the modern Olympic Games.[4] Victors at the Olympics were highly honored and praised, and their feats chronicled for future generations. Athletics is an exclusive collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and race walking. The simplicity of the competitions, and the lack of a need for expensive equipment, makes athletics one of the most commonly competed sports in the world. Athletics is mostly an individual sport, with the exception of relay races and competitions which combine athletes' performances for a team score, such as cross country. Organised athletics are traced back to the Ancient Olympic Games from 776 BC, and most modern events are conducted by the member clubs of the International Association of Athletics Federations. The athletics meeting forms the backbone of the modern Summer Olympics, and other leading international meetings include the IAAF World Championships and World Indoor Championships, and athletes with a physical disability compete at the Summer Paralympics and the IPC Athletics World Championships.