The Olympic Games
Posted on 26th December 2020
The Olympics first dated to 776BC and were held every 4 years. They started in Olympia, dedicated to the Olympian Gods in honour of Zeus (King of Gods) as a religious festival.
In the early games, only male athletes that lived in the city-states of Greece could compete; women were barred from entering the competition. To stop women trying to compete in disguise, on the pretext of being a man, competitors always participated naked.
Only free male citizens were allowed to attend the games.
The Olympic Games started as a one-day competition with only one event, a Footrace (Stadion). Over time this grew to five days.
Through the years more events were added including a longer footrace (Diaulos), added in 724BC and a three-mile (five kilometre) footrace (Dolichos) added in 720BC.
Wrestling was added in 708BC and in 648BC a mixture of events (Pankration) was created. This included boxing, wrestling, kicking, holds, locks and chokes and was very popular with Spartans. Hoplite race (Hoplitodromos) in which competitors wore armour was added in 520BC.
Other events were added including chariot racing and the pentathlon, which included wrestling, footrace, long jump, javelin throw and discus throw.
Chariot races were the only event that women could enter, not as competitors but as horse trainers. Cynisca was the first woman to win at the Olympics, the trainer of the four-horse chariot race winning in 396BC and 392BC.
When the games grew to a five-day event, there were three days of competitions and two days of religious festivals.
The first day of the games, 700 oxen were sacrificed to Zeus; this was followed by 3 days of competition and a banquet based around the sacrificed oxen on the final day.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Greece
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