How the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece

Long before the games started, the riders went around the whole Hellas, heralding the coming contests. And from all over people started to flock to Olympia. A general truce was declared in order to rid them of unnecessary dangers. It operated some time before the start of the games, for the period of their holding and some time later — to allow athletes and spectators to easily get from Olympia to their home places. The violation of this truce was considered a terrible sacrilege, which would entail cruel punishment on the part of the gods.

Theoretically, every free and full citizen could take part in competitions. In practice, to achieve high results, to claim victory, it was necessary to train constantly and for a long time. Consequently, people living their own labor — non-wealthy traders, artisans, peasants, fishermen — simply couldn’t perform at the Olympics. They were present there only as spectators. Well, strangers or slaves couldn’t do it either. Women at all were not allowed to compete under the threat of death. The most plausible version of such a harsh ban is not to embarrass athletes who have long competed nude. The

beginning of the games was a fire lighting ceremony at the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Greeks thus honored the memory of the titan Prometheus, who, according to legend, stole fire from the gods and presented it to the people. The lit torch was delivered to a place of competition, where it was to sort of sanctify the coming games.

For a long time, athletes competed only in the distance in 1 stage (about 192 meters). It is from this term that the word “stadium” originated. Then the program included other types of competitions — running at different distances, fistfight, wrestling, chariot races. The winner was honored as a hero who glorified his hometown.

The Olympic Games took place for more than a thousand years and were banned in the 394th year. They were revived only at the end of the 19th century.

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