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Ancient Olympic History




History of the Ancient Summer Games: The Ancient Summer Games were first recorded in 776 BC . According to some scholars, the games originated at least a century before that, possibly in the 13th century BC . The Games were held every four years. The Greek calendar was based on the four-year periods called Olympiads . Every Olympiad began with the Summer Games . Evidently, the festival of Olympics was reorganized in 776 BC . This Olympics was considered as the start of the first Olympiad .

Myths about the Ancient Summer Games: There are many myths about the Ancient Summer Games . One Greek legend said that the great Hercules was the founder of the Summer Games. Another myth said that Zeus himself had originated the festival to celebrate his victory against Cronus . The most common story is that, Olympic festival was a local religious event until 884 BC . The Summer Games were basically a religious festival celebrated by all Hellenes , to worship Zeus . Iphitos, the king of Elis , decided to turn the Olympic festival into a broader, pan-Hellenic festival . For this reason, he entered into a temporary truce with other rulers to give the athletes and others a free passage to and from Olympia during the Summer Games . The winners of the Games were crowned with wreaths from olive tree . They marched around the grove while admirers chanted songs written by a prominent poet.

The ancient Summer Games were never suspended. The games were even held during the Persian Wars in 480 BC , and coincided with the Battle of Thermopylae . Arkadians captured the sanctuary and reorganized the games in 364 BC . So the Games held in 364 BC were not considered as Summer Games . In 338 BC, Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander took over the Greek city-states. They erected the Philippeion (a family memorial) in the sanctuary. Philip and Alexander held political meetings at Olympia during each Olympiad. In 146 BC , the Romans gained control of Greece and the Summer Games . In 85 BC , Sulla , the Roman general plundered the sanctuary to finance his campaign against Mithridates . Sulla also moved the 175th Olympiad to Rome in 80 BC . The ancient Summer Games lasted for 1170 years . Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I ordered a banning of the Ancient Summer Games in 393 AD.

The Venue of the Ancient Summer Games : Olympia was the venue of the ancient Summer Games . The ancient city of Olympia is located in the western part of the Peloponnese. According to Greek mythology , Peloponnese is the island of " Pelops ". In the 10th century B.C, Olympia was the meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices. The majestic temple of Zeus dominated the central part of Olympia , with the temple of Hera parallel to it. The ancient stadium in Olympia had a capacity of 40,000 spectators .






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