Ancient Greece Olympics
Who would believe that Olympics, a leading international event came into being as a small scale religious event in ancient Greece? Time has seen the growth of the event that initiated in Greece to become so enormous today that almost every nation is a part of it.
Olympics, today is an arena of skills and talents and a bundle of entertainment. Moving back to centuries one would be amazed to know that Olympics had a very different face. The event had many restrictions and was hardly bound by any rules and regulations. Certain games indulged violence to the extent of causing severe injuries or even claiming life. The event had a war-like appearance. An opening ceremony was performed with a sacrifice offered to the deity, Zeus. The way of handling the proceedings of the event was very much primitive to what we observe today.
Origin of Olympics
The grand event of Olympics originated in ancient Greece and was first organized in the city of Olympia.
There are many myths and beliefs associated with the origin of Olympics.
- The event comprised of a series of games that were said to be organized to honor the ancient Greek deity, ‘Zeus’. Rulers of different cities and kingdoms of Greece would participate as an admiration of this religious event. The event took a different turn later. It became more a tool to avenge political rivalry between the cities and kingdoms. Announcements would be made during the event on new alliances and also sacrifices we made to the deities to pray for the victory of dear ones. Through the Olympics, there were promotions of the classic Greek civilization across the Mediterranean.
- Though it was said that the games were restricted only to males, some believed that the origin of Olympics comes from a foot race that was organized for the women folk to choose a priestess for the goddess. It is also said that married women were restricted to view the events but unmarried women were allowed as spectators.
- Another myth states that the event was held to count years and that was the reason why Olympics were held in an interval of four years.
Ancient and Modern Olympics – A Way of Difference
- The number of games was very limited. To name a few there was Chariot racing, Athletics, Boxing, Wrestling Long-jump and javelin throw.
- Sportsmanship had no existence in ancient Olympics! The events like Boxing and wrestling had no pre defined disciplines and all violent methods for one to become he winner were allowed.
- Familiarity with the Greek language was the major criteria of selection. Anyone who would score well in the entrance standards would be allowed to participate.
- The event would be held once in four years only at Olympia unlike the modern Olympics, wherein the venue in different for the forthcoming event.
Overall the Olympics event used to be a rejoicing event with celebrations all around for the participants and the audience. Artistic displays were seen all around which were the creations of the artists and sculptors. The winners would be honored with crowns and other awards for their victory. Poets would write a prose of appreciation for the victorious participants. During the event, a truce (a body that promoted peace between the rivals) was organized. The responsibility of the truce was to ensure the safety of the participants while traveling across countries for games. When the Roman Empire took over the control, they terminated the Olympics event, with the aim of promoting Christianity and no other religion.
In contrast to what is believed in today’s Olympics, the ancient Olympics believed only in winning and not in the satisfaction of participating.