The Ancient Olympics were part of a religious festival in honor of the god of the sky, Zeus. The Greeks believed that they had to perform the games to honor the gods and prove their physical fitness and mental discipline. Throughout the years the Olympics have changed immensely not only through the games that are held but through the people who participate. In the Ancient Olympics, there were different rules and fewer events.
The games were a direct outgrowth of the values and beliefs of Greek society. The Greeks idealized physical fitness and mental discipline, and they believed that excellence in those areas honored Zeus, the greatest of all their gods.The only competitors were men who were able to speak Greek instead of anyone, male or female, from any country like it is today. The male athletes were all citizens of the city-states from almost every corner of the Greek area including, Iberia (Spain) and the Black Sea (Turkey). Winning athletes were heroes who put their hometown on the map. One thing that the Greeks did not have to worry about was amateurism and professionalism amongst the athletes because there were so few of them and the athletes usually received substantial amounts of prize money.
The word Athlete is an ancient Greek word that translates to “one who competes for a prize”. The word Athlete is also related to the Greek words, athlos which means “contest’ and Athlon which means “prize”. The winners were surrounded with olive wreaths and had their names inscribed into the Official Olympic Records.
Plus the winners could also have a statue of him put up at Olympia. The winners were not only considered heroes in their cities but in some cases were fed for the rest of their lives. Participating in the games gave you fame and could also let you become very powerful and respected just like how the games are now. The main events in The Ancient Olympics are much different compared to the ones held today. They included equestrian events such as chariot racing, along with pankration and the pentathlon.
Pankration was an event that was a mix of boxing and wrestling. Punches could be thrown but, there were some rules against gouging your opponent in the eyes, mouth or nose. Some rules that are outlawed today were perfectly legal back then such as kicking or punching someone in the stomach. The Pentathlon was an event that involved five different sports including, discus, running, jumping, javelin, and wrestling.
This event wanted to showcase the beauty of men and how the most beautiful could endure all of the different events. The Ancient Olympics were held every four years and every four years were called an Olympiad. One of the main reasons why they were held every four years was because in the ancient times the different cities and states in Greece had different dating systems.
A month before the Ancient Olympics were held there would be an Olympic truce so that the athletes could get to the stadium safely. The Olympics were initially a one-day event but gradually grew to five days because there were more events added. The ancient Olympic Games were part of a religious festival in honor of the god of the sky, Zeus. The games were held in Olympia at the western Peloponnesos. The Greek citizens and athletes who attended all had the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The area was named in honor after Mt. Olympos which is the highest mountain in mainland Greece.
Even though these Olympics started in Olympia, Greece, from 776 BC and ended in 393 AD, it took around 1503 years for the Olympics to return and regain its popularity along with many changes throughout the years. The first Olympics that was held to start the tradition backup took place in Athen, Greece, in 1896. Baron Pierre de Coubertin was a Frenchman who presented the idea to bring back to Olympic games in 1984. He originally wanted to start the Olympics again in 1900 in his hometown, Paris, France but his peers that were scattered throughout the other thirty-four countries convinced him to have the games restart in 1896 and have Athens be the first host.
There are many differences when comparing the Ancient Olympics and the Olympics today. First, the Ancient Olympic games only accepted people who were greek and who were men but in today’s Olympics, there were around 2600 athletes from 77 different countries around the world. Men were only allowed to participate in the Ancient Greek Olympics unlike now when anyone can compete in any event. The first woman to compete were Marie Ohnier and Mme. Brohy in the croquet games in the 1900 Olympics. The ancient Olympics only had one winner in an event but in the current events, there are three winners in each of the games with bronze, silver and gold metals.
The Winter Olympics were never an idea because the ancient Greeks never thought of having skiing or another cold/winter sports because of their location. Lastly, the ancient Olympic games were only held in Olympia, Greece but today, the location is different every four years by never repeating in the same location.Throughout the years there has been a drastic change from the very first ancient Greek Olympics to today’s games. Overall the ancient Greeks have set the tone for how modern life is today.
Without them we would not have this amazing tradition that brings each and every one of us together, no matter where you are from, giving us all something in common.