Posted on 26th December 2020
The Heraean Games were for women only and dedicated to the Goddess Hera; they were the first recorded women’s athletic competition to be held in the Stadium of Olympia.
The games were established by Hippodameia circa 800BC – 500BC, the daughter of Oenomaus, himself the son of the God Ares.
Hippodameia, a mythological figure, gathered a group of sixteen women out of gratitude to her marriage to Pelops (King of Pisa). The sixteen women, from the cities of Pisa and Ellis may have been bought together to create peace between the cities.
Whatever the reason, there was peace between the two regions and the sixteen women were given the task of building the Heraean Games.
The games originally consisted of three footraces only in three age groups. Over time it is believed, chariot races, javelin and discus throwing were added.
Unmarried women only were allowed to compete, wearing a chiton (tunic) that stopped just above the knees.
Champions would win olive crowns and cow or ox meat that was sacrificed to Hera. They also had the right to have statues inscribed with their names or painted portraits of themselves on the columns of Hera’s temple.
As part of the ceremony a robe was woven by the sixteen women and then presented to Hera..
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Greece
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