Where Were the Ancient Olympics Held?

The games at Olympia were greatly expanded from a one-day festival of athletics and wrestling to, in 472 BC, five days with many events. The order of the events is not precisely known, but the first day of the festival was devoted to sacrifices. On the Middle Day of the festival 100 oxen were sacrificed in honor of a God. Athletes also often prayed and made small sacrifices themselves..

When was the first ever Olympic Games?

Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.

The first recorded Ancient Olympic Games were in 776 BC.

On other days, wrestling, boxing, and the pancratium, a combination of the two, were held. In wrestling, the aim was to throw the opponent to the ground three times, on either his hip, back or shoulder. In ancient Greek wrestling biting and genital holds were illegal.

Where were the Olympic Games held in Greece?

Ancient Greece had a warm, dry climate, as Greece does today. People lived by farming, fishing, and trade. Some were soldiers. Others were , scientists or artists. Most Greeks lived in villages or in small cities. There were beautiful with stone and statues, and open-air theatres where people sat to watch plays.

The timeline will show you some of the important events in the history of Ancient Greece.

More About the Ancient Greek Olympics

This is particularly true of the three Greek combat events—wrestling, boxing and pancratium (a combination of boxing and wrestling that allowed such tactics as kicking and strangling). Their history at is long and eventful: Wrestling entered the program in 708 B.C.E., boxing in 688 B.C.E. and pancratium in 648 B.C.E. These grueling sports reveal much about the aspirations and values of ancient Greece, about what was deemed honorable, fair and beautiful, both in the eyes of those of who competed and those who traveled to Olympia to watch.

Information and resources on ancient Greek olympics

One of the three ancient Greek combat sports, wrestling was celebrated for its complexity, as it required not only strength but precise skills and cunning. Wrestlers like those depicted on this fourth-century B.C.E. silver coin probably knew of the legendary exploits of Homer’s Odysseus, who uses his wits to wrestle the massive Ajax to a draw in Book 23 of the Iliad.

The Greek calendar was based on the Olympiad, the four-year period between games.

Ancient Greek Olympic Games: …the year of the first Olympic Games

The ancient Olympic world adhered to values very different from our own (or what we ideally think of as our own). In a speech given in 1908, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of , said: “The purpose of these Olympiads is less to win than to take part in them,” a sentiment later echoed by the sportswriter Grantland Rice:

All the competitors at the Olympic Games were naked, except for perhaps a coating of oil.

Ancient Olympic Sports - Tufts University

A wrestler lifts his opponent off the ground, holding him firmly in his grasp, in this 6-inch-tall, second-century B.C.E. bronze statuette discovered in Alexandria, Egypt. The philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.E.) encouraged Athens’s youth to wrestle, and the historian Plutarch (c. 46-120 C.E.), in his Quaestiones conviviales, calls wrestling “the most technical and the trickiest” of sports. A Greek wrestling manual, dating to the first or second century C.E., confirms Plutarch’s view, illustrating the intricacy of drills the Greeks used to teach tactics and counter tactics. Photo: Erich Lessing.

In 146 BC, the Romans gained control of Greece and, therefore, of the Olympic games.

Brief History of the Olympic Games - Nostos

Combat sports were designed to be as physically taxing and uncomfortable as possible. This meant no time limits, no rounds, no rest periods, no respite from the midsummer sun. According to some ancient authors, such as Cicero (106–43 B.C.E.) and Philostratus (third century C.E.), boxers could bear their opponents’ blows more readily than the unremitting heat. And the combat athlete might well have gone from one hard-earned and injurious victory straight into another round of competition.