Olympian Games were the most famous of the four festivals of Ancient Greeks, the other three being the Isthmian, Pythian and Nemean Games. The Olympian Games were celebrated every four years, at the end of the June or at the beginning of September, day after full-moon in sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia.
First Olympian Games were held in year 776BC. Olympian Games were the most important event in Greece, because the Games brought all Greek tribes together and stopped the wars and quarrels between them.
Local priests and officers started the preparations for the Games. They controlled training methods of athletes, they had to check whether any of the athletes hadn’t committed a crime in the past. Foreigners could attend the Games only as a spectators. Women were neither allowed to compete nor to watch the competition.
The first day of the festival was devoted to sacrifices. The second day began with footraces, for which the spectators gathered in stadion, an oblong area enclosed by sloping banks of earth. Stadion was also a unit of length – it was 142 meters long.
On the third day wrestling, boxing and pancratium, a combination of the two, were held. The object of the wrestling was to throw the antagonist to the ground three times. Boxing was very brutal, but the pancratium was the most rigorous of the sports. The match continued until one of the participants was dead.
On the fourth day, the equestrian events were held. Chariot racing and riding, was confined to the wealthy but was nevertheless a popular attraction. After the equestrian came the pentathlon, a series of five sports: sprinting, long jumping, javelin hurling, discus throwing, and wrestling. Their exact sequence of the events and methods used to determine the winner are not exactly known.
The last event was the race run in the armor. The referees awarded each winner with a red tape and wrapped it around winners forehead. On the last day, winners gathered in the sanctuary of Zeus, they were awarded with crowns of wild olives. They had right to build their statue in the Zeus’s valley. They were celebrated by poets and singers and lived for the rest of their lives on public expense.
Olympian Games were abolished in the year AD 393 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius. But the tradition goes on, the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in year 1896.
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