Ancient Greece Olympics
The Ancient Greece Olympics were initially called the Olympic Games, which were a series of athletic competitions held between the different states and cities of ancient Greece. The games began in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, and were held until 393 AD. Winners of different athletic competitions were presented with olive wreaths, palm branches and woolen ribbons.
The origins of ancient Greece Olympics are unknown but there are several legends floating around. Once such legend involves Pelops, the King of Olympia, and Peloponnesus, to whom offering are made during the games. The legend tells us how Pelops overcame the King and won the hand of his daughter Hippodamia with the help of Poseidon.
Another myth that attributes to the starting of ancient Greece Olympics is to Heracles, who won a race at Olympia and then announced that the race should be enacted every 4 years. Another legend claims that Zeus started the ancient Greece Olympics after he defeated the Titan Cronus.
It does not matter what the origins of the games were. The games ended being one of the two central rituals in Ancient Greece. The other ritual was Eleusinian Mysteries.
In Ancient Greece Olympics just free men who spoke Greek were allowed to participate. All athletes from various Greek administered states and cities were allowed to take part in the games and it is said that athletes from as far as the Mediterranean and Black Sea participated in the games.
Ancient Olympics originally had just one event, the stadion race. This was a short sprint covering a distance between 180 meters and 240 meters. Runners had to cross 5 stakes that divided the lanes. Merely finishing the race was sufficient to earn a victory.
In 724 BC, the diaulos was introduced during the 14th Olympic games. The race consisted of a single lap of the stadium, measuring approximately 400 meters. The third event introduced in 720 BC was dolichos, which was a foot race of approximately 18-24 laps (3 miles) and was run similarly to the modern marathons. The last running event was introduced in 520 BC and was known as hoplitodromos. This was usually the last race of the day and competitors would run either single or double diaulos in full or partial armor, carrying a shield and greaves or helmet.
Over the years, Ancient Greece Olympics introduced other events like boxing, pale, pankration, chariot racing, pentathlon, long jump, javelin throw and discus throw.
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