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Games Of The Ancient Olympics Essay

3045 words - 12 pages

Games of the Ancient Olympics

The Olympics began in ancient Olympia Greece, which lies 10km east of Pirgos, in a valley between Mt. Kronos, the Alfios river, and the Kladeos. This area was inhabited by the Pisans, whose King was Oinomaus. His daughter Hippodameia had married Pelops, and it has been said that the first games were held in their honor around 1000 B.C. Through the years the games began to attract interest in nearby towns. In 776 B.C. , the leader of the Eleians, Iphitos, rededicated the games to the honor of Zeus, (the most important god in the ancient Greek pantheon). As a result of the religious nature of the games, all wars would cease during the contests. The original games only consisted of one race, one day with a cook, Coroibus of Elis, being the first winner. Later in time the powerful Spartans influenced the games by adding roughly ten new events to the agenda (Carlos 1).
In contrast to modern olympics, there were fewer events, women were barred rights of participation, and the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving to different sites. The winners would be rewarded with a simple olive tree branch, which was cut with a gold-handled knife, from a wild olive tree, as well as being known as heroes for putting their hometown on the map (Library Advanced Org. [LAO], 1).
While the exact amount of spectators that attended the Olympics is unknown, the tiers of the Olympic stadium were built to accommodate around forty-five to fifty thousand. As the games grew, royalty began to compete for personal gain, mainly in the chariot events. Humans and gods were glorified as well as many winners erecting statues around the arena to deify themselves (Carlos 1,2).
The pentathlon was added in 708 B.C. in the 18th Olympiad consisting of five events: discus, javelin, long jump, running and wrestling. The pentathlon was said to be invented by Jason, who combined the five events and awarded the first prize to a friend, Peleus, who placed second in everything except for wrestling, which he placed first.
The pentathlon was a combination of light events: jumping, running, javelin and heavy events: discus and wrestling. While it remains unknown how the decision of the winner was made, it is believed that the last two winners confronted each other in wrestling, with the winner declared pentathlon victor. Speed, strength, skill, and endurance are all qualities necessary to participate in the pentathlon. A quote from Aristotle, “The pentathletes are the best, because they are naturally endowed with both strength and speed” (Foundation of the Hellenic World [FHW], 1).
Boxing, added in 688 B.C., was first mentioned in Homeric poems, and was held in honor of Patroclus. It is said that Apollo, who defeated and killed Phorbus, was the inventor of the boxing event. The ancient boxing differed in many ways from the modern boxing that we are used to. While having no time limit to the fight, opponents fought until...

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