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The First Olympic Games Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

The first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. at Olympia hence, the name Olympics. There is a common confusion about the name Of Olympia. The Greeks gods lived on Mount Olympus argued peak in Thessaly, in Northern Greece. The sanctuary of Olympia, where the Games were held, lies in Southern Greece, in the claw shaped peninsula known as the Peloponnesus. Olympia's name echoes the mountains, to emphasize its sanctity (Perrottet, 2004, p.8). For five hectic days and nights, Olympia was the undisputed capital of the world, and visitors hardly knew where to turn first. There was sacred sightseeing to be done: the sanctuary of Olympia was an open air museum, and visitors rushed between events from temple to temple (Perrottet, 2004, p.11). This is considered the first Olympics because it was the first time it was nationally organized amongst the independent Greek nations. The true purpose of the ancient Olympics was to honor their gods; especially Zeus, and compete for the love of physical exercise. By the first full moon after the summer solstice thirty days before the games began every athlete who wanted to compete in the Olympics was obligated to register personally before the judges in the city of Elis. It was this host city rather than the sanctuary of Olympia that became the original Olympic Village. There an invasion of hopefuls was forced to train together in isolation throughout the midsummer (Perrottet, 2004, p.47).The ancient Greeks believed that the Olympics symbolized a gathering together and celebration of what was great about Greece. To recapture the allure of the ancient Olympics, we have to realize that sports were only one part of the festival. The games were actually the ultimate pagan entertainment package, where every human diversion could be found at once, on and off the field (Perrottet, 2004, p.11). At the time, Greece was the most powerful nation in the world, rivaled by no other. They had the most dominant military, the most powerful economy, the best organized religion, the strongest alliances, and strong national pride.At this time, Greece was more powerful and prouder of itself more than ever. No nation could defeat them, not even the former would powers, the Egyptians, or the Persians. Greece had the world to itself. The idea of the Olympics was to show just how great each individual was to Greece and how proud they were of themselves.Additionally, Greece formed the foundations of Western Civilization not only with their Olympic sports but with their philosophers. Athenian philosophers invented exercise programs, despite the fact that they had no practical experience. (Perrottet, 2004, p.33). Three very important philosophers were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. All three lived at the time of games and each supported the games.The intellectual might rivaled the physical abilities of the athletes competing in the games. These three great philosophers spoke about how great the body was and how it must be respected. Over the...

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