Ancient Olympic Games, First Olympics in Olympia Greece. Full of blood, passion and extraordinary feats of athletic endeavour, the Olympic Games were the sporting, social and cultural highlight of the Ancient Greek calendar for almost 12 centuries. “It is hard for us to exaggerate how important the Olympics were for the Greeks,” Paul Christesen, Professor of Ancient Greek History at Dartmouth College, USA, said. “The classic example is that when the Persians invaded Greece in the summer of 480 (BC) a lot of the Greek city states agreed that they would put together an allied army but they had a very hard time getting one together because so many people wanted to go to the Olympics.
So, they actually had to delay putting the army together to defend the country against the Persians.” The threat of invasion or not, the Games took place every four years from 776BC to at least 393AD. All free Greek males were allowed to take part, from farmhands to royal heirs, although the majority of Olympians were soldiers. ODYSSEAS - Ministry of Culture and Sports. The Games at Olympia. The Real Story of the Ancient Olympic Games | The Games. The ancient Olympic Games were primarily a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia (see 'Did you know' in the glossary), a rural sanctuary site (model shown here, courtesy of the British Museum) in the western Peloponnesos.
The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The athletes were all male citizens of the city-states from every corner of the Greek world, coming from as far away as Iberia (Spain) in the west and the Black Sea (Turkey) in the east. The sanctuary was named in antiquity after Mt. Olympos (see 'Did you know' in the glossary), the highest mountain in mainland Greece. In Greek mythology, Mt. The ancient Olympic Games began in the year 776 BC, when Koroibos, a cook from the nearby city of Elis, won the stadion race, a foot race 600 feet long.
The marathon was NOT an event of the ancient Olympic games. Homepage – The Ancient Olympic Games.